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6 Apps The Family Can Gather ‘Round This Holiday Season

There are few thing as fun and full of memories as family game nights during the Christmas family get togethers. If you own a few board games but are always losing the pieces (which renders them unusable) another option you may want to consider is the iPad app version of your favorite games. Not only do they offer a great “Pass ‘n Play” option, but there’s no set up or clean up involved (and that’s always a plus when there are a dozen kids wrecking the house one room at a time during the Christmas family reunion).

Ticket to Ride (iPad – there’s also a Pocket version available) is one of my all-time personal favorites. This smash-hit game by Days of Wonder made it’s way to the iOS world not long ago and has been nearly as popular in app form as it is in board form. Ticket to Ride is a multiplayer strategy game themed around railroads that is enjoyed by both kids and adults. The app offers the option to purchase expansions and upgrades that add lots of variety to keep the interest going for hours on end. Not only is there a “Pass ‘n Play” option, but insomniacs can play other people online at any time of the day or night. Ticket to Ride for iPad or iPhone is sure to please everyone and is my #1 recommended family game for this holiday season.

The Game of Life HD for iPad offers some fun variations on the board game version. The app allows up to 6 players and everyone has the option to customize their character (this can add some fun humor to the game). Easily zoom in and out of the board. The thing I love most about the app version of The Game of Life is the fact that I can’t lose the pieces and I don’t have to worry about our toddler swallowing the small pieces. This is the perfect game for fun and laughs during Christmas family get togethers.

UNO HD  for iPad takes the classic card game to a new virtual level. This version supports up to four players for “Pass ‘n Play” mode and even offers the option to play others online. If your Uno card collection is whittled down to only a few cards, this is a great alternative. The app allows players to customize rules and offers some fun opportunities to unlock new decks. For $.99 it’s a great alternative to the physical deck of cards.


Wheel of Fortune HD  for iPad lets you be a game show star without having to leave your livingroom. This classic word puzzle multiplayer is loads of fun on the iPad. See who’s the word whiz in the family with “Pass ‘n Play” mode or even play each other with multiple iPads over wifi/bluetooth. The game comes with a base package of avatars and puzzles and offers several in-app purchases for upgrades and additional puzzles. If you’re family loves word games and are members of the Vanna White fan club, this is the app for you.

Little Things for iPad is a based on the same concept as the popular “I Spy” books. Mosaics of images (such as a puppy) are made up of hundreds of smaller objects. Players must find particular objects as quickly as possible. This seek and find game is perfect for the whole family, but particularly enjoyed by elementary aged children. My favorite part about Little Things is the fact that it generates randomized searches each time it’s played. An object is never in the same place twice!

Scrabble for iPad is an absolute essential for tablet-based family fun. The game is such a classic that it hardly needs explanation. The question is: what can the app version do that the board game can’t? Modes of play include “Pass ‘n Play,” local play (wifi/bluetooth) and online multiplayer – even challenge your Facebook friends. The game comes with a built-in dictionary that automatically checks to see if words are legitimate. This will frustrate some players and delight others. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve bluffed my way through more than one word in a heated Scrabble match. To me, that’s part of the fun, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had hours of fun with the dictionary approved version for iOS. Definitely give this one a try!

A few other great options are Hangman RSS HD, Chess, and Checkers.

Check back in two weeks where we will be listing out the absolute hottest tech items for 2010 for the procrastinating Christmas shoppers to choose from. Just because Black Friday is over doesn’t mean there aren’t still amazing deals on tech gadgets out there!

Hannah is an educator, mom to three wonderful children ages 3 and younger and proud wife of an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran. She is the founder of and

Author: hannah

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