Explore Virtual Game Nights

No Symbol over Adults Playing GamesMany of us are getting out a little more, doing a few things we haven’t done in what seems like ages. However, getting together with a bunch of people for hours to play games isn’t on the list yet. Let’s explore ways you can get that face-to-face “Game Night” feeling while being safely distanced from other players.

Online Game Options

Online game sites like Board Game Arena and  Tabletopia allow you to play games on the screen with real people. You can play in real time or take turns at your leisure. Most of the platforms have software that increases the difficulty to fit the players ability. A couple of easiest sites to get into are Yucata and Boiteajeux. They don’t have as many customizing options but still allow for hours of play. 

Sites like PCGamesn, which has many free offerings, and Renegade Games Studio provide ways for RPG (Role Playing Game) players to create their adventures online. Roll20 is a helpful for managing the dice rolls. The games play like “Dungeons and Dragons” but with a variety of settings and activities. If you’re into Magic: The Gathering but not actually gathering to play, check out the Magic Arena for live play options.

Sites like Tabletop Simulator allow for some chat and a lot of creativity on the part of the players. However, like Tabletopia the learning curve is pretty steep. Many virtual board game groups use Jack Box. You have to buy a set of games but they are not expensive. Jack Box has a good variety and the games are easy to use. Most platforms only have one person pay the Premium or buy the game, then they can invite people to play along. Using these sites alone can be fun and some interaction is possible. Using a program like Discord to interject audio or video chat can give your game the interaction that makes it more fun. Other chat options like Zoom or Google Hangouts can even work on your smart phone. 

Take “Real” Games Online

If you want to get more “social” into your game, set up a real board or card game using Zoom. It takes more thought and planning by the host but there’s nothing like seeing and hearing the players live. Choosing a “real” game from your collection can be tricky. Games with secret information or a pool of cards that must be drawn don’t work. How it will look on the screen is important too. Sometimes the host has to roll all the dice, choose cards or do other things the players would normally do themselves.

Here are some hints to help you choose. Almost any trivia or quiz game can work as long as everybody’s OK with the person who owns the game reading all the questions. Rules can be modified to account for “secret” information as long as it’s not like “Clue” where that’s the whole point! Secret bids or guesses work since you write them down and show them to everyone anyway. With a little ingenuity you can find a way to play some of your favorites. Fun can be had with paper and pencil games like Battleships, Hangman or Second Chance, a flip and write game, using graph paper.

Play With Us

Check out out Virtual Play It Again! event coming up Sat, Aug 8. We’ll start at 2pm and play a variety of “real” games using Zoom including a board game, question game and at least one Flip and Write. If the group is up for it we can explore some of the online game sites mentioned above. 

For future fun watch the library events calendar for monthly Virtual Play It Again! Follow us on Facebook  or Twitter for more info about all things library. The library’s YouTube channel is full of fun ideas for the whole family.

For some old school enjoyment try these books to learn more about games, gamers and family fun.

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Jayme Lyons has worked in the library Bookmobile department for 20 years. Her energetic style and deep desire to connect with others helps her bring her subjects to life.