With many cities and communities practicing “social distancing”, game nights have changed drastically for many of us. In this article, we’re going to share some of the games we have really enjoyed playing on the digital tabletop platforms that are available.
Board Game Arena is a community-built gaming website. It features many popular games on the site that you can play for free, while others are only accessible through a premium membership that costs $24 a year.
You see the fancy physics engines or graphics of Tabletopia or Tabletop Simulator. Instead, you’ll be playing on two-dimensional boards that usually incorporate the artwork from your favorite games. And while it may not look as good, one big advantage that has Board Game Arena has over other online offerings is that the games are scripted. This means that the game is programmed to know the rules for you. You won’t have to worry about rules that you might forget or anyone cheating – the game is going to manage that for you.
It’s a friendly community, and we’ve all had a lot of fun on the site. If you’re looking for a place to get started, here are some games we would recommend.
I’m a big fan of Dice Forge. This dice modifying game is still a hit in our home. The advantage of playing this on Board Game Arena has to be the fact that there is no setup and breakdown. All the tiny die faces you have to deal with aren’t an issue because it’s all digital. The gameplay is smooth and your options are clearly presented. I even enjoy playing this as a turn-based game, meaning that players can take turns whenever they want.
The King’s Guild
I had never heard of this game before I saw it advertised on BGA. I was intrigued by the description, and after playing a game, I soon began to sings its praises. I begged other people to come play it with me, and so far everyone else seems to agree that it’s a solid tile.
There’s a bit too much going on in the game to get into detail here, but basically you’ll be resource and set collecting, tile placing, and even doing a little engine building. The King’s Guild is a little on the heavier side, and you might need to play one game all the way through to really get the hang of it. But it’s good. I mean, I wrote a review about it, and I’ve never even seen a published copy of the game. So if it sounds interesting at all, give it a shot.
You know what you might be really wanting to do while you’re stuck indoors? Farm! Luckily you can do just that in La Granja. This 2014 game from Spielworxx is all about planning. You have a ton of options on every turn, but you can only do a few of the things you want to do. You’ll need to properly expand your fields, grow your delivery capacity, set up deliveries for yourself, or hire workers who will make your life so much easier. But you’ll also need to buy things! Like pigs! And sell things at the market!
There’s a lot going on, but one thing I really like about the BGA version of this game is that it allows players to take simultaneous actions during some parts of each round. This really helps to keep turn-based games from dragging on for days.
If you’re looking for a meatier digital game experience, this is one I would recommend.
Clans of Caledonia
Economic games set in 19th century Scotland usually aren’t my jam but Clans of Caledonia sunk its hooks in deep when our friend Seth showed us the game. You choose a Scottish clan that have asymmetric abilities to start the game. You can raise sheep and cattle, grow wheat and send your people out to chop wood as you progress through the game. Selling the resources you get can earn your clan money but the big bucks are in producing refined goods like bread, cheese and whisky.
Board Game Arena makes a game like this easy to jump into without dealing with a table full of tokens, cubes and cardboard. There are lots of ways to gain victory points and gains goods and I come into this game changing up my strategy each time. While this isn’t a game that would get a lot of play within my family, I love that I can play it with friends online.
If I’m wanting a quick board gaming fix, this is where I go. Can’t Stop is all about pressing your luck, all while rolling dice. You are trying to roll numbers repeatedly to move up each number’s track. On a turn, you can move up on 3 tracks at once. However, if you ever roll the dice and can’t make one of your three numbers, your turn is over and you lose all of your progress!
This is definitely my favorite game on BGA, because it’s quick and has just enough strategy to keep me interested. As you play more and more, you’ll pick up on subtle nuances to the game that make it more than just lucky guessing. I’ve played 55 games of Can’t Stop in the past few months, and I don’t think I’ll be slowing down any time soon.
A Bonus: Rallyman GT
At the time of this article, Rallyman GT had just been released on Board Game Arena. While it’s still technically in beta, Rallyman GT is a fantastic game on this platform. The game has been a big hit for all of us here and is something we’re making time to play together at night. With lots of board configurations, Rallyman GT is an excellent option to play with friends. Dice placement and rolls are simplified as you try to race past your opponent. Having this game on Board Game Arena has actually made us want to purchase a physical version even more.
If you have any games that you’ve been playing over and over again, let us know in the comments!