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Board games in the time of social distancing
« on: July 15, 2020, 10:46:22 am »
So I know a lot of people aren't into video games, but do enjoy card and board games. Many of those are feeling restricted by the current efforts to contain the pandemic. But there are solutions, many of which have actually existed for a while. Here are the ones I know about:

Tabletopia https://tabletopia.com/: This is one of those services where they have a crappy free level and a slightly better subscription model. There are a number of games, but it is limited to the games officially licensed through them. I have tried it once, and found it fiddly (the common theme with these sites is mimicking the physical play actions) and buggy, and utterly not worth a subscription fee (REQUIRED to even start a game).

Board Game Arena https://en.boardgamearena.com/: I haven't personally tried this one, but I've heard really good things about it. It's web-based (no installs required) and has a decent number of licensed games and I've heard it's fairly intuitive. I don't know the price model for this platform, but I know the basic stuff is free.

Tabletop Simulator https://store.steampowered.com/app/286160/Tabletop_Simulator/: this is the one I am most familiar with. It's through Steam (a free service for helping people access video games across different platforms) and requires an install, but works on different platforms (PC or Mac, for instance). It is normally $20 but Steam lets you look for sales with this, and Steam sales are EXCELLENT (this was half price through June), and you can buy 'packs' with multiple copies (to distribute with your friends or family) which are always a good deal. It is kind of fiddly, but less buggy than Tabletopia in my experience, and once you've bought the base platform, you don't have to pay monthly. They have a few dozen licensed games available, but here's the big thing that puts it head and shoulders above the others: part of their platform allows users/players to create/upload their own games. And as such, just about every board or card game that has ever existed has been created and uploaded for this platform. You have to go to the Workshop to find things, but pretty much if it's a board game, it's there. This runs into some questions about piracy/licensing, but me and my family just have a rule that we only play if at least one of the players physically owns a copy of the game (which would be like real life), so it is legal at least for us.

We could even put together a Nauvoo board game group if enough people are interested. :)
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we're brave enough to see it
If only we're brave enough to be it
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