Board Games on the iPad

The Apple iPad is an incredible device that’s making waves in board gaming communities the world over, but why? What do traditional board games have to do with the iPad? Can physical games with lots of pieces faithfully be converted to a small touch screen device? Are they any areas in which the iPad is actually better than the physical board game?

Despite what many hardcore board game enthusiasts may want to believe, the iPad is actually a great addition to the wardrobe full of bits and pieces, “real life” physical board games. But it will never replace the physical ones – just as it will never replace the experience of gathering around a table with 4 friends.

The size of the screen, for the time being, is the primary limitation on the iPad gaming experience – yet the size is also an advantage. For instance, the combination of the iPad, iPhone, and Nintendo DS have utterly destroyed the “travel” game industry. No longer are we forced to play monopoly with tiny pieces that get lost down the back of the seat! Long trips with the children are a whole lot easier, now. The small screen does mean however that it is not particularly suited to being placed in the center of a large table and sat around. An impressive attempt at small-scale coffee table gaming was by Days of Wonder’s “Small World” board game app, which includes a coffee table mode as well as the standard “pass and play” modes. In coffee table mode, the iPad would detect that it is laying horizontally on a tabletop and automatically keep the board in a fixed position, with each players interface area kept on the appropriate side of the screen. However, this style of play was limited to 2 players, as the interface elements for more than 2 players simply couldn’t fit on the screen. The “pass and play” mode is standard to nearly every board game conversion for the iPad yet, allowing for more players by passing the device around. Indeed, “pass and play” is the only mode possible when games include some element of secrecy regarding players cards – using the iPad to play Poker with a friend sitting opposite you simply isn’t possible with just one device. Obviously, with more than one iPad, we can achieve a somewhat similar experience in terms of gameplay, but the social interaction would plummet – each player may as well be staring at a computer screen.

Which bring us to our next point, one in which iPads really win over on physical board games – the fact that physical games require physical players. A weekly gaming session is difficult at best to organise – scheduling conflicts, gaming preferences – can sometimes lead to an unsatisfactory gaming get-together. With an internet connection, and iPad though – you can potentially be playing with people all over the world who want to play the same game as you, at the same time that is convenient to you. Of course, the social interactions aren’t the same, but the gaming experience generally is. Carcassonne is possibly the best example yet of internet gaming done right on the iPad. When you select to play an internet game, the app doesn’t ask you for usernames, passwords, to choose a game lobby or server – it just goes out to find you an opponent and gives you an estimated time. Most iPad board game conversions sadly have yet to include an internet gaming option.

So far we’ve only talked about how the iPad can replace the physical versions, but I think they can also co-exist and in fact complement them. As I said, getting a gaming group together can be difficult, so taking time to explain a new game and give it a run through before playing “for serious” is time consuming and wasteful. The iPad is a great way to practice before the real social game, to make sure you fully understand the rules and have an idea of strategies that might be played against you. And even if you have some real life experience of the rules, the iPad is a great way to discover new play styles that you might never have seen before – remember that most of the board games apps have AI routines developed by the board game creators themselves, so they usually know a trick or two that your friends might not.

The iPad can also complement the real board game even during those social gaming sessions. Scoring points, for instance, has traditionally been a rather tedious but necessary part of board games – not so with the iPad. “Agricola”, game in which players attempt to create the best farm, is a great example of this. At the end of the game, points are scored according to the size of your house, the material it is made of, the number of family members, how many fields you have managed to create… all in, there are about 15 different metrics you must check on a scoring table for. The Agricola companion app makes it easy to calculate everyone’s score by walking you through each metric and giving you a simply “number dial” element to easily input it all. The app then calculates it according to the built-in scoring tables, makes a total, then shows the results and overall winner. It even stores player data (including a photograph), and you can save every game result as well as where the game was played!

But perhaps most importantly, the iPad opens up the board gaming hoping to so many more people. It has to be said that most designer board games are generally cost prohibitive – without a personal recommendation from a friend, it’s hard to lay down $70-$100 for a board game that you’ve never heard of. Monopoly is the complete opposite of designer board games – it’s known by everyone, and the game play is relatively non-compelling. Designer board games however are known by so few, yet their game play is often magnitudes more interesting than anything in your typical high street retailer. So personally, I love the fact that more people will get to know the board games I love, through the iPad.

So what are you waiting for? Here you can find details on all of the games mentioned, as well as the best iPad board games, reviewed and ranked by users. Careful though, before you know it you’ll buying the real things and refitting the back bedroom into a gaming room!

Fun Board Games

In praise of good clean family fun

Ah, the joy of a family night of fun board games played at the dining table! From Chutes and Ladders to Monopoly, through Tripoly and Clue, to Stratego, Risk, and Battleship, board games are just plain fun.

