Twelve Board Games You Can Play With Friends From Afar

It is a truth universally acknowledged that board games are better in person. However, getting your gaming group together on a regular basis - or at all, recently - can sometimes be a frustrating & complicated affair of juggling calendars, travelling & carving out enough time to lớn play something from start to finish. Luckily, there are now hundreds of great online board games that can be played over the internet, allowing you and your group to lớn overcome some of the traditional barriers to enjoying a regular gaming session no matter how far apart you are.

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Best online board games

While board game apps offer a dedicated experience you can take with you on your phone or PC, many online board games don’t require you lớn tải về anything at all, providing a sliông chồng and polished experience you can load up in your mạng internet browser & start playing in a matter of seconds. Many also handle the hard work of remembering the rules & making it easy for new players khổng lồ join in và learn khổng lồ play. Even better, many of them are available for không tính phí, too!

Whether you’re looking lớn bring your gaming group’s favourite online during lockdown, find a new group to play with or try something you’ve yet to lớn play, these online board games will let you jump straight in and get playing.

1. Codenames

The hit word-guessing game heads online

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Codenames Online is an official version of the các buổi tiệc nhỏ game, và allows you to play with a number of its expansions và word packs.

Minesweeper meets Taboo, Codenames has become a fixture of board game collections for hobby newcomers và veterans alike since it first burst onto lớn the scene in năm ngoái. If you’ve sầu somehow missed the instant modern classic, it’s a game of picky phrasing: teams take it in turns lớn guess words on a grid of cards, guided carefully khổng lồ their hidden spies - & away from their opponents’ - by their clue-giver’s one-word hints. Trying lớn gesture at multiple answers with a single clue is key lớn winning, trying lớn find the perfect thing lớn link up “forest”, “bee” và “sun” (Nature? Flower? Yellow?) or “Olympus”, “planet” & “Big Bang” (Dòng xe Yamaha Jupiter, perhaps? Or is that too much of a stretch?).

Codenames’ simpliđô thị makes it the perfect choice for a board game khổng lồ play online, helped by the release of an official browser ứng dụng developed by creator Czech Games Edition. The không lấy phí online version includes word packs from multiple Codenames games - including two-player spin-off Duet và multiple bonus packs - & various languages, with a slichồng interface that makes tracking previous clues & the number of spies left easy. All you need is khổng lồ skết thúc your friends the links khổng lồ your room and start guessing away.

Player count: 2+

Play Codenames online at Codenames.game

2. Diplomacy

Lie to lớn your friends across the mạng internet khổng lồ conquer Europe in a strategy classic

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Backstabbr turns the hours-long strategy classic inlớn a tense online game of alliance & betrayal that can play out over days or months.

Diplomacy is a classic of the gr& strategy genre, emerging in the 1950s as a game of devious plotting and brutal betrayal. Players attempt to lead their European nation to victory by conquering the bản đồ và forming uneasy alliances to get ahead. Teaming up is necessary lớn force opponents’ units out of regions, but actions are submitted in secret and all resolved at the same time, with players promising khổng lồ help each other out one moment, only lớn turn traitor and invade them the next. No wonder it’s considered a real-life friendship-wrecker.

Lying lớn your friends for real in person - even in the context of a board game - can understandably make some feel uncomfortable. Luckily, không tính tiền browser-based Diplomacy clone Backstabbr offers a way to lớn engage with the game’s tense tactics và social strategy with an added layer of separation. The gameplay is exactly the same as on the tabletop, but players’ direct interactions are confined khổng lồ ‘press’ communications - presenting the chance to lớn lean into lớn roleplaying your early 20th-century leader & address increasingly passive-aggressive sầu missives lớn “My dear Czar”, “Fellow Europeans” or “Unwelcome neighbour”. The stretched timeframe of the online game also allows the political machinations to feel less intense, with turns playing out over days & weeks rather than minutes & hours.

Backstabbr offers a way for more people khổng lồ experience a timeless classic with some of its pricklier aspects softened - just enough khổng lồ make it fun rather than infuriating, anyway. The social strategy epic continues to stand up as a board game lượt thích no other, và its online counterpart might well be the best way lớn play today.

