Extenuating circumstances have made playing board games with others difficult. Steff and I still gather around our coffee table to play here-and-there, but we haven’t shared a table with others to play board games with since before the pandemic hit.
During this time of social distance, I’ve turned to Board Game Arena for my tabletop gaming fix.
Created in 2010, Board Game Arena is a website where players from around the world can play dozens of different games with one-another. Some old school classics such as Yahtzee and Connect Four are here, but its biggest draw are its digital adaptations of more modern games. For the Board Game Geek in me, it’s a place where I can play games like Carcassonne, Lost Cities, Splendor, and many more of my favourites with friends and strangers (if I so choose). New games are being added regularly, which makes the service even more tantalizing.
With a free account, you can join public lobbies or lobbies hosted by your friends. If you want to host, you’ll need to pay for a subscription. Not sure what the pricing is in USD, but I pay about $35 CAD/year for access to everything. Even though I’ve only had the subscription for a few months, it’s proven to be an invaluable investment.
Every Thursday night, my family hosts a game night. Oftentimes, we’re on Board Game Arena while chatting with one-another through Discord. If we wanted to, we could even text chat or voice chat within Board Game Arena.
Though we usually play live, the service does allow for turn-based games where players can take their turn when they’re available. This allows me and others to passively play games together. As of writing, I have multiple games of Yahtzee and Splendor going with my wife and friends from far away.
It will be a little while longer before we can all gather around a table to play board games together. For now, Board Game Arena has proven to be a great alternative. Even relative to other digital releases of games, this option allows us to play many different games in one space with only one member having to pay. Based on the value I get from it, I’m more than happy to continue my subscription. Game on!4
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