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Ways to Play While Social Distancing

The world has taken a stressful turn over the last couple of weeks. As hold in place orders are being placed around the world, it is important to keep everyone’s health in mind even when we want to play games. However, it is also important to keep our own mental health in check as well, and for many of us board games are a way to relieve stress.  I have not left my house since March 13th, and I am becoming very stir crazy and a little depressed honestly. Board games have always been my escape and I spent a good deal this morning thinking about games that could be played over a video conference like Zoom or Skype, or even digitally. Here are my suggestions on games that can be played from afar.

Roll and Writes

A little while ago, I was lamenting the sheer number of roll and write type games that were coming out. They seemed to dominate the market for a little while. Now, I find myself really happy I have a variety of roll and writes to play. These are amazing because most can be played over a webcam and with lots of people. Many companies even are offering printable sheets, and some companies are even running events on platforms like Facebook or Twitch. These are a great way to feel connected with gaming, but not put anyone at risk.

Role Playing Games

Another great way to connect with others over a webcam based service is by playing an RPG. These games are great because there are so many digital resources available. Even players who may not own all the supplies (such as dice, players handbooks and character sheets) can find the basics of what they need to play on an online platform. These games are all about player interaction and create a sense of community, even when you can’t meet face to face.

With the uncertainty of my school year, I intend to continue running my students’ D&D campaign after spring break digitally if we do not return to school immediately. While many of my students are new players, I will be creating a resource list for them so that they have access to dice and all the information they need to run their character. I highly suggest using zoom with Roll20 to run an effective digital campaign with maps. Otherwise, just using Skye or Zoom will work as well.

Board Game Apps

Most board games are difficult to play online due to the nature of hidden information and difficult choices to dictate over a web chat. However, this is where digital board game apps really shine. My family has always been fond of playing board game apps when we can’t meet at the table together. Some of my favorite board game apps to play include Isle of Skye, Potion Explosion, Mysterium, Lords of Waterdeep and Acension.  While gaming on an app may lack the face-to-face interaction that sitting down at a table together might have, you can still get the feeling of  camaraderie and competition from them. You could even pair this with another application like Skype or Zoom to have more interaction between players while playing.

Digital Gaming Services

Many board games do not have an associated app with them unfortunately. However, a higher percentage have a digital version available on either Table Top Simulator or Steam. For players looking to play a game that is not available as an app, consider checking one of these platforms for your favorite games. Our family loves to play Scythe, which there is no app available for yet. It is available on Steam though, and we are planning to play a game of it remotely.

If you are stuck on what to play, take a moment to search through Tabletop Simulators collection of games. While it won’t be the same as sitting down to play with your family or friends face to face, it can hopefully fill a void that games might be leaving right now.

While we are facing hard times, I hope everyone is able to find some comfort in games. It is important that we help everyone remain safe and healthy during these times. If anyone is looking for someone to play a game with on an app, please reach out to me! I would love to play some games with you and help tide the time until we can all get back to the table normally.

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