Board Gaming in the 21st Century with Virtual Game Nights
There’s a lot of things that we’re missing with social distancing and stay at home orders. Even though those orders are lifting in some places, the way we do things has had a major shift. One thing many of us geeks are missing is game night. And a small semblance of “normal” could go a long way right now. Enter Tabletop Simulator.
What is it?
Tabletop Simulator is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a virtual tabletop where gamers can connect from all around the world to play anything from checkers to D&D. The Tabletop Simulator Community has done a fantastic job of translating all sorts of games into this virtual space. There is a vast library of games to choose from and if you’re feeling creative it can even be a space for you to develop your own game.
Don’t have a group already? That’s okay!
If you don’t already have a gaming group you can start a game on Tabletop Simulator and open it up to the community to fill spots at the table. This is a great way to meet other that are into the games you like. As always, stay safe while interacting with people you don’t know online and don’t share your personal information.
Something Tabletop Simulator offers that traditional gaming doesn’t is scripted games. Some games have things like point tallying and card dealing built into the way the game works. Things like board setup and counting points during games is easy so you can spend more time playing and less times reading the rule book and making sure everything is in the right place.
This scripted gaming function also makes it much easier to introduce new players to a game. Everyone can pick up the rule book at the same time for reference and it takes some of the guess work out of it so new players have more time to focus on learning the ropes.
There are many silver linings to virtual gaming. One benefit is that you’re never missing pieces, and if you have small children or pets you don’t have to worry about a runaway dice roll turning into a race to find it before it goes into curious little mouth.
Another cool perk is that you don’t have to worry about anyone peeking at your cards. Each player has a place on the board where they can keep things that they don’t want anyone else to look at. So take that bathroom break with the assurance that no one will know you’re holding onto 5 draw fours!
By far, one of the most amusing parts of Tabletop Simulator is the “Table Flip” feature. In my gaming group we usually reserve it for the person that got the most abuse from the other players. If you had resources stolen throughout that game of Settlers of Catan and the robber ALWAYS seemed to be on one of your tiles, fear not. Maybe your friends will let you flip the game table after the points are tallied. And in the case someone rages and does it in the middle of the game, don’t worry. You can rewind time a bit and have the board reset to where it was before the “incident”.
I have friends that live in across town and in other states, and this game has made it possible for us to game together. We get on a group voice or video call alongside Tabletop Simulator and it works really well. While there’s always the annoying headphone issue or the occasional internet hiccup it’s been something I really look forward to. Even after everything goes back to “normal” this will be a routine part for our circle of friends. I have even been toying with the idea of DMing for the first time with the help of Tabletop Simulator.
At the end of the day…
Tabletop Simulator won’t replace having your favorite people in a room sharing snacks and stories while praying to the board game gods to bless your next dice roll, but it does offer a new way to play. And I only see this way of playing growing in popularity. Not only does it connect people from everywhere to enjoy games they love, but it bring much needed community to a situation that can be lonely.
Let us know about other ways you’re keeping your game nights alive during social distancing let us know. If you’re already use Tabletop Simulator and know a game we should try hit us up on our social media pages. Stay safe and healthy!