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Tech Review: Apps for retro board games

AT&T launches push-to-talk service for the iPhone.

AT&T launches push-to-talk service for the iPhone. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Want to use cutting-edge technology for some old-fashioned fun? Go retro by rolling the dice on these popular family-oriented board games that have made the transition from tabletops to tablets and some smartphones.

Scrabble (iOS, Android; free)

The venerable word game has Long Island roots: Bay Shore-based Selchow and Righter manufactured Scrabble until the company closed in 1987. (The rights were purchased by Hasbro.) The ad-supported app plays exactly the way the board game does, but opponents can be anywhere in the world because you can play online. You can also play offline with friends. The included dictionary helps avoid harsh words over the validity of played words. One drawback: The ads include 30-second videos that can be intrusive.

Monopoly (iPad, $6.99; Android, $4.99)

Parker Brothers' Depression-era board game translates well into a 2013 app. Play against the computer, pass the device among players in the same room or match wits against foes on a local network. You can customize "house rules," so if collecting $200 for passing Go is too 1935, adjust it for your lifestyle. The Android version is optimized for tablets, not phones. The iPhone version is 99 cents.

The Game of Life (iPad, Android; $4.99)

What set the classic Milton Bradley tabletop game apart when it debuted in 1960 was the spinning wheel that decided how many spaces a player moved. It and other features from the board game have been replicated so you can electronically barrel down the highway of life from youth to old age in a car filled with pegs depicting spouses and kids. The Game of Life is not compatible with many Android phones. A scaled-down "classic" edition is available for iPhones (99 cents).

Ticket to Ride (iPad, Android; $6.99)

A newcomer to the tabletop universe, the high-end railroad strategy board game that debuted in 2004 and became an instant hit has engendered a high-end app with sparkling graphics. You can play online against a community of enthusiasts or offline by passing the device among players. The game will work on some Android phones but is best played on tablets. The iPhone "pocket" edition is $1.99.

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