ETOOBUSY 🚀 minimal blogging for the impatient
A tiny recap on playing board games online.
Since before the Covid-19 lockdown, I’ve been very interested into board games online. Around 2018 I collected a few links, and I recently went through the list again.
The top place is, by all means, Board Game Arena. It was already big at the time, now it’s just huge. They have a free tier that allows playing every game, with the twist that only premium players can start some of the games.
I remember that at the time I desperately wanted to play Carcassonne and it was available there, although it was one of the premium ones and, as I recall, very popular and tricky to enter.
Another terrific website at the time was Boite a jeaux. I discovered that it means “the game box” or something like this; it has a nice selection of games, including the mithical Agricola. It was probably the first such website I discovered at the time, although I ended up not using it very much, mostly because of lack of TLS support. I would have happily spent some money to support the site, were TLS available at the time. It is very, very sad that it’s going to shut down.
Another terrific website is Yucata.de. All games are available to everyone for free and without advertising. I only played one game so far, but the experience has been good and there’s really everything that is needed, although the web site style is a tad oldish. It’s definitely worth trying other games, many of which are not available elsewhere.
If you’re into abstract and more “traditional” games, BrainKing is a good choice. It has a definitely vintage look and feel, but at the end of the day it’s functionaly and easy to use. The limit of 20 games at the same time is not restricting in my opinion, because I never arrived to this amount of tables anywhere, but your mileage may vary. An alternative web site for this kind of games is ItsYourTurn.com; another is [GoldToken], although the basic free membership comes with advertising (although I understand it’s very controlled). Last, if your thing is chess and its variants, then The Chess Variants Game Courier might be your thing.
On the other hand, if you’re into abstract and more recent games, you might want to pay MindSports a visit. I have to admit that I never played anything there, but the selection seems interesting if you’re into that type of games.
Last, I’d like to mention Mattle, a website that seems kind of legally borderline, although my understanding is that it’s ok. It re-implements the mechanics of some popular board games, with custom graphics and stating very clearly that they are not associated with the games they’re inspired to. My understanding is that, in the U.S.A., game mechanics cannot be copyrighted, so as long as you describe the rules in your own words and provide your graphics, you should be good to go. And yet… let’s just say that Seven Wonders Duel is a thing on Board Game Arena, as well as Splendor, so you might want to get the original experience.
I think it’s enought for this post, stay safe!