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Multiplayer Games Help Keep You Cozy and Well Connected

From Monopoly to music trivia, these pastimes are fun when played with friends online or in person

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Marmalade Game Studios

Don’t let the winter blahs get you down.

Instead, entertain yourself with some electronic competition.

Whether you’re playing in person or online, digital games are a great way to ward off boredom, enjoy a mostly free activity and stay connected with friends and family. No matter what your skill level, you’re sure to find a challenging and fun interactive game.

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If you play over the internet, several games allow you to chat between or during rounds, just as you would in real life.

Be aware: Gaming’s popularity attracts con artists

In 2024, online games are expected to bring in almost $28 billion in revenue worldwide, according to Statista Market Insights. The large number of players also draws scammers looking to take advantage of anyone, especially older adults, looking for friendship.

Con artists are notorious for targeting mature gamers through:

  • Private messages designed as chats
  • Purchases of monthly subscriptions
  • Unnecessary game accessories

Romance scammers have been known to sidle up to players of Words With Friends, seeking gift cards and loans through bank wire transfers or peer-to-peer payment apps such as Cash App, Venmo or Zelle.

Victims of deceit may carelessly reveal personal identifiable information, such as their names, addresses, birth dates, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers. That can make them susceptible to identity theft or allowing someone to secretly install malicious software on their computers.

The takeaway: Get to know your fellow players in person first and just say no to requests for money or personal information.

Monopoly, Monopoly Go! play on classic board game

The iconic status of its tabletop ancestor has helped Monopoly to become the most popular downloadable board game in the Apple App Store. It’s available for Android, too.

Try AARP’s multiplayer game

AARP members can play Let’s Crossword with up to nine friends who are also members. Solve a daily crossword puzzle together and ask for help through the in-game chat.

AARP has other single-person games anyone can play for free, including Atari arcade classics, puzzles, word and video versions of board and card games.

Priced at $4.99, Marmalade Game Studio’s digital edition is faithful to the Parker Brothers original, where you roll dice to buy, sell and build your way to wealth as a landlord. The smartphone and tablet versions feature music, sound effects and an animated 3D city board, as well as several single- and multiplayer modes.

The game lets users unlock localized and specialized versions of Monopoly with optional in-app purchases. An Explorers Bundle allows play on 41 boards inspired by cities around the world.

Fusing classic dice rolling and property building with a more social spin, the new game has players travel to world-class cities to build fortunes and lets you compete with a global fan base of Monopoly players against a backdrop of high-resolution visuals, sleek animation and sound effects.

As with the board game, you can play as the Racecar, Top Hat or Battleship, collect properties, build houses and hotels, pull Chance cards and even get sent to jail. Monopoly Go! features more than 100 new boards, daily tournaments, collectible stickers and playable mini games to earn rewards.

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Words With Friends 2, Scrabble Go echo old Scrabble

Billed as “the world’s most popular social mobile word game,” Zynga’s Scrabble-like Words With Friends 2 is also available for smartphones and tablets including iPads.

Much like Scrabble board play, this free download has you create words from lettered tiles. You take turns against opponents anywhere in the world at your own pace.

The game supports many simultaneous matches. You’ll be notified on your phone or tablet for your turn in each game.

You can chat during play via in-game messaging, take on several kinds of mini games, unlock new tile designs, use hints and other power-ups and compete for a top spot on a leaderboard.

Similarly, Scopely’s Scrabble Go is an officially licensed digital version of the authentic Scrabble board game, along with several solo and multiplayer game modes to keep wordsmiths engaged.

It’s highly social, too. Connect with friends and family over Facebook or WhatsApp, use your contact list or choose to play random gamers around the world. Scrabble Go offers several tournaments and leagues as well as bonus games, boosts, tile designs and an integrated dictionary.

Song quizzes are reminiscent of ‘Name That Tune’

In Song Quiz, music lovers have a digital version of Name That Tune, the classic TV game show that tested players’ knowledge of pop songs.

Amazon smart speakers and smart displays offer it free. Just ask your Echo to play, either with friends in person or against others over the internet. You can also play alone to sharpen your skills.

Created by Volley Inc., the voice-activated game boasts thousands of song clips from the 1960s to today. After you choose a decade, you’ll hear a few bars from a song. Get points for correctly guessing the title and bonus points for naming the artist.

New songs are added often, so don’t expect to hear duplicates.

For similar music trivia games — but playable on Android smartphones, Apple Macs, iPhones and Windows PCs — consider FreshPlanet’s SongPop 2. Or for Xbox and Nintendo Switch owners and Apple Arcade subscribers, take Gameloft’s SongPop Party for a spin.

Tabletopia brings many board, table games online

Tabletopia is a versatile platform rather than a single game.

It lets you play more than 2,500 table games with others online, from classics like chess, hearts and Texas Hold’em to modern board games like Cascadia, Scythe, Spyfall, Third Crusade and Wingspan.

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You can play on your web browser on a Mac or Windows PC through the Steam gaming network, or via your Android or Apple device. Read the rules, choose a seat at the virtual table and start playing.

Tabletopia’s free version, Bronze, allows you to take part in two game sessions at once, but the game selection is limited. Silver and Gold memberships at $9.97 and $14.97 a month let you play more simultaneous games and access the entire catalog.

It also has an in-game text chat feature. A $4.99-a-month video chat option is available for Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Opera web browsers or the Tabletopia Steam application for Mac and Windows operating systems.

On the horizon is a 23-inch-square tabletop electronic gaming console from another company called The Last Gameboard, which will offer hundreds of games from classics such as backgammon, checkers and chess to newly developed diversions such as Cat Lady and Cube-Brick. The start-up, mentored through the AgeTech Collaborative from AARP, is in beta testing for its product that will include its own board for in-person and remote players and a monthly subscription.

Heads Up! generates words for you to guess

Heads Up! is great to play with friends using your smartphone or through FaceTime, Google Meet or Zoom video chat.

The game first came to fame on a segment of the Ellen DeGeneres Show more than a decade ago. Warner Bros.’ $1.99 game for iOS and Android is a modern take on charades.

Whether you’re in the same room or video chatting, hold a smartphone up to your forehead. It displays a word or phrase for others to see, and your friends will shout out clues for you to guess it within 60 seconds.

If you’re stuck, tilt your head up. Then you’ll skip to a new word or phrase.

For online play, you’ll need a second device to hold up the phone to your phone. But Apple users can play Heads Up! through the SharePlay feature on an iPhone or iPad, which requires all users to have the game installed.

This way, you don’t need to hold a phone up to your forehead. Instead the clue is on the screen itself.

You can buy several decks by theme, such as Marvel movies, Friends, Harry Potter, accents, animals and many more. If you’re willing, you can record videos of your play to watch afterward or share on social media.

This story, originally published Oct. 19, 2020, was updated with new, more advanced gaming options.

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