It’s incredible to think that board games have been with us for over 5000 years as proved by archaeological discoveries that found that they were being played as long ago as 3500 BC in Egypt. Often the games were even sealed into the emperors’ tombs – presumably to entertain them on their way to the afterlife.

Not surprisingly, these were very different from the board games that we enjoy today but even many modern ones also have an interesting history.

They also have a very special place in lots of people’s hearts who associate them with time spent with loved ones over the holidays or as a distraction on a rainy day when all there is to do is stay indoors and have a game.

More and more of these games have also made the ultimate leap into the digital age in the form of apps. This has made the titles in question easy to play whenever and wherever people get the chance. They’ve also started to build up global networks of players who might never actually meet, but who get to compete with each other online.

There are countless board and other games that are popular on apps, but these five are particular favorites.

Scrabble

Anyone who loves word games will probably count this one as being high up in their list of favorites. It’s been popular ever since it first appeared back in 1948 and may have been having responsible for more disagreements about what words do and don’t count than any other game.

It’s the perfect game to play via an app for a number of reasons:

  • Each player’s letters can be randomly generated.
  • The scoring can be added up automatically.
  • When there are disputes about words, it’s easy to see straight away if it’s a word that’s permitted in the rules.
  • It’s a game that can be paused for an indefinite length of time if players need to stop for a while.

Monopoly

If you ask anyone to name the first board game that they can think of, the chances are that they’ll say Monopoly. That’s because it’s long been a great way to pass the time and pretend to be a budding landlord and property developer. You only have to look at the countless variations of the game to see just how popular it is. From the original American version, originally called “The Landlord Game”, it’s now available covering cities across the world.

In fact, it has a fascinating history which even includes having helped prisoners of war to escape in the Second World War. But, thanks to the success of the app, it also seems to have a very bright future too.

Poker

Although not actually a board game, poker is another activity that is very popular in app form. This is only fitting because it’s the internet that has fuelled a resurgence of interest in the game and brought in a whole new generation of players. That’s why you’ll find so much advice about how to play poker online including guides to the rules, tutorials and expert demonstrations.

Poker apps are obviously never going to recreate the real thing perfectly, but they do include all the essentials of the game including betting, bluffing and dealing. There are also ones that include different game variations including Texas Hold’em and Omaha Stud.

Cluedo

There aren’t many board games that are so good that they’ve even had a movie based around them. But with an 86% Rotten Tomatoes rating it proved the filmmakers right that it would be just as popular as the game of Cluedo.

As anyone who’s played it will know, it’s a game that relies predominantly on logic as players tried to work out where and how a murder was committed and, most importantly, who the murderer is. But intuition plays a part too, especially if you want to get to the solution first.

Risk

As definitely one of the most complicated board games out there, it might be hard to imagine just how this contest of world domination could be made app-friendly. But ask anyone who’s played it and they’ll confirm that it has been done. Ironically, it’s also one of the best games for making friends all over the world. Or, if you prefer, there are a number of single-player modes that use AI to give a good contest.

Some people have questioned exactly why there’s a need for all these online versions of games when there are so many exciting video games out there. But it turns out that people like these simpler pastimes which can be more about strategy than shooting.

There’s also the social aspect which is an undoubted appeal and sees many new friendships being formed, even if they’re virtual ones. But, just because it’s social, it doesn’t mean it can’t also be very competitive with an eventual winner working their way to victory.

It’s also in line with a resurgence of interest in the area generally which has seen more and more bars and cafes offering free board games to keep their customers amused – and there’s even a website to find the nearest one wherever in the world you find yourself.

But, then again, there’s no need to go anywhere at all when you’ve everything you need to enjoy a game or two just a download away.