My friends and I enjoy board gaming because it helps us hang out without having to come up with things to talk about. We simply unfold a square of cardboard on the table, and suddenly the silences aren’t awkward anymore! Thanks to some free tabletop websites, we still play games together while social distancing, and so can you. Here are my favorites.
Board Game Arena preserves all the original artwork of fantastic games like Stone Age, Takenoko, and Hanabi. The gameplay interface is well designed, and the games actually take less time to play on here than they do in person. You can also set a time limit on turn length for the slowpokes among your group.
Diplomacy casts you and six friends as seven different nations of 1901 Europe, each scheming to control a majority of the continent. Think of it as Risk and Chess combined into one game. Diplomacy is all about making alliances and then backstabbing your way to victory. A full game can last about a month, so it's recommended for those who like a slow burn.
Roll 20 can be the new home of that Dungeons & Dragons campaign you've always wanted to start. The site has built-in audiovisual capacity, so you don't have to toggle screens between the board and a hangout app. Roll 20 has a vast library of tiles and tokens to help you build the game world. You can even upload thematic music that plays on everyone’s screens!
Those are some websites I’ve been using while sheltering in place. What games have you been playing?