I'm a big fan of board games, but could online board games ever come close to the real thing?
Playing board games on a regular basis has been an important part of my social life for the past few years. Of course, lockdown put all of that on hold. I had never tried online board games before, and I felt sceptical. How could they come close to the interaction and the tactile pleasure of a really well-made game?
After the first round of video calls to friends had been done, and unsurprisingly, none of us had any news or anything interesting to talk about, online board games seemed worth a try. First with Tabletopia, and then with Board Game Arena.
To my surprise, they were both great! As well as an alternative way to play well-known or familiar games, they introduced a whole series of new games none of my friends had tried. The interfaces worked well (most of the time) and there weren't too many arguments about who should have won!
The most important part of the games was the regular space it created for me and my friends. We could get together on a video call, once a week or once a fortnight and have a chat and play a game or two. Sometimes, there was nothing to talk about, so we just played games and focused on something else for a while. Other times, the games were just there in the background, allowing us to continue talking and continue feeling connected throughout the lockdowns.