Board games. Those family favorites we pull out of the closet and play at get togethers or on rainy sundays. Digital version of many favorites are available for your iPhone...many with the added bonus of being able to play against people around the world!
The Settlers of Catan is considered the greatest strategy board game ever. The rules are incredibly simple yet the is nearly impossible to master. Klaus Teuber, the designer of the game, helped create the AIs for the Xbox Live version and the ones in the iPhone version are just as strong. I have played the Catan series of games for over 10 years and I have yet to beat the strongest AIs on the iPhone. The port is completely faithful to the board game but also includes all the standard House Rules variants. The graphics are not the best but completely acceptable, considering you are trying to fit an entire board onto the iPhone's screen. you can play hot seat multi-player with friends. And I would love to eventually see an update that includes online multi-player.
A clone of the granddaddy of all strategy board games, Risk (which sorely needs an official iPhone port), Conquest has so many options and maps it is an absolute must. The computer plays more human-like than in many Risk clones, being aggressive and taking advantage of you weak positions. aside from some graphical polish, the only thing really lacking is online multiplayer.
Shredder is the most intuitive Chess app in the App Store. Whether you are solving a puzzle or playing the computer, Shredder is smart enough to help you out without telling you the problem. It changes its difficulty as you improve your skills (or start to lose them), and even offers you hints as you play against it. Shredder Chess truly is like playing against another person that is able to analyze and discuss what is happening on the board. If you want a Chess app, get this one.
Words With Friends Free
Better version of Scrabble than Scrabble! Play with friends locally over over the Internet. Invite challenges through FaceBook and Twitter. You can save and play up to 20 simultaneous games. Some users are having crashing and saved games issues with the latest version.
Build a zoo that will draw more attendance than your opponents. Gather sets of matching animals to populate your cages to score points. Zooloretto is a great family game that uses lots of images and gorgeous graphics. The game plays smoothly not requiring kids to read a lot. You can play hot seat multi-player and since there are no hidden secrets (like hands full of cards or hidden battleships), kids can be given lots of help with strategy. But this is not just a simple kids games. It is a fun board game with some deep strategy.
Batleship for iPhone not only provides a faithful port of the board game. It includes two extra game modes, Salvo and Superweapons. In Salvo, you get to fire as many shells at the enemy as you have remaining ships. In Superweapons, you get special attacks that charge over time, like the Air Strike which hits 3 spaces over a 5 space line: XOXOX. Battleship has achievements of a sort. As you destroy more ships, you unlock bigger and badder weapons in Superweapons mode. Multi-player includes hot seat, WiFi, and Bluetooth.
Monopoly on the iPhone! Play against other players through WiFi or by passing the iPhone around to your friends. This version features great animations and even a changeable background. Play with all the classic rules or use any or all of the popular house rules that have developed over time. A solid, fun port of the board game.
Strategery is not just another Risk clone. Rather than being a straight port like mot clones, Strategery uses a randomly generated, hexagonal map of territories. Attack and defense dice are still used in battle and you still gain reinforcements every turn. Unlike Risk, there are no cards to trade in for large sets, making the huge turns of tide less likely. The game offers lots of map options and hot seat multi-player, though no online support.
Lux DLX 2
Lux DLX and Conquest could easily swap spaces on this list. Both are great Risk clones and have great AI as opponents. Lux DLX has more maps with the ability to download new ones. The maps are all gorgeous and unique. Lux DLX just does not have the customization of Conquest. Still, I heartily recommend it.
If you're not looking for something quite as fancy (or pricey) as Shredder Chess and simply want to just play the game, look no further than Chess Free. First, it's free. But it is also has a very nice and simple design with multiple AI difficulties and the ability to play other humans. No puzzles or a genius computer, but it gets the job done. And for free, too.
Fritz Chess is very similar to Shredder Chess in that it has its intuitive computer behind the scenes challenging you every step of the way. After playing against the computer, you can review the game and have the computer show you why your moves may have been good, or not-so-good. While it has nice touches like timing the games, the overall design and amount of features fall a bit short of Shredder Chess. But, if you're really looking to save $4 and want an incredibly intuitive Chess application, Fritz is the app for you.
The official port of he world's greatest word game. The AI even trains you on what words you may want to try next. You can play multi-player through WiFi or through FaceBook with push notifications. This is probably not for die-hard Scrabble players, though. The AI is way too easy on most settings and the game will not let you play words that are not in its built-in Scrabble Dictionary. This prevents the whole Player Challenge aspect of the game.
Bar none....THE best solitaire game on the App Store. Some people report that the AI cheats getting tons of doubles, etc. The developer recommends turning off the automatic rolls and entering in rolls manually using your own dice. This may not seem like the best solution, but if you can stand it, you can save yourself a ton of money...the free REQUIRES manual rolls...and that is the ONLY difference between the paid and free versions.
Enough differences from the board game to be disappointing but still a fun board game.
THE GAME OF LIFE Classic Edition
The Game of Life Classic Edition is called Classic Edition because it is a straight port of the board game. Apart from the animations of moving about the board, you may as well be playing the original. That does not, of course, mean that it is at all a bad game. The Game of Life is still one of the all time greats for family fun.
The official port of the board game. Various copies of it available that play better and don't have the crashing problems a lot of EA games have right now.
Caissa Chess has many nice features. It has a pretty intuitive computer running the show, as well. The computer has multiple difficulties and also gives hints throughout the game. Everything is pretty simple and straightforward as far as the computer and gameplay goes, but Caissa Chess suffers when it comes to its design. Frankly, the app is a bit of an eye-sore. I'd recommend either saving your $4 and getting Chess Free or ponying up a few bucks more and getting Fritz or Shredder Chess. If you don't feel like ponying up anymore, however, and don't feel satisfied by Chess Free, this app certainly has potential (especially if your vision isn't what it used to be).
Official Uno port. Not bad play but lots of reported problems with network errors in multi-player.
Farkle is known by a lot of names: 10,000, Wimp Out, Greed, Zonk, etc. This is one of the better implementations of it on the iPhone.
One of the great family dice games out there is Yahtzee! Yacht Deluxe is one of the better versions.
A slightly cheaper alternative to Yacht Deluxe, Five Dice is another great Yahtzee! clone.