The 7 best iPad board games for Christmas

iPad-based board game fun for all the family

We've collected the finest iPad board games, suitable for all the family to enjoy this Christmas.

Good clean family fun, in the shape of a fusty old board game, is an essential part of the Christmas experience: squeezing on to the sofa after a heavy lunch and enjoying some mildly competitive quality time with your siblings, nephews, grandparents and family hangers-on.

[Five great holiday updates to popular iOS games and Last-minute holiday gifts: 10 iPhone/iPad gadgets under $70]

It's possible to blend tradition with modernity, however, and there are many advantages to trying out a few board games on your iPad this Christmas. There's variety, for one thing: there are literally thousands of options on the App Store, as compared with the copies of Risk, Monopoly and Ghostly Galleon* in the cupboard, each of which has been played to a state of ragged decrepitude.

iPad board games are also a lot cheaper than their cardboard and plastic equivalent. They tend to cost more than the average iOS game, with price tags of five or six quid about standard, but you can take a punt on something interesting at that price: you'd be more cautious about spending £25 or more. And there are plenty of cheaper or free alternatives. What's more, you don't have to brave the cold weather to buy an iPad game.

So without further ado, here are some of our favourite iPad board games. If someone's been given an iPad for Christmas, what better way could there be to spend the afternoon than getting the whole family involved in a game of something charming and harmless?

If you want to discover a superb new board game: Catan HD (£2.99)

The more discerning gamesters among you may already have a copy of Settlers of Catan. It is an absolute stone-cold killer classic, the greatest board game this writer for one has ever played. With forensic skill designer Klaus Teuber created a simple but fiercely tactical tile-based conquest game where no one gets knocked out and everyone has stuff they can work towards even if they're miles behind the leaders.

It can get aggressive but a few house rules - no robber until everyone's had two turns, say, or just being nice and not picking on people who are struggling - should keep it friendly.

If you've not got the full set, though (and it'll set you back £25 for the basic game and almost as much for the near-essential Seafarers expansion), the iPad edition is pretty sweet.

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