Don’t let the pandemic ruin your weekly board game nights. In the video above, I share some ways I’ve been playing some of my favourite board games—including RISK, Monopoly and Settlers of Catan—online.
Tabletopia has a lot going for it. The board games it supports are licensed, so they have high-quality artwork and the official rulebooks. Many of them are free to play or try, with just a few of the most popular ones locked behind the $16/month premium subscription—and only one person in your friend group needs to pay for the subscription for all of you to play the Premium games together. The interface is clean and intuitive and easily adaptable to a huge variety of games.
But the best part of Tabletopia is how simple it is to set up a lobby, invite your friends and get a game going. All the games run in your browser, so there’s nothing to install or download. It’s a seamless process.
However, while popular newer board games like Secret Hitler and Scythe are available, you’ll quickly notice some classics are missing from Tabletopia’s offerings: There’s no RISK and no Monopoly. For those, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
For a one-time purchase of $30 on Steam, Tabletop Simulator gives you access to tons of user-created board games. The best of these are amazing recreations of actual games. And yes, you’ll find both RISK and Monopoly here.
The catch here is that these are not officially-licensed titles, and the quality can vary dramatically from game to game. It all depends on the skill and effort put in by the user who created the game. Some are near-perfect recreations of the real thing. Others are ok but might have low-resolution artwork, be missing pieces or lack a rulebook. Some are buggy messes that often fail to launch properly at all. Luckily, the site’s review and 5-star rating system should help you find games worth your time.
I’ve been able to use Tabletop Simulator to play everything from Settlers of Catan to Eldritch Horror and Monopoly.
Some free options
Of course, maybe a 3-hour game of Eldritch Horror isn’t your thing and you’re just looking for a way to challenge your friends in euchre or chess. Here are several free online options for simpler games: