Saturday 27 March 2021

The Digital Game Shelf:- Still Gaming Online During Covid-19

March 23rd 2021 marked the 1 year anniversary of when the UK first went into national lockdown. We've had some brief phases of less strict rules during that time, but mostly it feels like we've not seen anyone, or got together and played games for a year at this point. At the start of the pandemic I had energy and enthusiasm which I channeled into coming up with creative ways to continue to get my physical board games to the table by playing with friends over Skype. For many weeks, I posted weekly blogs, sharing ideas for which games play well online. Over the course of a year, my enthusiasm has definitely diminished, but I am still trying to keep a regular meetup for Skype gaming with one friend and by co-workers.

Here's some highlights of the best online gaming successes we've had in the past few months!

  • Ghost Writer is an upcoming party game from Resonym games, which will be launching on Kickstarter soon. It's a word game which works best with a group of four players in the online version, or will make a team game for more players in its final, physical form. The captain of each team is the ghost, and the two team captains select one word which is the secret word for the round. The other player on each team is a psychic who asks questions to the ghost - each turn the can pick two questions to ask and the ghost picks one to answer. The ghost writes out their answer, slowly, one letter at ta time until they're asked to stop. It was a huge surprise that this game worked and was far more fun than it sounded! Both teams get to see the half written answers but you'll only know the questions for your own team, making it a really fun game of deduction, eventually allowing you to ask better questions as you zone in on what you think the secret word might be. Ghost Writer will be a great party game for people who like Decrypto and it's live on Kickstarter now!
  • MonsDRAWsity has made its way into regular rotation for Skype gaming. A friend brought it to my birthday Teams meeting and out of that, both myself and another attendee have bought copies to play over Skype with others. I've played with friend, co-workers and my parents and everyone loves it! One player needs a copy of the game and then all other players will just need to close their eyes while the active player gets shown the monster card. This game is as much about memory and describing ability as it is about your drawing ability and sometimes even the worst drawing gets voted as the closest to the original artwork because you listened carefully and really make the most of the right feature. Every game has us crying laughing and desperate to share our artwork with the world on Twitter.
  • Draftosaurus needed some adaptation to work over Skype and I've essentially created a Powerpoint that is the Draftosaurus roll and write game. Imagine that instead of drating the dinosaurs, every player is handed the same hand of 6, 5 ,4, 3, 2 and finally one dinosaur and the dice roll dictates where you can place a dinosaur each turn. Everyone is free to choose which dinosaur to pick from the handful ,so the only thing you really use is a hate drafting aspect. The game looses a bit of its fun since it's less tactile without dinosaur meeples, but overall this worked really well and everyone likes and enjoys the dinosaur theme. I played this with co-workers and my co-worker's 2-year old particularly enjoyed participating!
  • Solani is an abstract game coming to Kickstarter from Final Frontier Games. The game is all about connecting up stars in the night sky, and making sure that star clusters each have the right number of connections whilst working towards different end game scoring objectives. With a drafting mechanic to choose both connection tiles and star tiles, the game definitely has some similarities to Calico, but its far more tactical and less strategic, making it more accessible to a wider range of players. If you're looking for a new puzzly tile-laying game, then Solani is on Kickstarter now.
So far, we've managed to play 52 different games over Skype (1 new game per week!!), where either one or all households need to own the game to play. It's definitely stopped a few games from getting dusty on the shelves and I've enjoyed the creativity that we've needed to figure out what games would work well in this environment. Hopefully we don't need to do this for much longer, but I am glad to have a list of games that I can turn to to connect with people who live too far away for frequent visits. If you want to see which games we've found that work well, then we've created a Geeklist over on BoardGameGeek.


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