When we were youngsters, our movies were books and our game consoles were stored in boxes on the closet shelves. I recently rediscovered this joy with my seven-year-old granddaughter. We made a decision to watch tv less and spend more time doing things that encouraged conversation and personal interaction. It was a great decision. We spent the summer working puzzles, reading books together, and playing games at the dining room table. I now know which girls in her class giggle too much, which boys will chase you on the playground, and how much homework “they” expect her to get done. I also had the pleasure of watching my really smart, very funny granddaughter become a card shark.

All of this together time took me back to my childhood. We never really had to decide to watch less television. We only got three channels and my father’s interests ran the gamut from the news to football. Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, and Joe Namath pretty well dominated the airwaves at our house. The Philco belonged to Daddy. So we played outside in the sunshine and played inside when the rains came or nightfall drove us indoors. I can still sense the feeling of sitting around the kitchen table on a cold night with my brothers and sister and sometimes my parents, the smell of goodies cooking, the laughter swelling with the ups and downs of game play. I remember so clearly knowing the warmth and comfort of my place in the family. And all of this is connected in my mind with the delightful fun of board games.

Board Games for Adults can be fun!

Board Games for ADULTS??? Okay, “for Adults” doesn’t have to mean “for Adults,” if you know what I mean.

Seriously, most of us just want to have some good conversation, good company, and good clean fun when we socialize. What better way to enjoy the company of friends than with a peaceable evening spent playing a game or two. Put on a pot of coffee, heat up some banana bread or a coffee cake, and pull out a crowd-pleasing board game.

Pictionary is a terrific game. I have a friend who guesses the picture from a straight line. Honest. I have trouble identifying a photograph, so they wait until I’m out of the room to choose teams. I’m much better at Scattergories. And Trivial Pursuit. I am a font of useless knowledge.

How about you? Are you a brain? Maybe Cranium or Scrabble are to your liking. If your ability lies in strategy you may prefer Chess or Mastermind. Backgammon and Yahtzee both utilize a combination of strategy and fortune. There’s always Clue if you’re a sneaky son-of-a-gun or if you harbor suspicions and conspiracy theories. Old reliable Monopoly lets you practice getting wiped out financially. And for all of you would-be Kings of the World, it’s hard to beat Risk for world domination.

There are lots more. Pick a favorite board game or two and call the crew. The adult crew. Adults – grown-ups – having fun just playing some board games. Hanging out. You know you want to. It’s been too long since the last get-together.

Teens want to have a little board game fun, too.

Fun board games for teens just sounds like you’re trying too hard. Really. But you’re not. Young people are just people. They have friends. They like to do things with the people they like. They get tired of trying to say the right thing, wear the right clothes, hang with the right crowd. Heck, they get tired of just trying to figure out what all of that is. They need some easy-going time with no big consequences – just a chance to slow down a bit now and then. Offer them a board game party.

Risk, Yahtzee, Pictionary, Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit – all of these lend themselves to team play. Trivial Pursuit comes in a number of variations, so if they’re big Lord of the Rings fans, go with that one.

They will, however, play with a different intensity than their parents. “Soorrryyy” could take on a whole new meaning at your house. Player pieces may well be slapped around the board with more energy than one might expect. The Game of Life could be assigned choices not listed in the rules. Scene It will cause them to monopolize the television while Monopoly will give them time to take over the refrigerator. Who cares? They’re home, at your house, laughing like crazy and having more fun than they ever thought. No keggers, no missing parents, no car trouble – just friends and food and fun. Even teens have fun with board games.

And how about the children? Do they have any fun playing board games? Mayybeee.

The foundation of board games: children’s board games. I’m talking heart of childhood, elementary school, make a game out of everything age group. They make their own board games. They play board games at school when the weather is bad. They play board games all summer long in the floor, usually in the doorway to the kitchen. They just play. So what do they play?

Old stand-bys are still loved. Checkers and Chess are easily obtained and only take two people. Monopoly can take an entire afternoon and even then may not end with a clear winner. There’s a Monopoly Jr. now that is perfect for beginning readers and only takes about thirty minutes to play.

Sorry and Trouble, with it’s great Pop-O-Matic dice tumbler, remain crowd favorites. The Game of Life has become pretty convoluted, but kids still like to play it. Mouse Trap is fun to build and has the added value of a half hour of trapping mice once the game is done. Upper grade levels have a great time with Clue and Colonel Mustard and the Library – with the candlestick. Then there are cartoon-based games (think Spongebob) and Junior versions of Trivial Pursuit and Cranium. And Chinese Checkers and Parcheesi and Operation and Tri-Bond and Mancala and Aggravation and Backgammon and Scrabble and – oh, you get the idea. The list of children’s board games is as long as your imagination.

Don’t leave out preschoolers. Board games are not just fun. They’re useful.

