The 10 Best Social Games

The 10 Best Social Games

Social games for Facebook and other social networks are offered in an impressive assortment of colors and flavors. You can tend to your farm, build yourself a city, pick at a puzzle, fend off zombies, or crush your enemies and hear the lamentations of their women.

Got some spare time and a Facebook account? Here are ten of the best free social games currently available. Grab a friend, grab a drink, and have fun.

Ravenwood Fair (Simulation) — It’s one thing to clear the wilderness to plant crops and build cities, but the real pioneers of our time are the brave bears and racoons who blaze the haunted forests to build fairgrounds. Ravenwood Fair, developed by noted game designers John Romero and Brenda Brathwaite, challenges you to erect a fair and attract visitors while fending off monster attacks. If a visitor is frightened by a ghost or a monster, you must comfort him or her. Needless to say, admission to the Ravenwood Fair costs less than Disneyland.

Empires & Allies (Turn-Based Strategy) — Zynga’s latest offering is, unsurprisingly, a tremendous hit. The gameplay for Empire & Allies revolves around island defense and conquering, meaning the game’s a bit more bloodthirsty than some of Zynga’s previous titles (Mafia Wars being the obvious exception). Aside from the main game, you can attack your friends’ lands and settle beer money issues with the blood of a thousand cartoon armies.

Millionaire City (Building/Business Simulator) — Millionaire City is a city-building social game that’s seasoned with a dash of aggressive gameplay. You must lay out your city, manage property, and grab more property when it’s opportune. You can also earn achievements, and, of course, you can visit your friends’ cities and laugh at the impotent pile of concrete that will never thrive under their flabby-fisted rule.

It Girl (Life Simulator) — It Girl is not a game about a child-eating clown-woman that skulks in sewers. Instead, the game lets you groom a girl to become the trendiest, most stylin’ woman on the planet. Your Facebook friends become part of your clique; the more you have, the more popular you become. It’s a bit of a shallow premise, but if the party scene is your (Gucci) bag, it’s a lot of fun to play.

Tetris Battle (Puzzle) — Tetris Battle is a multiplayer version of Tetris. It’s all about you, your friend, and an epic struggle over the I-block. Kind of sells itself, really.

Mafia Wars (Role-Playing, Simulation) — No one can argue that Zynga’s Mafia Wars has staying power. Facebook is just the perfect breeding ground for gangsters and mob kings. You whack your enemies for territory, money, and power, and if you’re persuasive enough, your friends will get your back. It’s not as exciting as lunch at TGIF’s with the accounting department, but it’s something.

Zombie Lane (Role-Playing, Simulation) — Zombie Lane is a game about rebuilding your shattered neighborhood in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. After all, someone has to do something about the plummeting property values, and it’s not going to be Herman (he’s dead). You begin the game with a lowly shovel, but you can cobble together weapons more worthy of blasting a zombie through the head. You can also farm food for energy and complete other tasks. Zombie Lane offers a decent variety of gameplay options, which keeps the usual social game task tedium at bay.

Restaurant City (Restaurant Simulation) — In Restaurant City, you start up a restaurant, staff it, serve customers–and your staff, interestingly–and generally keep everyone happy. You can also harvest ingredients and make new dishes to serve. All without gaining a pound.

FarmVille (Farming Simulation) — Despite the availability of better looking and more complex social games, Zynga’s farming sim still commands a pretty huge fanbase. The idea behind FarmVille is to grow crops, visit neighbors, and raise livestock. Pretty basic stuff, but pleasing and addictive nonetheless. There’s just no leaving the farm once you’ve lay down roots.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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