Board, card and video games that will work with video chat
March 15, 2020 7:46 AM   Subscribe

My friends and I are all more or less stuck in our respective homes due to coronavirus. So, our socializing is about to drop to near zero. Part of our socializing is board and card games (mostly lighter stuff), with that mostly as an excuse to BS and drink and eat together.

For whatever reason (we’re all ~40 years old, mostly couples), none of us are really into traditional multiplayer video games, but even if we were, I’m looking for something that would sort of replicate the above hangout feel.

I’ve thought of stuff like the Jackbox games run through video conferencing on laptops plugged into a TV. I’ve tried to think of what would work if every location buying the same game (I think this would work for something like Snake Oil where you could just skip doubles). We’re not Cards Against Humanity fans, but it does feel like it would work in this situation.

Any suggestions for games, for video setups, preferred conference software, cameras, mics are very welcome. Please help us stay sane. Thank you — and stay safe, everyone.
posted by lieberschnitzel to Human Relations (9 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Tabletop Simulator! Pairs best with a voice chat of some sort. Discord and the likes work well.
posted by =d.b= at 8:04 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]

I was thinking about how we'd do this and we are fortunate enough to have a lot of devices that can video chat. So a phone pointed at each remote player's hand with mic and audio muted. A laptop with sound on that gets a wide angle of the room. Maybe the iPad focused right on the board.

On the other side, friends would use a laptop for the room, and phones to see their cards. We'll need to fashion some card holders and phone stands, but we have lots of cardboard and a love of crafting.
posted by advicepig at 8:08 AM on March 15

I can't help with the technical set up side of things, but if you think the mechanics of Cards Against Humanity would work well, there are similar games (play a set of cards and argue which is best) that may be more appealing theme wise. I hated CAH, but my group loved Superfight, where you're playing character and attribute cards to build ridiculous super fighters, then argue over who would win. They also make Red Flags, where you craft a blind date for someone. We had mixed results with that one (we had more fun once we introduced a house rule that "red flags" could be played as positive attributes, because we're the kind of people who think "is a talking tea cup" is more of a perk than "venture capitalist billionaire").
posted by nothing as something as one at 9:41 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]

If everyone has Bananagrams, that could be fun to play together. Since everyone is making their own words on their own boards, it's mostly just getting everyone to draw at the same time and showing off your cool words at the end. (We do have a house rule that you can pause play to ask for help if you get frustrating letters, that might be nice depending on varying skill levels.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:14 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes! One person is trying to defuse the bomb, everyone else has a set of instructions and is trying to communicate with the bomb-defuser (who does not have the instructions) to solve the various puzzles. Only one person would need to buy the game, though that person would need to be the one to de-fuse the bomb every time. Though you could create a Steam account and share a password, maybe?

Ticket to Ride has an online multiplayer version, though I haven't played it myself. Each person would have to buy their own copy of the game.

For traditional board games, cooperative games might be a good route. That way one person can have a copy of the game with the webcam set up to face the board, and they can draw cards/move pieces/whatever per other players' instructions. Dice can be rolled using an online roller. If people have a hand of cards the person with the game can send a picture of the hand to the appropriate person to have for reference (in games where everyone's hand is visible). Off the top of my head the only one I know is Forbidden Island, which I would recommend, but a search for cooperative board games may help you.

For software, I would suggest either using Discord or Roll20. Both allow text, voice, and video chat, plus added bonus have built in dice roller. Roll20 might be useful for physical board games, as it provides a game map and pieces. So you could upload a picture of the board (wouldn't work for Forbidden Island, as it changes a lot, but others it might) and then people could move the digital pieces on top of it. Discord would be better for video games because you can set it up to overlay on the game while you're playing.

If you want to get serious about it, get a dedicated webcam and headphones with mic built in. But you can totally use your phone as your webcam (at least in Discord), if you aren't looking to buy anything extra. If you want to be able to see all your friends, you'd probably want to pull them up on a computer, since the phone screen would be tiny. But if you are okay with just hearing friend's voices, then you could just do voice chat and only use your phone.

If you decide to use either Discord or Roll20 and have trouble setting them up, Me-mail me and I'd be happy to help troubleshoot!
posted by brook horse at 11:08 AM on March 15

Is this the right time for this? Only you can decide...

Pandemic is a great cooperative board game that could be played over Skype etc. if you planned the camera set-up carefully. If you get into it, Pandemic Legacy (in the “spin-offs” section of the article above) is lots of fun: you play a constantly-changing game of Pandemic about 12 times with the same group of players.
posted by MangoNews at 1:52 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]

Look at vassal! It has tons of real time enabled board game modules, some better than others, but really let's you play games online really well
posted by Carillon at 3:33 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]

Games with only open information and not too much of it would be playable entirely set up on one person's table while others peer in on video chat. Ghost Stories fits this bill, as does Pandemic if you play with open hands (for cooperative games). Carcasonne works as a competitive game. Splendor does as well with minor changes to the reservation rule. You could try "Memory" as a remote drinking game. Decrypto would work for couples in two locations with a tiny bit of trust to play only on camera/mic if each couple had a copy (and it's priced so that's reasonable). Wits and Wagers might work if you're willing to have one player handle all the parts and be a bit flexible with the betting round.

I'll be looking into similar options soon, but we often use dedicated board game sites. The above are all thoughts of something that might work in a chat / camera on a table type setting.
posted by meinvt at 4:02 PM on March 15

Codenames would work. Easier actually, because you could turn off your microphone to chat strategy.
posted by kjs4 at 6:07 PM on March 15

« Older What music should we discover right now?   |   Need at home project(s) or mini-challenges Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments