If your family is coming to visit, or if you are headed home for the holidays, you may be in need of some festivities that will keep any opinionated uncles from talking about politics and religion.
One way to keep things light is to participate in good old-fashioned family game night. Whether you pass-and-play on the iPad, compete via Game Center on your iPhone, grab two controllers for Apple TV 4, or simply pull out a tabletop board game from grandma’s dusty closet, we have some suggestions for keeping spirits bright as you while away the evenings this holiday season.
Ticket to Ride
This is probably one of the most popular board game adaptations in the App Store. Players collect train cars that they use to claim route throughout different locations. The longer your routes, the more victory points you earn. You can also earn points by completing Destination Tickets and being the player with the longest continuous route. With the iOS version, you can play the game online with up to four players, or in person via pass-and-play. The game was recently updated with additional maps, cross-platform asynchronous game play, and a new user interface. It is on sale in the App Store for $2.99.
Hey, That’s my Fish
Gather your cold weather gear and head out to this fish-filled chunk of ice to compete against up to three friends in person with this strategy fish-gobbling game. Players must collect fish on a fast-crumbling hexagonal ice floe while carefully planning how to stop their opponents from getting to any of them. The player with the most fish at the end wins the game. When you grab fish, you can remove tiles from the board, which blocks your opponent from being able to get to the good stuff. Be carful, though. You may accidentally block yourself in if you aren’t careful. This game is available for $2.99.
If you fancy yourself lucky with the roll of the dice, you may want to pit yourself against family in this luck-based game. Players try to be the first to claim three columns by rolling four dice. Choose a pair to be the runner. Then roll again to advance a runner or add a new one. Once you’ve got three runners on the board, things get tricky. You must advance your runners or you’ll lose all progress and have to start over again. You can play this game with up to three friends in real life through the pass-and-play game mechanic. It is available in the App Store for $0.99.
This game has been a favorite amongst my friends and I because it is so chaotic. Players lay down cards with rules on them and each turn, everyone must follow the current rules in play, no matter how weird they are. Some rules completely change the point of the game, while others make it possible for someone to win with just one card. Things are constantly changing (or, in flux, if you will), so you never know what the goal of the game will be when your turn arrives. Something you thought would help you win the game may have just been taken out of play. You can play the iOS version with up to four people in pass-and-play mode. This game is available in the App Store for $2.99.
If you’ve got Apple TV, than you can play this game on your big screen against up to three opponents. Similar to Wii Sports, players compete against each other in a series of swinging athletic games, like tennis, baseball, and golf. However, swinging to the beat is the most important part of this competition. The better timed your hit is, the more points you earn. If you don’t have extra Siri Remotes (and lets face it, who does?), then you can download the Beat Sports Remote app on your iPhone for multiple simultaneous gameplay. You can download Beat Sports in the App Store on Apple TV for $9.99.
One of iOS’s most popular arcade hits recently got an upgrade to Apple TV. The big screen version also has cooperative multiplayer mode included with it. Players pick their character and then try to make their way across the rush hour road without getting slammed. To activate Crossy Road multiplayer, open the iOS game on your iPhone to find the feature and turn it on. Then, restart the tvOS version and when you log back in, multiplayer mode will be available. All of the game’s original rules apply here. Don’t get smushed by a car and don’t fall in the river. This game is available for free in the App Store for iOS or Apple TV.
Guitar Hero Live
Somehow, Activision managed to skirt Apple’s strict rule that all games must be compatible with the Siri Remote. Not only is this game not compatible with the included Apple TV remote, but the free game also actually requires that you purchase a $100 dollar Guitar Hero controller in order to play. That being said, if you got one for Christmas, this game sure would be fun to play while your cool cousin watches. Take turns tapping out riffs from some of rock ‘n’ roll’s finest. You can simply switch between players every time a new song pops up. Or you could compete to see who can get the highest score on one particular song. This game is available for free in the App Store for iOS or Apple TV.
You don’t have to play complicated riffs or swing away with your Siri remote to play fun multiplayer games on Apple TV. In fact, This game is for the minimalist in your family. It is not entirely unlike a mix between Plinko and Breakout, but with multiplayer support for up to eight people. When your ball bumps into a peg, you’ll earn a point. The player with the most points, after all of the pegs have been claimed, wins the game. You can play with a total of eight people. Of course, no one is going to have eight Siri remotes stuck between the couch cushions. So, instead, download the Peg Ballet Controller on iOS to use your iPhone as a game pad. This game is available on Apple TV for $0.99.
In January of this year, a funny card game with exploding kittens launched on Kickstarter and immediately won the hearts of kitty and card game fans everywhere. It is now available at your local board game store and it is simple enough to play with the whole family, but interesting enough to keep you going late into the night if you wish. Players pick random cards from a deck and either play or keep them. There are exploding kittens hidden throughout the deck that you don’t want to pick. If you do, you must find a way to diffuse the kitten’s actions using one of the cards in your hand. If you can’t you are out of the game. Exploding Kittens is available on Amazon for $20. There is also a “NSFW” deck that has a lot of hilariously offensive stuff in it if your adult family has a weird sense of humor.
For something that is a little sweeter and less… kitten explody, try Just Desserts. Players try to beat their opponents in a sweets café by making and serving customers with the treats that their hearts desire. Collect cards with such ingredients as chocolate, apple’s cookies, ice cream, and more. Choose a guest for players to try to compete for. If you have enough ingredients for the type of desert a guest needs, you can add him or her to your collection. The player with the most collected guests wins the game. The game is available on Amazon for $9.99.