Smartphone Board Games – For The Social Gamer In You

Mark Stephens

Among the many things that your smartphone is, it’s also a games board; and traditional board games that don’t survive the crossover to the electronic mobile and/or social format may be short-lived. The simple beauty and challenge of the original board games were amongst the first to lend themselves to the electronic format and now, with the rise of the social side of gaming, many of them are as popular as ever and being played across large networks of players.


The “New” Board Games

Of course, the mobile and social components of this new board game format addresses the two two of the main limitations of the traditional games:

1. You needed someone else to play with

2. You usually needed a flat surface to play on, indoors, and with enough space to house a board and the people playing.

The Grandmother in Argentina!

If you want to play Scrabble, Risk, Chess or Pictionary, you no longer have to pester family members or friends to get in the same room as you!

Play against a 75-year old grandmother in Argentina or a school kid in Tibet; by connecting to the network and searching for a player you can play almost anyone anytime; if you can’t find anybody to challenge then you can always play against the in-built bot that many of these games for iPhones, iPads or Android have.

Forget the Tabletop – Play on the Bus!

You can save the tabletop space for fine dining – you no longer need it to play a board game.

You don’t even need a flat surface; you can kill a few hours in the back of the car or on a bus journey playing someone on the other side of the world on your iPhone or iPad; that’s the other great attraction of these games – the mobile element.

From Board to Smartphone

Most of the main board games have electronic counterparts, though some of them may be variations of the original game. In fact the really popular games have spawned multiple off-shoots that are all variations on a theme.


For example, Words with Friends is a variation of Scrabble, Draw Something is based on Pictionary and Hanging with Friends is based on Hangman.

Monkeybin’s latest release called MindFeud is also based on the Scrabble/Words with Friends model, but uses shapes and colours to make formations, rather than letters to make words; laying tiles for points and replenishing your stack, scoring double and triple points for positioning tiles on particular slots of the board and so on – this is all borrowed from Scrabble.

The addition of a bot that you can play against, means that there is always a challenge available, even if your friends aren’t around.

Pining for the Old Days?

Hey grandpa, if you’re pining for the good old days when you could sit round with a group of old friends, a few beers and an evening of playing board games, no-one’s saying that’s taboo!

In fact I agree with you – there is something about the face to face social interaction of sitting down to play a game and then being able to gloat when you win!

But there are more options nowadays for both kids and adults; and instead of having to plan games in advance, you have the choice to play anytime, anywhere and with anyone.

With social board games downloadable, often for free, in a nice little app, you can get the best of all worlds, all through your smartphone or tablet.