11 Free iPad Board Games You Shouldn’t Miss

11 Free iPad Board Games You Shouldn't Miss
11 Free iPad Board Games You Shouldn’t Miss

As you may have guessed from my introduction, I’m obsessed with my iPad, and I routinely cover paid iPhone and iPad board games on my own blog – so it’s with great pleasure that I bring to you 11 completely free iPad board games.

If you haven’t gotten around to purchasing an iPad yet – don’t worry, I’m sure you will – Nancy has you covered with 8 iPhone games you won’t believe are free. Tim talked about free board game replacements that you can play online in your browser, while Mark showed you the best 5 Android apps.

Let’s see what I found.

Game Room

Game Room combines eight traditional board games into one convenient small app, and it takes a no-nonsense approach to gaming. What exactly is included?

  • Checkers
  • Reversi
  • Halma
  • Go
  • Mancala
  • Tafl
  • Atari Go
  • Cups

I’ve linked to Wikipedia for a few of the more esoteric ones, but the program also offers a comprehensive list of rules for each game.

If that isn’t enough, you may even design an unique iPad board game type, in which you can choose the board size as well as alter the aesthetic components of the board (checkered, leather, wood, stone, etc).The app doesn’t limit where you play pieces in this mode, but it does provide a nice little shortcut of double-tapping a piece to switch the color.

However, the Game Room software is just for 1-device-for-2-player gameplay; there are no alternatives for single player against AI or online play. Still, as a pure abstract board game replacement software, you couldn’t ask for much more.

Download GameRoom – Metaversal Studios [iTunes link]

Words with Friends Free (Scrabble clone)

Words With Friends adds one great feature that elevates it above and beyond the legally licensed version: the option to play numerous internet games at the same time. Switching between games is really simple due to the quick-change menu, which is only one touch away and displays all of your games as well as which ones demand your attention.

Unfortunately, although this version is free, it is also rife with advertisements. If you are genuinely opposed to in-game advertising and believe pop-ups are wicked, you should definitely proceed. Every few rounds, a 2-second advertising appears and covers the screen, pleading for your attention. If you can manage that, and you’re a lover of Scrabble and word games in general, the opportunity to play in numerous games is a must-have feature for the die-hard Scrabbler.

Words With Friends HD Free Download – Newtoy Inc. [iTunes link]


Although not a tough game, Ludo’s appeal has always been the fact that it can be played by anybody, regardless of age or aptitude. While I typically would not recommend such games, I did give it a few test plays with my wife and found myself having a lot of fun. Ludo, on the other hand, I don’t recall him being that violent…

The game is completely free, however there are in-app purchases for other board designs (the one seen above is the default) and 3D dice. The multiplayer possibilities are confined to local play only, however AI players may step in if needed.

Download LUDO board game – SIS software [iTunes link]

Blood and Honour Lite (Risk clone)

Maybe I simply have hidden ambitions for global dominance, but this game is surprisingly seductive. The main constraint of the ‘light’ version is that it only allows up to three total players (rather than six), either human or AI. You may also participate in online games, but the game host will need the full version. The game adds the aspect of special cards you may play to provide a bit more strategic decision making and complexity – additional defense or attack die this round, for example, or nuclear bombs – and I have to say this adds a lot of value over the original. I was never a huge Risk fan, but I’ll definitely keep this on my iPad for a little longer.

[iTunes link] Blood & Honor Lite – Sandstorm Interactive

Of course, I’m not arguing that the iPad can completely replace all of your board games – the size limitation is likely the biggest limiting aspect, with table-top play limited to a maximum of two players. I have a lot of eurogames that just have far too many physical components to ever be replicated on the little iPad screen – maybe one iPad per player. However, I am pleased to announce that “travel versions” of board games are now officially extinct – and everyone who has attempted to play with weak magnetic pieces in a bouncing vehicle with fat fingers should be as pleased as I am.

What are your thoughts on the iPad as a board game device? Do you think chess and checkers sets are losing popularity, or do you enjoy the feel of genuine pieces? Do you know of any more free iPad-optimized board games that I should have included? Let us know in the comments!

Note: I tried all of these free applications with iOS 4.2, but if you like jailbreaking your iPad, I advise you not to update just yet since the only jailbreak presently available is tethered, which means you must re-jailbreak when the battery dies or after a hard reset. Stay tuned for a comprehensive lesson when a better option becomes available.

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