11 Online Board Games to Play with Friends or Alone in 2021
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Are you looking for the best online board games to play alone or with your friends?
If so, you’ve landed on the right page! In this article, we share 11 classic board games that you can play online. We picked them based on user ratings and positive feedback from people who have played them in the past.
But before we proceed to our list, let us first share with you some key points about the difference between online gaming and physical board gaming.
What You Will Learn
Online Gaming vs. Physical Board Gaming
There is an on-going battle as to which is better: playing online games or playing physical games. Some say that playing online is better because it’s more practical and convenient, while others disagree and say that physical activities are still more fun and stimulating.
Whichever you prefer is perfectly fine as long as you get enjoyment and entertainment. But to give you an idea of the differences between physical gaming and online gaming, here is a discussion of the advantages of both.
Physical gaming is more socially satisfying because of the interaction that comes with it, like eye contact and talking about strategic planning (especially with cooperative gaming).
Moreover, with physical games there’s no need to get stressed about upgrades and updates. What you see is what you get. If you want an upgrade, you can buy an expansion set—but your physical board game will never require you to update to a new version or pay for an upgrade.
On the other hand, if you find that you want to upgrade, online versions are much easier to do so. Instead of placing an order or going to a store, you can simply click the mouse a few times and download an expansion set.
Physical board games are a lot more beneficial to our health than digital games, since spending a lot of time on the computer can lead to eye and back pains, carpal tunnel issues, and other possible illnesses. Keeping this in mind, your digital gaming should be strictly regulated to avoid too much time spent online.
But online games are definitely more accessible—you can play anywhere, at any time. You don’t have to bring a bunch of different board games with you, all you need is your laptop or your phone. In addition, research demonstrates that online games develop hand-eye coordination. There are even studies that can prove the positive effects of online gaming on people with dyslexia.
Now that you have seen the advantages and disadvantages of both, it’s up to you whether you want to stick with playing physical board games or take your gaming online. For those who like the idea of playing board games on their digital devices, here’s a list of the best online board games out there!
Monopoly online is just as elegant and classy as the physical board game, except that it’s more upbeat and contemporary. It provides the same gaming experience, since the rules of the game are the same, but you’ll probably find it a lot more handy and convenient.
What’s rather unique about this online version is that you can play Monopoly alone through its “single-player” feature. When playing alone, you play against the app’s challenging and stimulating AI. Of course, game nights are more fun and exciting when played with friends or family, so while this is a good option if you don’t have anyone to play with, we definitely suggest finding a few other players.
This version of Monopoly has both online and offline “multiplayer” features. In the offline multiplayer mode, the phone acts as the board game, while you and your friends pass it in between turns. In the online multiplayer mode, you are able to connect with your friends’ phones, and even strangers from all over the world.
Marmalade Game Studio claims that Monopoly online offers a great experience, especially with its “no ad pop-up” feature. It is risk-free and Hasbro-approved. Depending on your phone and play store, it also has in-app purchases for even more fun features.
Here’s another classic board game with a Hasbro-approved online version. The rules of the game are the same—you need to figure out who killed Mr. Boddy, what weapon was used, and where the crime was committed. Whoever answers these questions first is the winner.
The online version is a product of Marmalade Game Studio, so it is no surprise that it also has a single-player and multiplayer mode. In the former, you compete with the app’s challenging AI; in the latter, you get to enjoy the game with your friends or people from other places.
The app promises “no ad pop-ups,” so you can enjoy the game without any distractions. It has also been granted a permit from Hasbro, so you can be confident that there won’t be any data breach and that it’s completely safe.
The online version of Clue offers 10 additional themes you can choose from. Some of the best themes include “Sherlock Holmes” and “Egyptian Adventure.” If you buy the Clue Season Pass, a premium feature, you’ll get to enjoy more worlds and themes.
3. Catan Universe
If you are an avid Catan player, you know that the classic board game has a lot of expansion sets. It can be quite a hassle to buy them all individually, but fortunately Catan Universe has everything you need to enjoy all the marvels of the Catan world.
Catan Universe is the complete package—the original board game and the card game, together with all the expansion sets, in one single mobile game app. You can open it on any device. All you have to do is download the app and create an account.
Note, however, that the special features are only available for premium users. You need to subscribe in order to get access to the complete card game, and there are other in-app purchases. The free features include The Duel and Arrival on Catan. You may also use the single-player mode for free.
Catan Universe is compatible with Android smartphones versions 4.4 and above. For Apple users, it works for iOS 10 or higher users. It is also compatible with desktop computers and tablets.
4. Ticket to Ride
Avid board gamers know that if there’s any game that is perfect for travelers, it’s Ticket to Ride. Aside from the fact that it has a “travel” theme, the board itself is lightweight and can be brought along on adventures.
But now the game has taken things to the next level, and there’s no longer any need to bring the physical board with you on camping trips and other travels. Everything that the physical board has to offer is included in a mobile app. Additionally, you get to access extra maps and add-ons that are not present in the physical game.
The online version also has both single-player and multiplayer modes. In the latter, you can compete against people all over the world or connect locally with your friends and family members.
The mobile game app has a high rating both on Google Play Store and the Apple Store, as well as a lot of positive reviews. Although there are negative reviews as well, they’re all about the app’s function and not the game itself.