We don’t always think about board games for preschoolers when we think about their play. Little ones run and jump and fall and get up and do it again. We sometimes limit their calm time to television – cartoons and children’s movies are quite good when Mom and Dad need some quiet time. Still, we miss out on some important training for small ones, as well as missing time spent together in an atmosphere of calm. More and more, children are losing the art of polite conversation and civilized interaction with adults. One solution? Bring out the games!

Pre-school board games help children to develop skills they will need in reading. They learn to match colors, count, recognize letters and their sounds, think sequentially, win graciously and lose gracefully. These are pretty important concepts. Candyland and Chutes and Ladders will wear you out, because your youngster will want to play again and again. There are all kinds of dominos (I know – not strictly a board game) that allow children to match cartoon characters rather than dots. There are games that let them match picture cards arranged on a grid and games that require fine motor skills. You’ll find that all of them are great fun for your four-year old.

Take the plunge. Board games with your preschooler. How much fun can you cram into one day?

WHOOHOO! Most fun section. Vintage board games.

Yep, fun board games of time gone by, making them vintage. Nice word for old. Well, maybe not all that old. Remember these?

Tripoly. We played this one with the neighbors. I don’t remember much about it except we used poker chips. There was a big green mat. And it was pokerish. And rummyish, too, I think. That’s it. That’s all I remember. Probably because I had a crush on the neighbor.

Then there was the Game of the States: VERY educational.

I’m pretty sure this one was a gift from my aunt. Very sure. Really. Aunt Helen. She was always the best at finding “educational” stuff that was pretty fun. Thanks, Aunt Helen. I miss you.

We really did learn all kinds of things about the states. We learned capitals, state birds, agricultural products, population – none of which I remember now. Not that much of it would be the same, anyway.

Now let’s talk about the REAL fun we had with board games. How about Tycoon? You had to be money-grubbing and free of conscience. My brothers slaughtered me. What are some others? Stratego. Mystery Date! Now there’s a great game for a sleep-over. Surfer dude. Hmmm. Remember him? Clue, Monopoly, Scrabble, Rook, Payday, Stock Market – all great games. I wish I still had all of them. But there was one we played ALL THE TIME:

Square Mile. This was the game with plastic roads and bridges. There was a railroad and a swamp. There were these little bitty buildings – houses, a school, a church, factories, apartment buildings, a shopping center. This was a cool game. Square Mile was the best for a rainy day.

Board games are amazing fun. I recommend their resurrection even if you just pull out the Monopoly game for an evening. Step away from the x-box, look your children in the eye and say,

What Are the Top 6 Must Have, Most Popular Board Games?

Have you ever stopped in a toy store or gift shop to buy a present and been completely astounded by the aisles after aisles of board games piled up mountain high? With so many board games in existence, it is nearly impossible to find the perfect one with little time and cornered by the never-ending options. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of the best of the best; the top 6 board games that are must-haves for any household. If you have been on the constant search to find a board game that is fun and enticing, then our list of the Top 6 Must Have, Most Popular Board Games is the ultimate resource to quench you board game needs!

The Top 6 Must Have, Most Popular Board Games:

o Monopoly- I’m sure that there are probably less than 10 people in the world that haven’t ever heard of the classic board game, Monopoly. Monopoly is the classic game of real estate and the banker. Players of young and old try to race around the board, buying as many properties as they can and collecting fines from others that land on their claimed properties, all while trying to earn as much money as possible. The player who has earned the most money by the end of the game is declared the winner of that match of Monopoly, but with the game being so addictive that title is usually quickly challenged in hours of follow-up games and re-matches! Monopoly is the perfect game for all types of people and can be enjoyed by both young and older generations, with the help of many different versions of the game, including ‘Star Wars’ versions, popular cartoon versions, special animal versions, deluxe versions, and much, much more for more hours of Monopoly fun!

o The Game of Life- What game is better than one about your own life? The Game of Life is a game in which you travel around the board in a tiny plastic car on the main road of your life. You literally experience all the stages of life right at your kitchen table! Players are given a job and a salary and try to maintain a high fortune after being put through all the joys and troubles of life, such as having children and paying for their education. At the end of the game, each player is led to the retirement home of their choosing in order to count up all the money that they have accumulated throughout The Game of Life. The player who is the richest wins the game! This board game is perfect for any group of people, young or old, who would enjoy having a laugh out of what this board predicts will occur throughout their lives!

o Scrabble- Enjoy using the English language to create long, exotic words out of random letters and scoring points for it? If so, than this game is perfect for you! In Scrabble, players gather around a game board and basically create a crossword puzzle in front of their own eyes! Each player receives random wooden tiles with letters printed on them and must try to create words using their tiles and linking them to the words that other players have already laid out on the game board. Each letter that is on the tiles has a point value, and in the end, the player who received the largest total amount of points by using their tiles to create words is the winner of the game. Scrabble is an excellent game for adults or elders who are trying to improve their vocabulary, or just for children who are just learning the basics of the English language. Either way, Scrabble is an excellent Family Game Night choice!

