Family-friendly games to play at your virtual Thanksgiving

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iOS Games on iPhone 11 Pro
There are plenty of great, classic games to play virtually with family this Thanksgiving
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

2020 has been a year of change and adjustment, and Thanksgiving is no exception. With family gatherings put on hold and more people looking for ways to interact virtually, there’s still plenty of fun and games to be had with your distant friends and family.

Whether you’re into board games, card games, or just looking for ways to interact between turkey and pie, these are some of the best iOS, Apple TV, and Mac offerings you can play virtually.

Board Games

Monopoly

Monopoly allows you to play alone, or with friends and family around the world. Whether you’re on iPhone or iPad, the game comes to life in the 3D game board.

To play with family, simply create a new game, send your game code to your friends or family. From there, you can buy and sell your way to being the most powerful property owner on the board.

monopoly set of properties on ios
Just like the classic board game, Monopoly on iOS is great for the whole family.
Photo: Marmalade Game Studio

Have house rules? No problem! With Monopoly, you can adjust game play to fit your family. And because it’s virtual, there’s no game board to setup or banking to deal with.

Monopoly is available for $3.99 in the App Store.

Clue

Figure out who did it, how they did it, and where it was done with the classic murder mystery game Clue.

Clue game interface

Play alone, or with friends and family in real time, as you eliminate possible suspects to determine how Mr. Boddy died in the Tudor Mansion. Or buy any of extra themes for a twist on the classic whodunit.

Clue is available for $3.99 in the App Store.

The Game of Life

Exploring new ways to live and making life changing decisions has never been easier. Immerse yourself in the 3D world of The Game of Life.

game of life game board
Growing up has never been more fun than in The Game of Life
Photo: Marmalade Game Studio

Play alone, or with family and friends, in the classic game of learning to adult. Perfect for kids and adults alike, The Game of Life leads you through the twists and turns of growing up or trying something unexpected as you work to find success and happiness.

The Game of Life is available for $2.99 in the App Store.

Battleship

Think you have what it takes to be a naval commander? Deploy your fleet and rule the seas in the Hasbro classic Battleship.

battleship game screen
Command the seas in the turn based classic Battleship
Photo: Marmalade Game Studio

Play alone, or take on friend as you attempt to sink their ships first. Or try Commanders mode to experience Battleship with a twist. Use your commander’s talents to your advantage as you dominate around the world.

Battleship is available for $3.99 in the App Store.

Risk

If world domination is more your style, Risk for iOS may be perfect for you.

Based on the Hasbro board game, Risk allows players to challenge their friends in a game of tactical decision making. Playable with up to 6 people, Risk on iOS will bring out the best (or most aggressive) in even the most docile of family.

risk game board
World Domination is at your fingertips with Risk for iOS
Screenshot: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Best of all – Risk allows for custom rules and setup is lightning quick! Risk also features cross-platform play, allowing you to challenge family on PC, Android, and select consoles.

Risk is available for Free in the App Store.

Card games

Cribbage JD

Have you ever seen the winding peg board card game and wondered what Cribbage was all about? With Cribbage JD, you can challenge friends and family to the classic game or simply learn to play this wartime classic.

Cribbage JD for iOS
Cribbage is full of quirky rules, but is a great player-vs-player game that’s tons of fun!
Screenshot: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Whether you’re brand new, or an expert Crib player, Cribbage JD is a great 2-player game that won’t take all day. In Cribbage JD, you get automatic setup and scoring, and cards large enough for players of all ages, making it perfect for you and any family member that wants to play a hand.

Cribbage JD is available for free in the App Store.

Phase Card Game

The rummy-inspired card Phase puts players against one another to see who can finish their 10 phases first. It’s incredibly easy to learn, and tons of fun, too.

phase card game on ios
Fast-paced and fun, Phase Card Game is a great, family friendly game to play for any age.
Screenshot: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Learning Phase is pretty straight forward, and each round goes by pretty quickly. In each round, players are tasked with a given phase (2 sets of four, a run a group of the same color, etc.), and need to be the first to complete their phase and empty their hand to move on and get the lowest score.

Phase Card Game is available for free in the App Store.

Dice games

Yahtzee

If the best game is the simplest, Yahtzee is up there on the list. This game of luck and keen decision making is a great game for those that struggle with complex rules.

Simply roll the dice, choose what the keep, and roll again. After 3 rolls, tally up your best score and give your opponents a turn. Get 5 of the same, and Yahtzee!

yahtzee with friends
No real dice required to play Yahtzee with your friends and family on iOS!
Screenshot: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Perfect for strategy game players, poker players, and even puzzle game players, Yahtzee is a fast paced and fun head-to-head game.

Yahtzee is available for free in the App Store

Dice by PCalc

There are tons of things you can do with a set of Dice if you’re willing to get creative. With Dice by PCalc, you can choose from a huge collection of die for whatever your needs.

Whether you want to play Yahtzee over FaceTime, or are planning a virtual Dungeons and Dragons quest, Dice by PCalc saves you from keeping track of your physical dice collection.

Dice by PCalc with 5 D6 dice
While not technically a game, Dice by PCalc can provide plenty of convenience for your family games.
Screenshot: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Dice by PCalc features realistic rolling physics, advantage/disadvantage dice, dice sets to save your favorites, and an automatic tally for quicker (more accurate) counting.

Dice by PCalc is available for $1.99 in the App Store

More ways to play virtually

If you’re looking for something with less structure, there are plenty of great games that you can play without any special equipment (or apps).

Simply fire up FaceTime, Zoom, or your favorite video chat app, prop up your Phone, iPad, or Laptop, and get creative!
Grab a marker and a notebook and you can play Pictionary, or fire up a dictionary or word finder to play charades!

Whatever you’re in to, there’s plenty of fun to be had during your virtual holiday celebrations! All it takes is a little creativity, and an iOS device.