Here’s another classic board game right at the tip of your fingers—Uno! You can play this card game wherever and whenever—alone, with friends, or even with strangers. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a veteran, it’s easy to learn and all of the games’ rules are included in the app.
Interestingly, the app version also offers new rules and adventures, so if you are used to the physical card game, you might need to adjust a bit and learn the new mechanics of the online game. That’s okay, though, because just like the physical game, the online rules are easy to learn.
Uno! Online offers the following features: Uno Classic Mode (the original version), Buddy Up (two vs. two), Rule Your Room (gather friends in one room and set up a game), Go Big or Go Home (the ultimate Uno challenge), and Tournaments (climb the leaderboards and be the top Uno gamer). It also has the Uno Universe, where you can compete with other people all over the globe.
Sagrada is a dice-drafting board game that allows players to build and construct beautifully designed stained glass windows. It is a product of Floodgate Games, along with Cosmic Colonies and Holi: Festival of Colors, but the mobile app version is powered by Dire Wolf Digital.
The game may seem easy, but don’t be deceived—the dice decide what colors and shades you can use, which makes it complicated. For instance, dice with the same colors or numbers may not be positioned next to each other.
The app version basically works the same as the physical game. The only difference is that the colors of dice on the app are brighter and fuller, plus there are added animated effects. You can also play the game alone by competing against the app’s AI.
Sagrada’s mobile app version is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. We recommend it to those who want a chill yet entertaining game. There are no in-app purchases, but you’ll have to buy the actual game app to get started.
- Most customers suggest that a landscape view could be a great feature to add to the app.
7. Twilight Struggle
Twilight Struggle is based on the Cold War—the era of political and economic tension between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. It was created by award-winning designers Ananda Gupta and Jason Matthews, and the physical game is a product of GMT Games. The app version is powered by Playdek, Inc.
In this game, the goal of each player is to strengthen and extend their political influence in order to dominate the world. Each player possesses one of the two modern superpowers, and whoever expands his space the most effectively wins. However, players need to avoid declaring nuclear war, otherwise the game is over.
The online game functions the same as the board game, but there are additional features available. These include an AI opponent, multiplayer mode, and real-time online play against anyone who’s also playing the game when you’re logged in. Naturally, an internet connection is necessary if you want to fully enjoy the last feature.
Mysterium Online claims to be a “faithful adaptation” of the original board game, but with exceptional graphics. It provides the same thrill and experience whether you are a beginner or a veteran, and also offers additional features to make your game more fun and exciting.
Just like in the physical game, the online version lets you decide what role would you like to play. You can either be the ghost who hands out the clues to everyone or one of the psychics who are trying to unfold the mystery. Either way, you’ll enjoy the mobile version as much as you do the board game.
The game offers two expansion sets that are specifically designed to fit with the mobile version. These are the “Hidden Signs” and “Secrets & Lies” sets. Hidden Signs adds new suspects, locations, and weapons, while Secrets & Lies provides new storyline cards. The app also has a “Story Mode” that discusses the background of each psychic. Finally, you can play the online version alone (single-player) or with your friends, or even with other people from all over the globe.
9. Scrabble GO
Who wouldn’t want to try the updated version of our classic favorite, Scrabble? Scopely, the developer of this app, promises that it delivers authentic gaming involvement. It is also customer-approved, with 4.3 out of 5 ratings both on Google Play and the Apple Store.
The app offers two options: the free mode and the premium mode. The free mode allows you to play the game in its classic, original style, plus some new word games like Duels, Word Drop, Tumbler, and Rush. You also have access to League Leaderboards, Practice Mode, and Track Stats.
When you subscribe and get the premium mode, you enjoy the following benefits: an ad-free experience, access to exclusive content, rewards for Weekly Challenges, unlimited use of the Scrabble Scholar boost, full access to the Word Power Meter boost, and additional Arena Tickets delivered straight to your inbox.
If you are not yet sure whether to subscribe, you can enjoy a one-week free trial once you download the app. Just remember that it auto-renews 24 hours after the end of the trial, so make sure to turn it off via the app.
Scattergories is a fast game, so if you are playing it on mobile, you need to have fast hands. In this game, the goal is to be the fastest thinker and come up with a word that starts with the given letter, depending on the category.
For instance, if the category is fruit and the given letter is “B,” you need to type in “banana” before anyone else. There’s a catch, though: The more creative your answer is, the more points you get. So if you answered bayberry or betel nut instead of banana, you’ll score more.
The Scattergories mobile version offers single-player, multiplayer, and duel modes. This means you can play it alone or with your friends and family members. You can even play it with people from other parts of the world.
The official mobile version of Codenames is yet to be released. Currently, its support app, titled “Codenames Gadget,” is the one circulating online. Through this support app, you’ll be able to play the classic rules with a random key generator.
According to Czech Games Edition, the manufacturer, the mobile app will have the following features: online rank and friendly pay, local pass and play, new game modes, daily challenges, and awards and customizations. So whether you’d like to play it alone or with a friend, the game is set to bring you an incredible digital experience.
The full version of Codenames, together with all its themes, is coming soon to your smartphones.
Final Words on Online Board Games
As previously mentioned, online gaming has a fair share of benefits that physical gaming can’t provide. If you want to see for yourself if these benefits are real, try downloading one or all of the apps we have listed above.
If you feel, however, that physical board games are still more suitable to your preferences, you can always opt to play them as they are. Check out these articles to discover more board games that you might want to try: