Game time on your phone

Stuck for something to do when it rains over the holidays? Time to get out your phone, Kirstin Mills writes.

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Stuck for something to do when it rains over the holidays? Time to get out your phone, Kirstin Mills writes.

If you’re a fan of old-school board and/or card games, did you know you can get in some handy practice on your smartphone on a wide range of games?

It is also a great way to learn games you have never played. My niece had started playing backgammon and frustrated with continually being beaten as a backgammon newbie, I downloaded a backgammon app to learn the nuances of the game.

I started with easy options and moved up to harder versions. When it came to playing the real thing again, I managed to beat her. Was she only 14 at the time? Yes. Did I care? No. A win is a win.

Another game I enjoy in real life is Sequence. It is similar to Connect 4 but is played with playing cards and a board. You match the playing card in your hand to playing cards printed on the board, aiming to get five tokens on the board in a row and you can play in teams when you have four or more players. Again, the app allows you to hone your technique – do you play defensively blocking your opponent/s or focus more on your own game?

Another I recommend is Hearts. In real life this can be a vicious game, as you try to avoid getting points, while forcing your opponents to pick up point cards. But it requires four players, whereas the app lets you play against imaginary players and figure out techniques like whether it is better to de-suit first or aim to get rid of higher point cards first.

I am keen to learn gin rummy and that is still a work in progress. You can easily find gin rummy apps, as well as a huge range of old school board games available – everything from Monopoly to Scrabble.

Another option to keep your brain working using your smartphone is the ever-expanding range of guessing games. You will have had to be living under a rock not to have heard of Wordle – where you have six guesses to figure out a five-letter word. (You may have also come across its variants – you can solve multiple word puzzles at once with Dordle, Quordle, Octdordle and try variations on the original with Word Hurdle, Absurdle, Phrazle, Crossworldle.)

But to move away from wordplay, but stick with guessing, you can try Worldle, where you guess a country by its outline. With each guess you get a geographical clue – the country might be 3500km away from your guess, in a south-east direction and a percentage which shows how close you are – 100% means you’ve guessed correctly. Not to be confused with Wherelde, which is also good but requires a good knowledge of US geography.

My favourite of all the games is Heardle, where you guess a song by listening to the first seconds of the intro (up to a maximum of 16 seconds) with six attempts at the correct answer. You sometimes get it within a second, sometimes it’s on the tip of your tongue and other times you have no idea.

The one I keep trying, even though I am truly hopeless at it, is Framed, where you get still frames of a movie and attempt to guess its name.