iPhones and iPads are often paired with a fair bit of processing power for gaming. However, we completely understand if you’re not into heavy-duty games that demand a substantial amount of time and energy. That’s exactly why we have some superior board games on iPhone and iPad.
Whether you’re playing by yourself, online with a stranger, or connected to a person sitting across you, these board games will keep you hooked. Let’s have a look at them below.
- Catan Universe
- Exploding Kittens
- Root Board Game
- Terraforming Mars
- Star Realms
1. Catan Universe
Catan Universe is the digital version of a top-rated board game brought to the market in 1995. Since then, numerous updated versions have been released and ported to video game consoles.
One of the newer versions comes for your iPhone and iPad. The game’s objective is to race against your opponents and become the ruler of the island of Catan. Before you place the Catan’s crown on your head, you have to gather as many resources and land as possible and even fight against your opponents as you aim to take over their lands.
Resource management is crucial, and you will have to consider multiple aspects of the game to win. Catan Universe works through the collection of victory points, and specific actions will reward you with a set number of victory points. In the end, the player with the highest number of victory points wins.
The app also combines two aspects of the physical game that are usually sold separately: the board game and the card game.
Price: Free (In-app purchase starts at $1.99)
2. Exploding Kittens
As striking and hilarious as the name, Exploding Kittens is also one of the best games for iPhone and iPad. It also holds the record for being the most-funded game in the history of Kickstarter.
Indeed one of the unique games, Exploding Kittens, can be played alone, with friends, or online with strangers. The game’s objective has you drawing cards, praying that you don’t draw a card with an exploding kitten. If you find one, you lose.
There are Defuse Cards as well, and it stops the kitten from exploding through various cat-related actions such as head scratches and distracting the cat by using laser pointers. You can manipulate who gets the exploding kitten card by drawing cards from the rest of the pack.
Apart from the fun nature, there’s also an adorable visual style that will surely be pleasing to your eyes.
Boasting over 16 million users, this one touts to be the best chess app for iOS. After giving a long spin to what it has to offer, I can go with its claim.
To get going, you can play against the computer, challenge your friends for duels, or play against the willing opponent. Additionally, you can also play over 65,000 in-built tactics puzzles, which can be adjusted to your skill level. Gradually you can up it to improve your game.
The app comes with plenty of adorable themes to let you bring some customization into the mix. On top of all, you can also watch the tutorial videos to master tricks and become the undisputed chess champion. You will also receive daily articles by Chess experts and coaches like IM Jeremy Silman.
I love how you get those detailed stats and ratings to analyze your performance. Moreover, there’s also an active community forum to interact with like-minded people.
Price: Free (In-app purchase starts at $4.99)
Looking for some really cool puzzle games? 2048 comes with tons of intriguing puzzles you’d love to play during your free time for relaxation.
Talking about the gameplay, you have to swipe to move the tiles. When the two same-numbered tiles touch, they merge into one and turn into a bigger sum. The goal is to keep merging the tiles until you achieve the sum of 2048.
You can kickstart the challenge mode to collect specific tiles in just a few moves. A simple yet mind-boggling game. I remember getting frustrated as I couldn’t achieve 2048 for at least the first 50 matches!
Price: Free (In-app purchase starts at $2.99)
This hugely popular board game has entertained families and friends for years and is also available for your iPhone and iPad. Every move that you make in this game will be beautifully animated.
The game has the basic rules that everyone who has played the physical board game is familiar with. However, the game allows you to change rules and spice things up. You can also explore how your life would be in different cities, as the app also provides you with localized boards for other cities.
You can play with friends, both online and offline, or against the AI in a solo mode. If you’re far away from your friends when you’re playing the game together, the app supports in-game video chat for a more homely experience.
6. Root Board Game
Root is the digital version of a popular tabletop board game. It has the essential elements of any strategic board game and adds its spin to the RPG genre.
The game has a total of four factions, and you can join any of them. You start your journey through the woodlands that have been seized by the Marquise de Cat, the game’s primary antagonist. You’ll be able to create bonds and settle rivalries with other factions as you battle and loot to grow your faction.
Build your faction to become one of the strongest in the woodlands and take on the forces of Marquise de Cat. You can play against the AI in a single-player mode or take on friends who are a part of different factions.
Carcassonne is an absolute veteran when it comes to a list of board games. It was initially ported to mobile devices in 2011 and still goes strong with updates in 2021.
It’s based on a German board game and has you pitted against other players to create a medieval France map. You have to lay tiles strategically, taking care not to get too close to a map’s part owned by a strong player. If you’re too close, you’re liable to lose your land upon an attack.
Considering how long this game has been around, you’ll come across seasoned players who are particularly difficult to defeat if you play online. Take your time to understand the basics and nuances behind the game. It’s worth the effort!
8. Terraforming Mars
Terraforming Mars was released in 2016 as a physical board game. It became so popular that a mobile port followed, which has its dedicated fanbase.
This unique board game has hex-based strategy gameplay. You, along with other players, will try to transform Mars into a habitable planet. There are various things to keep in mind when playing, and these include a corporate and economic system you need to keep in your favor.
You can create entire cities flanked by beautiful, lush greenery. There are industries to be built and managed as well. The more ambitious and successful you are at maintaining your part of Mars, the more Victory Points you get. In the end, the player with the most Victory Points wins!
9. Star Realms
Debuted in 2014, this science fiction board game has gained quite a favorable reputation. It’s specifically designed to be enjoyed on iPads to take maximum advantage of its aesthetics.
The game seems relatively simple, with you and your opponents purchasing cards and accumulating either “Trade Points” or “Combat Points.” Trade Points are primarily used in purchasing cards, and these cards can be used to challenge the authority of an opponent. When you challenge an opponent’s authority, you spend a set number of Combat Points.
The objective is to become the ruler of the galaxy you and your opponents are building resources to become the mightiest. You can choose specific races with certain advantages and disadvantages. With a little luck and a lot of skill and strategy, you can trade and outperform your opponents.
Star Realms has already won multiple awards as both a physical board game and a digital game. Are you curious to find out why?
Price: Free (In-app purchase starts at $1.99)
So this is our list of the best board games for iPhone and iPad with many options and nuances for each game type. Before they were introduced in the digital form, they lost due to portability. Now you can indulge in them regardless of your location.
Do agree with this list? Think that there we missed out on your favorite board games? List them in the comments below!
- Best Interactive Story Games for iPhone
- Fun iPhone games to play with friends
- 30 Best Apple Arcade games
Anirban is a literature post-grad who delves in philosophy and postmodern novels when not writing on tech and gaming. His love for research is only trumped by his love for chai and heavy metal.