Online board games to play with faraway friends.
February 18, 2014 4:42 PM   Subscribe

After geeking out about board games with some distant friends on Twitter, we came to a decision that we would like to play one together upon occasion using our computers. But there are a few problems with that. Snowflakes inside!

Out of all of us, I seem to have more board game experience, mostly Eurogames like Settlers of Catan, etc. One friend in Wales likes Dominion, one friend in London likes Cheapass games, and the friend in Boston has only ever played CAH and Apples to Apples.

So ideally I'd like to find a game that:

* is fun for all levels and doesn't have too much of a steep learning curve
* can be played online
* preferably free
* and is compatible with Chromebook for the Boston player

I'm being told you can't really create a private online game for four players, but maybe some of you out there can help me figure out what we can play. Hope me, Hivemind!
posted by Kitteh to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, I'd also like to add that I am the only one of us with an iPad so that option is out too.
posted by Kitteh at 4:51 PM on February 18, 2014

Some options from BoardGameArena should work.
posted by michaelh at 5:20 PM on February 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

You mention Dominion, which has a decent online version. The base game is free, the expansions are buy on sets--the person hosting the game can buy the set and then play it with others. Not sure about Chromebook capabilities but it might work out okay. You should be able to make a game with just the four of you.
posted by foxfirefey at 5:29 PM on February 18, 2014

Isotropic used to host the One True Dominion. Now, it hosts a nice version of Innovation.
posted by zscore at 6:12 PM on February 18, 2014

You can play private games of Cards Against Humanity
posted by kagredon at 6:18 PM on February 18, 2014

Although Games By Email is down at the moment, it's a lot of fun. Their implementation of Axis and Allies (called WWII) is excellent.

Brettspeilwelt has Settlers, Carcassonne, Puerto Rico, and quite a few others.
posted by stungeye at 6:40 PM on February 18, 2014

I'm not familiar with Chromebooks, so maybe this is out, but VASSAL sounds like exactly what you're looking for. Hundreds of games, playable either live online or via asynchronous email.

Game Table Online is another option, which I believe is entirely web-based.
posted by jbickers at 5:35 AM on February 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not a game, per se, but depending on what game you go with and your relative levels of engagement, a night's gaming can be significantly livened up if you have a group voice/video feed going at the same time -- skype, google hangout, what-have-you. Feels a lot friendlier than in-game chat.
posted by cjelli at 8:45 AM on February 19, 2014

I play a lot of Euro games on-line through two different websites. Both are free and only require a browser with java script. Both allow you to set up private games and each has dozens of games available to try. (German/English) (French/English)

I'm Wolffauer on both systems if you have questions.
posted by MikeKn at 10:25 AM on February 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

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