Board games are a great way to sit down with friends and have an analog good time. But realistically, it’s sometimes hard to make that happen! Or, like me, you just wanna sit bundled in your PJs with a cup of tea and have some quiet time while also getting in a board game. Back in our gamer survey results, we looked at how people play digitally with apps – and we also had a decent amount of people respond that they play online when asking where they get together for gaming. We thought it would be useful to provide a nudge in the direction of some of these online gaming platforms in case you’d like to try them out – and in addition to that nudge, a little helpful basic info on getting started on each of those sites.
Board Game Arena (BGA) is the main site to visit if you’d like to play in real-time rather than turn-based for games – however, both are available! There is quite a community structure to BGA – you can take part as much or as little as you like, but the main influence this will have is on you starting up on the site. You will have to get to ‘Angel’ level to start games, as well as speak on the general channel – this means getting 3 positive ratings (thumbs up from fellow players) as well as 3 games played and having had an account for 3 days.
Here’s the basics for navigating around BGA (account required to play):
Yucata.de (Yucata) is the other online gaming site with an enormous list of games to choose from, and it differs from BGA in that it offers turn-based play only. While there are discussion forums, the level of community is not quite as extensive as over at BGA either. However, you can add friends and maintain a profile with personal/game preference information here.
Here’s the basics for navigating around Yucata (although guest status is offered to try games, accounts are required to play):
Friend of the DWP and Meeples Included contributor, Nikolas Co, has a few great tutorial videos on using Yucata to create and join games over here – check it out!
Boîte à Jeux (BAJ) is another turn-based game site, and although the selection of games is smaller, it still offers some great choices. Much of the site and community are primarily French-language, but English translations are offered on the main and all game pages, so don’t let it stop you if you’re not multi-lingual!
Here’s the basics for navigating around BAJ (account required to play):
BrettSpielWelt (BSW) is a primarily German language site with a decent catalogue of games, offered to play turn-based. You are able to select English as a language, but I do find that parts of the site will still remain German – this means that while there are times I’ll check out BSW for a game, it’s low on the list of my favoured hosts. In addition it tends to run smoother by downloading a client, but you can access via a browser like all of the above sites.
Here’s the basics of navigating around BSW (account required to play):
To finish up, I’d like to mention a couple of other platforms offering online play for board games, but aren’t quite so easy to provide a quick basic summary of. The first is Tabletop Simulator (TTS), available via Steam. TTS allows players to create their own games, but there are also officially licensed games available for purchase through Steam (currently just shy of 20, but I’m sure this is growing) – all games are managed by players, rather than AI like the sites above. The other more involved platform for play is Tabletopia – this project was Kickstarted last year, and is currently running as a browser platform (although a Steam app and other mobile apps are in the works). Using Unity, Tabletopia provides pre-set games to play without an AI to manage the rules and progress for you – so, like TTS, it’s more like sitting down around a table with friends to play a game that you all interact with specifically. Tabletopia are working with publishers to bring approved content to the platform, and they also offer ways for designers to put together prototypes for testing via the site. These two platforms are fantastic, advanced ways for folks to game together online. With these, and all of the above sites, I hope you’re able to sit down and play a game with friends whenever and wherever you can!