o Clue- Do you have a niche for solving mysteries? Have you always been the one to know where Waldo was or to discover where in the world Carmen Sandiego was hiding before anyone else could even begin to fathom where she might be? If this sounds like you, then you are sure to fall in love with Clue, the board game. In this thrilling game, players travel around the rooms of a house on the board trying to collect clues to discover which one of their fellow players murdered a member of the household. A player must hurry around quickly before anyone else can discover it and proclaim the suspected murderer out loud. Those who participate in this game will find themselves intrigued by the dark secrets and truths that other players are keeping and will be excited to try to unravel those mysteries! This board game is the next best thing to a live murder mystery party!

o The Settlers of Catan- This game is a pretty new game in comparison to the above classics. First created in 1995, the game offers the power to build a civilization to the normal, everyday person! In The Settlers of Catan, players must try to build settlements, cities and roads to build up the island of Catan throughout the game. With each turn, the dice are rolled in order to determine what resources the island produces and the players use these resources to build up their civilizations even more and to earn victory points. The first player to earn 10 victory points wins the game. This is a phenomenal board game for those who are ‘Civilization’ and ‘Tycoon’ computer game addicts!

o Risk- Okay, so maybe you don’t want to fight for power over just a tiny island, like in The Settlers of Catan. Perhaps, you desire control over much more land, like the whole world? Satisfy this desire through playing the board game, Risk! In Risk, players compete in battles to win over areas of continents and ultimately try to conquer the world by defeating the troops of all the other players. In this game, players fight to the death and the last player to have surviving troops after killing all their fellow players’ troops wins the game. This board game is perfect for competitive spirits and will suffice if you have a lot of spare time on your hands; a good game with friends can potentially last several hours!

We hope you enjoyed our list of the Top 6 Must Have, Most Popular Board Games! Hopefully this list will help you find the board game that is just right for your next friend or family gathering; good luck on your gaming ventures!

Why Board Games Are Important in Your Child’s Life

Why exactly are board games important for a family lifestyle and what makes them so special rather then doing other activities together? Board games are important for many, many reasons and we are going to give you a few reasons why they are so important!

Board games help bring the family together. There are not a lot of activities that families can do together that are extremely affordable or fun, but board games are both, very fun to play and extremely affordable! Not only that, but some also have a very strong educational background as well. Board games can help your children with math skills, thinking skills and even money skills (Monopoly anyone?). Board games are an excellent hands on experience where you don’t have an electronic device or game doing the math for you or helping you out, which is great for any young child to experience.

If your child likes video games and you can manage to pull them away from the screen for long enough, then in the long run playing more board games could help with any future eye sight problems your child may have. More and more children suffer from early eye damage because of their constant eye expose to screens, such as TVs and computer monitors. A good, wholesome way to solve this is by playing a board game since there are no screens involved. What better way to have fun with your child and help them?

Board games can be very exhilarating for young children, they absolute love it when luck goes their way and they get “the big roll” they have been waiting for (perhaps a Yahtzee roll) or they just purchased that special space on the Monopoly board. Lets face it, nothing makes a parent more happier than seeing their child happy. Board games are a great way to get that happiness out of them that video games just can not accomplish.

Playing a nice board game also helps bonding. When you, your child, or the entire family is together to play a board game, everyone is around and socializing which is a great time to talk about things that are going on in your child’s life. Maybe they met a nice boy or girl that they are really fond of but just haven’t found the right time to talk to you about it? Bonding is a great experience for children and their parents but in current times it can be so hard to have the time to bond or maybe you just don’t know the proper way to go about talking with your child? Playing a nice board game is a relaxing way to just sit back and bond with a loved one.

Playing a board game teaches a young child the importance of sharing and taking turns. Most board games have certain rules you must follow and this helps your child in understanding the proper way to play and communicate while playing a game. If your child doesn’t play correctly, then they obviously will not get as much benefit out of the game as those who do. A game is most fulfilling when it’s played correctly and by the rules. A board game can help teach your child that rules are important and should be followed.

At Family Board Games [], they believe board games are more than just games that are played once in awhile, but are a true source of relaxation and happiness. They believe the 600 variations of Monopoly should have their own department and that board games should be sold everywhere so that the future of board games is more bright. The more board games are sold and made, the more people would be interested in creating new board games. The more a family can come together to play a game, the more healthier they believe the family can become.

In conclusion, we highly recommend board games if you are looking for that special one on one with your child or if you’re looking for a wholesome night of family fun. We truly believe board games can help bring a family together for good causes and we recommend them to anyone who wants a nice relaxing night at home with loved ones. For only a few dollars, you can buy a cheap board game tonight and start having those family nights you have been dying to have for quite some time now.