What's the best way of moving the club meetings online?
The social distancing measures to tackle Covid-19 mean that we probably can't hold the next few club meetings face-to-face as we normally would. But we all still want to play games, and that includes the social interaction that comes with them. That means we're planning to hold our next meeting, on 4 April, online.
That's where you come in! Please share your experiences of what works, what doesn't, and what we should try. Either comment below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
These seem to be the largest platforms, but BoardGameGeek has a large list of many, many options.
Steam is a general-purpose platform for online games. You install the (free) Steam client program on your PC or tablet, and then you buy, install, and play games using that. The advantage of Steam is that it runs on many devices, so you can play your games wherever's convenient for you.
Tabletop simulator on Steam
Tabletop Simulator is a generic game-playing "platform". Everyone would need their own copy installed on their PC or tablet. There are several games that run on top of the simulator. It looks like one person needs to buy the game and can invite the other players to join them.
Tabletop simulator has a voice and text chat facility, so people can communicate during the game.
Individual board games on Steam (a list and another list)
There are several Similar to the use of Tabletop simulator, someone would buy the game and then invite others to join in. Most of the games have a some voice and text chat facility.
You can also play games in your browser without having to download anything. There are a couple of options I've found quickly. Both seem to offer a mix of free play and paid plans.
Board Game Arena
Board Game Arena seems to be a purely online game site that is paid purely in the browser. From what I can tell, one premium member can host a game and invite others. It looks like it has text chat, but no voice options.
Tabletopia is another website that offers in-browser games. You can play limited selection of games for free; a US$5 monthly fee allows you to play more games, a US$10 monthly fee allows you to invite free-tier members to join your games. Tabletopia also seems to have an app you can download on Steam and other devices.
A key thing that makes games fun is the chat and other interaction with the people playing the game (and that's not just how my moves affect yours). Many of the platforms above support a chat function, whether its text-only, voice, or video. If a game doesn't support it, we can always have a side channel for interaction. There are many options, including Discord and Google Hangouts.
Organising games and gamers
Another challenge is matching people and games. There are a few ways we could do this: loads of messages in our Facebook group, via a Discord server, or by people putting their names down in a shared Google spreadsheet.
I favour the shared spreadsheet, simply because it's the easiest for people to use. But what do you think?