Player count: 2-7

Play Diplomacy online at Backstabbr.com

3. Drawphone

Draw và guess your way lớn sidesplitting miscommunication in this Telestrations-a-like

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Drawphone is Telestrations in all but name, as players draw & guess at their friends" doodles.

Online board game library Rocketcrab brings together a number of popular buổi tiệc ngọt games in mobile-friendly form, offering a browser-based hub for favourites from social deduction game Spyfall khổng lồ third-các buổi party spins on group games Wavelength and Just One.

One of the standout games available lớn play for free is Drawphone, a game similar lớn hit board game Telestrations - itself based on the delightfully-titled public domain name game Eat Poop You Cat. True khổng lồ its name, Drawphone plays like a game of Telephone, but with drawings: each player draws something, then passes the ‘paper’ lớn their virtual neighbour, who guesses what the previous person drew, before the guess becomes the clue for the next doodler - và so on until everyone has contributed lớn the chain of pictures & guesses.

With no real points on offer, the reward is seeing how cthất bại (or far) the final guess came to lớn the original prompt. Not particularly, as it often turns out - which makes the compounded misunderstandings và misinterpretations even funnier.

Player count: 4+

Play Drawphone online at Rocketcrab.com

4. Catan Universe

Settle an island while surfing the web

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Catung Universe offers an online board game version of the classic trading title.

Cachảy is everywhere, from official shoes và notably-less-official beer cans khổng lồ the tables of Hollywood stars và (at some point) even the silver screen. It’s only natural, then, that the board game classic has a firm presence on the mạng internet, too.

Cachảy Universe brings Klaus Teuber’s trading-and-building hit to lớn PC và phones as an tiện ích that replicates the original Cachảy, as well as several of its many expansions from the last 25-plus years & even some quality variants.

Players can challenge their human friends or AI opponents lớn games, with the không lấy phí version of the online board game offering a tutorial, up khổng lồ three-player matches and access to Catung thẻ game The Duel.

Cachảy remains a steadfast game for those new to the hobby for a reason - và its digital version makes enjoying the classic whether you’re new or have sầu been playing for decades a cinch.

Player count: 3-4

Play Carã online at Catan Universe

5. Android: Netrunner

An online rebirth for the beloved living card game

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Jinteki offers a way to play Android: Netrunner online and demo out its various cards & decks.

Android: Netrunner has had a heông chồng of an afterlife. Despite the beloved living thẻ game about hackers & the megacorporation systems they craông xã into being officially cancelled in late 2018, it’s managed khổng lồ live on in physical size thanks to lớn community-led Project NISEI và in suitability digital fashion with online version Jinteki.

Jinteki offers up Netrunner’s full catalogue of cards for players to lớn build digital decks and try out in two-player matches, as well as in a selection of different formats available via the browser-based phầm mềm.

While Jinteki’s online interface and deông xã construction tool means that it’s best for Android: Netrunner players who are already familiar with the thẻ game, it also offers a chance for those who missed the chance to play the game in person to find players khổng lồ take on và learn how lớn play.

Player count: 2

Play Android: Netrunner online at Jinteki.net.

6. Dominion

Deckbuilding goes digital

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Dominion was the first deckbuilder, but it still holds up over a decade later - as this online version proves.

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The original deckbuilder - & still able to hold its own against many newer entries in the genre it spawned - Dominion starts players with a small stack of cards và allows them lớn build up their deông xã by acquiring new cards each turn, which are added to lớn their discard pile & eventually cycle baông chồng around inkhổng lồ their hand.

It’s a game of constant momentum, as you build up your stock of more powerful cards khổng lồ acquire more points and more currency in order to lớn acquire more powerful cards… & so on. Part of the appeal of Dominion - & the many, many expansions released for Donald X. Vaccarino’s influential core game since 2008 - is the ability to lớn combine together a different selection of cards each game, both in the shared marketplace và in your own deông chồng, offering huge amounts of customisation & replayability each time you play.

Dominion’s online counterpart offers the base set for không tính tiền - itself featuring enough cards khổng lồ mix-and-match for hours of varied gameplay - but also presents the chance to lớn experiment with more than a dozen of the game’s expansions for a relatively small monthly subscription fee. There’s the chance khổng lồ look through a card database & mark up cards you’re familiar with, or particularly like or dislike, & create custom tables with friends or take on strangers across the internet.

