More and more of us are playing games on our phones and mobile devices. In fact, the percentage of Americans who play games on mobile devices has nearly tripled from 2008 to 2011, according to a recent study. No wonder. Many games enable you to play with your kids, grandkids or friends from your phone or tablet no matter where you are, making the right multiplayer game a great tool to share fun times with those you love.
We picked six fun — and easy to learn — games to start with. Most of them allow for instant interaction: If you and your opponent are online at the same time, you can fire moves back and forth right then and there. If you're not online together, you can send your next move and your opponent will be notified and counter whenever it's convenient.
All of these mobile games are available for both iPhone and Android devices, and all but one can be downloaded for free in an ad-supported version. Premium versions (without ads) will run you about a couple bucks.
Hanging With Friends and Words With Friends
Hanging With Friends is an ingenious variation on that old standby Hangman, with a little added digital sizzle. Each player is assigned a set of random letters that have different point values, Scrabble-style, and must use them to create a 4- to 8-letter word for your opponent to solve. On screen you see a cute little character hanging by a cluster of balloons. Every time someone misses a word, a balloon pops. Lose all your balloons and the game is over. You can choose to play against a random opponent, square off against one of your Facebook friends or create a free mobile account to be matched with another player online.
Words With Friends is another digital version of an old classic — it's essentially Scrabble playable online, for free, with minor differences in board layout, tile values and such. One big difference: You can't play a word and wait to see whether your opponent challenges it, as the game automatically checks each word against its own internal dictionary. Of course, in cyberspace, nobody can see you cheat, an issue in both of these games, but your friends and family wouldn't do that, would they?