Best board games and family games apps to play at Christmas 

When you're stuffed after an indulgent Christmas dinner, full of turkey and sherry, you'll no doubt need some amusement for the kids, grandparents, in-laws, out-laws and anyone else that hasn't already fallen asleep in front of the Queen's speech.

Here we've rounded up some great board games - app versions of classics and some you might not have heard of, or long forgotten - which the whole family can enjoy.

Apps are much cheaper than a real board game, and you can download and play it straight away, so whether you're planning ahead or using this in an emergency, these games won't let you down.

Read next: Best board games

Best board game apps: Ticket to Ride

£4.11 (Android)

£4.99 (iPad)

A good option if kids are involved, Ticket to Ride lets you build a railway by collecting cards and connecting cities. You earn more points for longer routes, but you also run the risk of being blocked off by your opponents.

You can play on your own against four AI players, or online with players on various platforms including Android, PC, Mac and iPad. It includes the USA map, but you can buy others via in-app purchases.

 Best board games and family games apps to play at Christmas

Best board game apps: Heads up

Free (iPad / iPhone / Android)

This brilliant free game takes a concept that works perfectly well on paper, but adds hilarity thanks to your tablet or phone's front-facing camera. You hold the smartphone or tablet up to your head and everyone else has to act out the word shown, be it a celebrity, accent, animal, character or something else.

That's fun, but it's even funnier watching the video of your family and friends acting out the word - and you can share it straight to Facebook. You can buy extra card packs in the app.

 Best board games and family games apps to play at Christmas

Best board game apps: Carcassone

£3.99 (Android)

£6.99 (iPad)

One of the best transitions from physical to digital, Carcassonne is a tile-placement game where you build a medieval landscape by matching up the features on the cards.

Unlike some games here, up to five people can play on a single device by passing it around. You can also play online against friends, and it doesn't have to be in real-time. Highly recommended.

 Best board games and family games apps to play at Christmas

Best board game apps: Monopoly

£1.49 (Android)

£2.99 (iPad)

£0.69 (iPhone)

Needing no introduction at all, this family favourite works reasonably well as a direct replacement for the physical version - it helps if you have a big-screen tablet of course. You get all the known and loved locations including Old Kent Road, Pall Mall and Mayfair, and there are fun animations.

You can also play against the computer, or up to three other real people. If you all have devices and the app, you can even play via Wi-Fi or head-to-head with one friend via Bluetooth.

 Best board games and family games apps to play at Christmas

Best board game apps: Scotland Yard

£2.99 (iPad/iPhone)

A brilliant board game digitised for iOS. Between three and six players must hunt for Mister X (one player is Mister X) as he travels around London on bus, tube and taxi. Only his 'discarded' tickets give the clues as to where he might be. The rest - the detectives - must use their allocation of tickets to travel around and try to catch him at a station or stop.

It's best to know the rules of this fairly complex game before downloading the app, but there is a tutorial. It's much cheaper than the board game, but it's not as easy to play on an iPad's smaller screen.

 Best board games and family games apps to play at Christmas

Best board game apps: Stratego

£3.24 (Android)

£4.99 (iPad)

This classic battlefield strategy game involves protecting your flag from the enemy. You can play solo or online multiplayer, with either the full 40 pieces, or just 10 if you want a quick game. Bear in mind that there are in-app purchases, even after you've paid for the game.

Best board games and family games apps to play at Christmas

Best board game apps: Game of Life

£0.69 (Android/ iPad)

Another digital version of the original board game. You can play with up to six players (four on Android) by passing your tablet around. You spin the wheel to travel along a track, representing 'life', getting married, having children and retiring.

 Best board games and family games apps to play at Christmas

Best board game apps: Scrabble Free

Free (Android/iPad)

£6.99 (iPad ad-free)

The original and - some would say - best word game around. The free version will likely drive you insane with video ads, but iPad owners can pay a premium to get an ad-free game.

You can play on your own, or against friends via the Facebook integration. Alternatively play against random people and have up to 25 games going at any one time.

 Best board games and family games apps to play at Christmas

Best board game apps: You Don't know Jack

Free (Android / iPad)

One for those that want to reminisce about the classic '90s PC game, You Don't Know Jack is a witty quiz game that now includes DisOrDat questions and Jack Attack (tap the screen when the flying word matches the person or phrase), plus new question types.

Annoyingly you have to log into Facebook, unless you just want to play with random people. Fine if you have Facebook, though.

The whole game is presented as a game show, but it can be US-focused at times. There are ads and in-app purchases, but you can play a couple of games at a time. We found the app a little buggy on the Hudl 2.

 Best board games and family games apps to play at Christmas