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Top 10 best asynchronous multiplayer games on iPhone and iPad

Take your turn
Product: Top 10 iPhone charts | Format: iPhone, iPad
Top 10 iPhone charts Multiformat, thumbnail 1
Turn-based games are about tactics. They're about planning your next move. And they're about sitting around, waiting for your dawdling opponent to take their turn.

Thank the heavens for asynchronous multiplayer then - the clever bit of tech that lets you leave the game when you've taken your turn. Your opponent can make their move in their own time, and a notification pops up on your phone.

It's the multiplayer mode for busy commanders and multi-tasking tacticians. A revolution for the time-stripped player with a competitive streak to satisfy. And these are the best of the bunch.

Words with Friends (Two players)
By Zynga with Friends - buy on iPhone or buy on iPad


It's the game that really kicked this whole craze off. NewToy spun Scrabble to let turns take hours, days or even weeks - so players could fit massive matches into their life, and maybe take a little extra time to come up with the perfect word.

The game also features a chat window, so you can brag about your triple-letter-score "Q", or lie about the amazing tiles in your hand.

Draw Something (Two players)
By OMGPOP - buy on iPhone and iPad


Draw Something asks you to doodle a picture of some random word - from car to Justin Bieber - and then sends your scribbled mess to a Facebook pal. If they can decipher your drawing, it's their turn to play artist.

The game quickly became a huge craze, and millions of terrible drawings were shared over Twitter. Zynga sharply purchased developer OmgPop, for a whopping $180 million.

Worms 2: Armageddon (Two players)
By Team17 Software - buy on iPhone and iPad


Team17's turn-based invertebrate war game was calling out for an asynchronous mode. Waiting for your opponent to shuffle their spineless troops about the battlefield was always the worst part of Worms.

In Armageddon's latest update, you can now play two-player asynchronous deathmatches with friends or random opponents. Best of all, busy commanders can have 16 battles on the go at any one time.

Hero Academy (Two players)
By Robot Entertainment - buy on iPhone and iPad


The battles in Hero Academy may be small in stature - the battlefields are tiny enough to fit on an iPhone's screen, after all - but they are no less epic in nature.

As you fight to destroy your enemy's gem, and closely guard your own, there are fiery power struggles and dastardly tactics at play. No surprise, as developer Robot Entertainment is cobbled together from staffers of strategy veteran Ensemble Studios.

Ticket to Ride: Pocket (Four players)
By Days of Wonder - buy on iPhone


Board games and asynchronous play are a natural fit. It's no replacement for a bunch of friends (and soon-to-be-enemies) getting around the kitchen table, but it's a good alternative for busy board gamers.

Ticket to Ride: Pocket, which has rail tycoons trying to span the globe with tracks and stations - has turn-based play on its iPhone (but not iPad) version. It uses Game Center and, like most games on this list, you can have multiple matches on the go simultaneously.

Carcassonne (Four players)
By TheCodingMonkeys - buy on iPhone and iPad


Another classic board game where asynchronous play fits like a wooden meeple on a church tile - if you know what we mean.

German game Carc' has players building big castles and owning land by plopping down terrain tiles and carefully placing a handful of "meeple" pieces. By the end of the game, you've all built a huge medieval landscape. The person who owns the most, wins.

Disc Drivin' (Four players)
By Pixelocity Software - buy on iPhone or buy on iPad


If some of the games on this list see a tad sedate, the wicked corners and death-defying leaps of Disc Drivin' might sate your appetite. It's all about tossing your frisbee over the finish line in fewer flicks than everyone else.

Things start to get really hairy when you start shunting other discs into bouncy bumpers and using power-ups to lay down oil slicks and bombs. It's dastardly stuff. A quick and satisfying way to make new enemies.

Dominion (Five players)
By Dot Matrix Interactive - buy on iPhone or buy on iPad


Dominion is to Risk, what Words with Friends is to Scrabble. So, true to form, battles boil down to looking at who has the biggest number. You try to take over the world by bullying neighbouring counties with a smaller military presence, while keeping enough troops left over for defence.

So far, so Risk. But by giving it that sly asynchronous twist, world domination has never been so much fun.

Chess with Friends (Two players)
By Zynga with Friends - buy on iPhone


Chess with Friends hardly needs an introduction. It does exactly what is says on the tin: turn-by-turn chess, from the same team that bought you Words with Friends.

Asynchronous multiplayer definitely has its roots in chess, as isolated players could send their next move by post, and eventually email.

Uniwar HD (Eight players)
By Xpressed - buy on iPhone and iPad


Ultimately, the game we'd all like to see go multiplayer is Advance Wars. "War with Friends" - it's got a nice ring to it. But until Nintendo figures out how to actually use the web, the hexagonal Uniwar will have to make do.

You basically build an army, and take advantage of the terrain in turn-based battles with friends. There are three races to pick from, each with it's own fleet of unique units. You can play with pals on Android, too.

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 18 June 2012
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