When you can’t be with the people that you like to play boardgames with face to face, it doesn’t mean that you can’t play boardgames with them at all.
There are a lot of options, from playing web based app like experiences of games (on platforms such as Board Game Arena, Yucata and Boiteajuex) to playing games in a simulated environment (such as TableTop Simulator and Tabletopia).
And many boardgames have digital versions within their own apps which a have multiplayer functionality.
Board Game Arena
Board Game Arena provides an app like experience on the web for a variety of boardgames. Some games are free to play, while others require the player who starts the game to have a premium membership (those marked with an asterisk below).
- The Boardgames Australia Best Australian Game winner for 2015, Sushi Go*
- 7 Wonders*
- Stone Age,
- Puerto Rico*
- Lost Cities*
- Race for the Galaxy*
as well as traditional games like Yahtzee, Chess, Hearts.
Board Game Arena can be found at https://boardgamearena.com/
Similar to Board Game Arena, Yucata provides an app like experience on the web, however is entirely free (though happily accepts donations).
Yucata has games like the Boardgames Australia’s Best Australian Game winner of 2017, Imhotep and nominee Cacao. It is free to register and just needs an email address.
Also includes some great games like:
- Jaipur a trading game for two
- R-Eco a quick card game about recycling
- Ragas of the Ganges, where you manipulate dice to earn fame and fortune
- Fearsome Floors about escaping from a Frankenstien’s monster in a dungeon
Yucata is available at https://www.yucata.de/
Boiteajuex is another web based game service that has around sixty games from Agricola through to Zertz. It is free to register and just needs an email address. There is a premium membership package available which allows you to play more simultaneous games than a free membership as well as other features that are not necessary for playing the games.
Find Boiteajeux at http://www.boiteajeux.net/
Tabletop Simulator tries to recreate the physicality of playing games. You can pick up the peices of the game and move them with your mouse. Or if you’re feeling particularly annoyed at the game you can even flip the table.
Tabletop Simulator doesn’t enforce the rules of the game at all, so you’ll likely need to find the rules online or watch a video of how to play. It’s also the option that will take longer to get used to how it works.
But the benefit of this is it’s much easier for developers to create the games on the platform, so there’s a lot more games compared to similar platforms.
You will need to pay for Tabletop Simulator and if you’re looking to play one of the licensed games (such as Wingspan, Zombicide, Scythe and Cosmic encounter) one of the players will need to buy the game as DLC.
Find Tabletop Simulator at https://www.tabletopsimulator.com/
Similar to Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia expects you to know the rules of the games and ust provides the components to play with them. It is more 2D compared to Tabletop Simulator and there’s some logic that can be programmed into the games.
Unlike Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia only allows rights holders to add games to their platform, so there’s not as many games on it.
Tabletopia is free, however some games (and some game modes) require a premium subscription that’s charged monthly.
Games on Tabletopia include :
- Stockpile, the co-winner of the Boardgames Australia Best International Game of 2016 about manipulating the stock market
- Wingspan about attracting birds
- Go Nuts for Donuts about grabbing the donuts that you want to eat
- Paperback a scrabble like game where you have to make words but it uses a deck of cards instead of tiles
- Survive: Escape from Atlantis, where you’re escaping the sinking Atlantis and trying to get sea monsters to eat other players people
- Fugitive, another great game for two where one player plays as a fugitive and the other plays as the Marshal trying to catch them before the escape
Find Tabletopia at https://tabletopia.com/
Web Based games
There are quite a few games that you can play with others through your browser that have dedicated sites.
Codenames the 2016 Best International Boardgame winner where you play team vs team to uncover your agents codenames by giving single word clues is available online at codenames.game.
One Word is an online implementation of the party game Just One, where a group of players are trying to get the guesser to guess the word by providing them with only word each. However if any players give the same clue, the guesser doesn’t get to see that clue oneword.games
For those that want to have a go at Diplomacy without destroying friendships in person, the website backstabbr comes highly recommended.
Then there’s so many apps that you can play on your phone with other actual real people.
Carcassonne is a tile laying game where you build the city of Carcassonne while trying to score more points than everyone else and is a modern classics. Carcassonne is available on Android, iOS, PC and the Nintendo Switch.
Similarly, Ticket To Ride is another modern classic, where you’ll take train cards to use to claim routes to complete tickets in order to score points. It’s available on Android, iOS, PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
If you’re keen on word games there’s a great deal available for you. There’s classic games like Scrabble and it’s newer spin Words with Friends.
There’s also a digital edition of the ever popular Bananagrams, which is similar to Scrabble, but instead of working on a central board, each player is working on their own boardless crossword that you can pull apart and reconfigure whenever you like. And instead of scoring points, you’re just trying to use all of your tiles before everyone else. It’s available on iOS and Android.
There’s also Avowel (an implementation of Wordsy) where you need to make words using whatever letters you like but you only get points for the letters that score for that round. It has has a daily challenge mode where you try and get the best score on that day. It’s currently only available for Android.
There’s also Hardback (a sequel to Paperback), in which you build a deck of cards which have letters on them. Each turn of the game you’ll deal cards from the deck which you’ll use to spell words in order to buy more cards to get the most points.the sequel to Paperback which is an app on ios/android.
Other great apps are:
- Patchwork, 2 player only, make a quilt [iOS, Android and Steam]
- Agricola, make a farm [iOS, Steam]
- Ascension, become a god [iOS, Android and Steam]
- Race for the Galaxy, build a galactic empire [iOS, Android and Steam]
- Root, where you try to lead your faction to victory in the forest [iOS, Andriod and Steam]
- Wingspan, a game about birds [Steam]