How the Hell Can You Play Boardgames in Lockdown?
Lockdowns have driven hordes of tabletop gamers back into their homes and into solo or dual-gaming territory. Though there are many fine games to play with just one other, the group experience can often be missed as we wait out the days before we can see eachother in person again.
Luckily, there are a few ways you can still enjoy game nights with your friends and family, no matter how distant you are, or whether you prefer your gaming online or offline:
An amazing platform that allows anyone to log into virtual tabletop rooms anytime, without downloading a thing. And best of all, for players, its free!
Half-Monster started uploading our games to Tabletopia's digital tabletops when COVID first hit in 2019. We were deep into the development of Xenohunters, and at the critical stage of playtesting where you really want to hunt down as many bugs as you can before ordering manufacturer samples and building crowdfunding campaign pages. Tabletopia allowed us to essentially continue business as usual in the testing department, with the incredible Cassie from Katzenspiel Solutions recreating our games beautifully. Since then, our games have gained 1000's of hours of playtime (Trust Me I'm a Doctor is up to 31 THOUSAND hours played), we think people love this style of play even while you can't go outside.
We even do some of our product photography in Tabletopia, because they end up looking so good!
Check it out here, its free to try any game, and there are also premium versions available of many famous games:
2. Print and Play Games
Whether its A4 sheets printed on your home printer and cut up by hand, like the ones our designer Jack works on at QUT (acems.org.au/games), or professionally printed and mailed versions of various games by places like Print&Play (https://www.printplaygames.com), games that are printed on sheets of paper and assembled are an easy, affordable, and fast way to get some gaming goodness into your home. The range of games as well is astonishing. Even though you can turn literally any idea into a game, you can't necessarily turn every idea into a product that can go on shelves. Print and Play gaming is where a lot of designers flex their creative muscles and make weird and wonderful things that might not work at large scales, but will tickle the fancy of many many folks. You'll surely find some gems out there. Just search Print and Play and any other word or theme into google and you'll get some cool things.
3. Tabletop Simulator
This is generally seen in the gaming community as the more "premium" option to Tabletopia, as you need to login to Steam and pay around $20AUD to download and play. Your computer doesn't need to be stellar, however, and for the tools and ease of use it provides, it can be well worth it if you're planning to do lots of tabletop gaming during lockdown. It also has a huge range of automations that allow for things like shuffling, physics puzzles, pack up and pack down, and so on to be implemented extremely easily. Well worth checking out and trying, and they do regular 50% off sales so its around $10 if you can spare!
Shut Up and Sit Down, an amazing British boardgame review channel, created an excellent How to Use Tabletop Simulator video that explains how it works far better than we could, so I'll put that here for your informative pleasure.
There are many more ways out there, from Google Slides (trust us, we've done it!) to Roll20, which is all about DND and other tabletop roleplaying games, but this set of ideas should help you get started and stay sane during these crazy lockdown times.
You can grab Tabletop Simulator on Steam here: Steam Linky Link
Stay safe out there, and game on!