Although online games exclude physical interaction – sorry you won’t have the chance to slap the rascal who outplayed you or, at worst, flip the table if the results turn out to be extremely unsatisfying, but there’s still a bunch of cool features worth considering. If you’ve ever felt the pain of losing a crucial game piece or a card meaning the game was over till the next cleanup under the sofa, rest assured it will never happen online. Moreover, such board games are easier to set up, and the scoring here is automated – good news for inattentive players. Needless to say, it’s quite easy to arrange the meeting online: no more acting like a perfect host, who would feverishly serve snacks and die tidying up the apartment. Online games are also merciful for lonely rangers (or for an insufficient number of players), offering random teams or artificial intelligence to play against.
I hope this conviction made you change your mind if only for a while and give it a try, so heat up your PCs, and let’s get digital!
The Settlers of Catan
- Players: 3-4
- Price: Free
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020, this famous German game is here to reveal your conqueror ambitions. Welcome to Catan, an inhabited island abundant with natural resources, waiting for nothing but to be settled on. Although in reality it’s just a set of hexagonal terrain tiles, where pieces of plastic are your only possession, don’t grow cold on it just yet – this game is iconic and Catan Championships held all over the world are the best proof of this. Build roads and cities, acquire resources, trade with your fellow players to get points, and get proprietorship over the desired land. Sounds easy? Well, it usually takes about 1,5 hours of hard-fought competition to finish the game. From the very first move of placing your settlement on the crossroads of the most wanted assets to trading with your rivals, that’s where tactical thinking comes in handy.
You can play The Settlers of Catan for free online or download it onto your mobile devices from its official website. Don’t forget to sign up to be able to invite your friends to a multiplayer game!
- Players: 2-8
- Price: Free
What about testing your secret connection? Codenames is a game of two teams facing a word grid. From now on, you’re a spymaster, whose assignment is to lead their field operatives to victory by making them guess which words from the map card belong to their team. Guide them carefully by delivering single-word clues for a named number of associations. Connecting clues is complicated by the fact you have to avoid alluding to the options of the opposing team and neutral cards and mainly stay away from the Assassin card, which ends the game immediately when revealed.
A simple game set makes it perfect for playing online, just click here to start. All you need is to create a room and invite your friends by sharing the link. I’d also recommend making a video conference for trying to give hints with your facial expressions – I promise it works out sometimes.
Cards Against Humanity
- Players: 3-20
- Price: Free
Our next option is no stranger to friends’ gatherings. Creators of this masterpiece are calling it a party game for horrible people and they mean it. The rules are simple: complete fill-in-the-blank statements using picaresque or ambiguous phrases printed on the playing cards. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card. Finding the most ridiculous matches to make people around (including you) feel awkward or burst into laughter is a surefire way to win the day and gain a reputation of a reckless prankster.
The online game is no worse than its tangible version and even offers more options to try! Play it for free at Pretend You’re Xyzzy (NSFW content included). If you're looking for a family-friendly version of this game, try Apples to Apples at Wordner.
- Players: 3-6
- Price: Free
Сontinuing a list of games for fans of creativity, Dixit is a perfect choice to boost up your imagination. Unlike the option above, it excludes ambiguity or awkwardness – presenting you instead with soft storytelling and waves of inspiration. Choose one of your cards and propose an appropriate theme so that other players can find something corresponding among their pictures. Then the cards are shuffled and revealed. Be careful with intricaсies – if no one guesses your picture you get zero points. One feature I like about this game is the card design – illustrations are so nice and cozy that all you think about when you see them is buying this game just to hang those cards on the wall.
Follow the link to try the free digital version of Dixit.
- Players: Depending on the game
- Price: $19,99
Last but not least, an offer for true bazillionaires who are ready to spend money on online games. Frankly speaking, the price is a trifle considering the quality and the number of games available. Think of it as an investment in many nights of fun. Tabletop Simulator is the closest thing to real board games, as you can manually move game cards and pieces on a virtual table. Good news – you can even flip the table without any consequences to your apartment or the people around you! There are a lot of controls to learn to move freely, but once you get it, you’ll feel nothing but pride and joy. The best thing is that the simulator is stuffed with official and fan-made mods of various games. From chess and poker to Munchkin, you’re limited only by your knowledge of the immense board game universe.
You can download it on Steam.
Craving to find out more about the video gaming world? Read our article on what games to play in self-isolation and check out our guides to the next generation of consoles and the most anticipated releases of fall-winter 2020.