Turn-based (or asynchronous) multiplayer games are the greatest thing to hit mobile gaming since, well, ever. OK, there’s a tiny bit of hyperbole there, but if you’re limited on time but want to play alongside friends, they’re great. Here’s 7 awesome turn-based games to get you started.
In all of these games, you’re able to take turns whenever it suits you. It’s perfect for when life is busy and neither you or your friend have the time to set aside a dedicated slot in the day to play together. Instead, you can dip in and out, taking your move when it suits you. Even if that happens to be at 3 AM when you’re trying to get the baby back to sleep. All of the games are fantastic in their own right too, because who wants to waste precious time with mediocrity?
Here are our favorite turn-based multiplayer games for mobile.
Words with Friends 2 (Android/iOS, Free)
If you’ve somehow never played Words with Friends before, you’re in for a treat. Words with Friends 2 is essentially Scrabble but better. At its simplest, you take it in turns to spell out words from the tiles you have available to you. Certain areas on the board offer double or treble point scores, so it’s up to you to figure out where best to move things along. It’s all quite strategical, so even if you’re not great with word play, you still stand a chance.
Words with Friends 2 adds to the formula by also including solo challenge events where you can play against fictional characters. Team matches are also an option via a new Lightning Round. Really though, the core fun comes from competing with friends across epic matches that can take minutes to weeks, depending on how often you can both play.
Draw Something (Android/iOS, Free)
Playing out kind of like Pictionary, Draw Something is impressively addictive, even if you can’t draw well. The game has you taking turns to draw anything from burgers to love to a football match. It’s all down to what card you pick, and what you choose to draw from one of three words.
It’s a lot of fun and that’s actually made all the better by the fact you have to wait to take turns. If you played it too quickly, it could get repetitive, but finding a few moments in the day to take your move is always rewarding. You can opt to buy color packs and power-ups, but these are far from essential. Revel in simply trying to figure out each other’s potentially dubious drawing skills, and maybe partake in the odd daily challenge too.
Worms 3 (Android/iOS, $5)
The Worms franchise is spectacular fun, whatever the format. It’s a strategy game that has you controlling a team of worms as they attempt to fend off another team of worms. These worms are heavily armed though with some suitably wacky weapons to keep the action light. Worms 3 includes a new class system that has you using unique skills covering the likes of Heavies, Scientists, Scouts, and a traditional Soldier.
Asynchronous multiplayer support means you can take it in turns in matches against your friends, so you don’t have to devote a chunk of time to competing. It works across platforms too, so it doesn’t matter if your friend has an Android and you have an iPhone. There’a a single player campaign mode for more fun too.
Ticket to Ride (Android/iOS, $9)
A classic board game, Ticket to Ride has beguiled many tabletop fans over the years. Now, you can play it on the move too, and via turn based multiplayer. It’s perfect if you love board gaming but never seem to have the time to meet up with friends for the real thing.
The game positions you as a railway tycoon, collecting wagons to take control of the railways across various cities in the USA, reliving the golden age of the first railroads. The mobile game includes additional maps and mini-expansion packs if you’re willing to pay extra, including Europe, India, Asia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Not only is the multiplayer element polished but the whole game is such an excellent implementation of the wildly popular table top version it’s based upon, that it is frequently held up as a sterling example of exactly how board game companies should roll out a digital adaptation.
UniWar (Android/iOS, Free)
Want a deep and involving strategy game? One that isn’t about grinding your way to success? UniWar is that game. It’s effectively like chess but with multiple alien races and different boards where the terrain affects how you do. Having been around a while now, there are over 10,000 user created maps to choose from, making the experience even more varied.
It’s kind of like if you cross StarCraft with chess and Advance Wars, meaning it’s incredibly deep. This could easily be a game that you’d have to spend hours playing but because it’s turn based, you can still find the time to dip in whenever suits you. Strategy fans rightly adore this. It’s available for Android and iOS.
Disc Drivin’ 2 (iOS, Free)
Solely available for iOS, Disc Drivin’ 2 involves getting a disc around a track before your opponent. Sweeping curves, elevation changes, and a bunch of complicated physics get in the way. It sounds like something that couldn’t work in a turn based fashion, but it really does. Each turn has you setting up your shot with a second move available to try to avoid any unexpected hazards along the way.
A bunch of upgradeable powers further add to your strategy and the almost frantic nature of the game. It’s an unusual combination of things — even more so as it’s turn based — but it’s a ton of fun.
XCOM Enemy Within (Android/iOS, $10)
The XCOM series is a fantastic franchise for strategy gaming fans. Everything about it is turn-based from its expansive single player campaign mode to its multiplayer mode, giving players the chance to partake in some epic battles from a distance.
XCOM Enemy Within is a standalone expansion to its predecessor, XCOM Enemy Unknown, with more abilities and maps to unlock, as well as new enemies to take out. You can spend hundreds of hours on the single player campaign but there’s plenty of separate fun to be had as you duke it out against your friends too. Prepare to enjoy the action, as well as the storyline.