Swap bored at home for board at home! Playing board games is a great way to spend time with friends, and the fun doesn’t have to stop just because you’re not able to make it in person. It’s easier than ever to play board games online. Here are some options for how to bring board game night to your computer.
Tabletop Simulator is a physics sandbox designed to allow you to really feel like you’re ‘playing’ with the game components, using your mouse to manipulate cards, dice, or pieces. Download the software, then connect with your friends (or nemeses, if you prefer) and play in real time via the internet. It’s not free — the base software costs £14.99, and comes with a selection of classic games like chess or dominoes. Once you’ve got the base, though, there are thousands of player-created game modules that you can access for free via the software’s Steam workshop, including a bunch of well-known and well-loved titles. If you’re into tabletop RPGs, Tabletop Simulator can also simulate that kind of tabletop. Plus, if you feel like by this point in self-isolation you’ve already played every game in existence, Tabletop Simulator also lets you create your own simulated games.
Like Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia is another physics sandbox for tabletop games, with an attached workshop tool for designers to create and playtest games. You can either download the software or play in browser, whichever suits you. As opposed to Tabletop Simulator’s one-time payment, Tabletopia works on a tiered system of pricing — the basic level is free, but you can subscribe if you want access to even more games and features. There’s a pretty wide range of free options (the website lists over 800 games you can play for free, although some of them are only free if you play with certain numbers of people), and some games also have a solo play option, meaning that you can get your board game fix even if all your friends are all busy with other things, like having Zoom meetings or staring wistfully out of the window.
If you’d prefer not to buy or download anything, there are various online board gaming sites that allow you to play board games online in browser, including free options. Board Game Arena has a clear interface, and hosts some great games, from Seven Wonders to Sushi Go. It also allows a turn-based mode, which is useful for when you can’t fit in a real time game.
It’s worth noting that a lot of online board game platforms are experiencing heavy traffic at the moment, since absolutely everyone is desperate for human connection, and it’s either this or resort to sitting by yourself eating the dusty pieces from your now-unplayable game collection. Board Game Arena, for instance, currently requires you to sign up for a (free) account in order to view most pages. If you’re having a hard time getting a game to load, we recommend trying another site, or holding your game sessions in the dead of night to avoid traffic. If you’ve got a specific board game in mind but don’t know where you can play it online, this list of games is a very comprehensive resource for finding places to play.
We hope everyone’s staying safe, and looking after yourselves and others during these stressful times. While LockHouse is currently closed, we’ll be keeping up a series of blog posts on all things escape rooms, board games, tabletop RPGs, media recs, and more. Read all our LockHouse Lockdown content here. Plus keep an eye on our Facebook for everything from updates to brainteasers!