Like Dominion itself, the online board isn’t most flashy of experiences, but it offers a thoroughly solid digital version of a game that continues to lớn stvà the demo of time. Whether you’re dipping into lớn deckbuilders for the first time or looking khổng lồ return to lớn a classic, it’s a great way khổng lồ play.

Player count: 2-6

Play Dominion online at Dominion.games

7. Keyforge

An unofficial way to lớn play the unique deông chồng game online

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The Crucible Online allows players khổng lồ import their physical Keyforge decks registered in the Master Vault phầm mềm & use them in the online board game.

While Keyforge may not be as big a name as designer Richard Garfield’s other competitive sầu thẻ games - Magic: The Gathering and Netrunner - it’s no less groundbreaking. Handing every player a set of cards picked by an algorithm to ensure that no two decks in the world are alike, the ‘unique deông xã game’ sees players race to lớn forge three keys by collecting Æmber & slowing their opponent down by attacking their monsters & using special abilities.

Alongside its clever decks - which can’t be customised or changed, to ensure their one-of-a-kind nature - Keyforge offers a smart way of allowing players to always vì something on their turn. Each deông xã is made up of three houses, or factions. On their turn, each player chooses one house & can play as many cards as they lượt thích from that faction - rather than having khổng lồ spover mamãng cầu or another limited resource as in other card games. As such, Keyforge is a game where you can always vị something lớn try và win, rather than sitting by and waiting for the right thẻ draw.

The Crucible Online offers an unofficial online version of Keyforge that can be played in your browser against other people from around the world. The tiện ích features the ability lớn import decks you have registered on Fantasy Flight Games’ official Master Vault ứng dụng to try them out online, as well as the option for different formats or lớn spectate other players’ games and piông chồng up some tactics. While it’s a fan-made offering, it’s fully-featured, capably bringing the thẻ game online.

Player count: 2

Play Keyforge online at The Crucible Online

8. Secret Hitler

The social deduction hit sneaks its way online

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The liberals must weed the fascists - and their hidden leader - from the government of 1930s Germany before it"s too late.

While Secret Hitler’s pseudo-historical framing of pre-WWII Germany may not be for everyone, there’s no doubting that the game of liberals và fascists battling over legislation - while trying khổng lồ assassinate or accelerate the rise of the evil dictator - is one of the best social deduction games in years.

The two factions vote to lớn pass or reject various laws, with the liberals trying khổng lồ weed the hidden fascists from their ranks before they can gain too much power và bring Hitler lớn power. With two players elected chancellor and president each round, the table is set for heated debate và speculation over who voted for or against fascist policies. Making it harder are governmental powers that the fascists will be able to lớn deploy as they gain strength, with the liberals trying to clalặng their own dominance by passing their laws first - or taking Hitler out khổng lồ halternative text the threat.

The browser-based Secret Hitler offers a simple way of playing the game over the mạng internet. With most of the focus on discussion, the website provides the game boards that track each faction’s standing và any available presidential powers, as well as automating parts of cài đặt and round gameplay. Whether you’re jumping into lớn a game with strangers or just looking for a way to lớn play with friends when you can’t be together, it’s an effective sầu way or bringing the debate và discussion online.

Player count: 5-10

Play Secret Hitler online at Secrethitler.io

9. Forgotten Waters

Play your copy of the pirate board game across the waves

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Forgotten Waters" remote assistant pairs with its web-based companion ứng dụng to lớn allow players to lớn play their physical copy over the internet.

While different in nature lớn the other online board games listed above sầu, Forgotten Waters deserves a place on this danh mục as one of the most impressive sầu solutions khổng lồ playing board games over the mạng internet. Whereas the games above are all standalone versions of their physical counterparts that don’t require owning the original games, Forgotten Waters offers a remote play assistant that allows a copy of the pirate board game lớn be played with other people across the internet.

The remote assistant is used in addition to Forgotten Waters’ mandatory browser-based companion app that provides randomised Crossroads events, narration & choices for players to lớn make as they sail the high seas together on a pirate ship. The remote assistant effectively proves all players with a way to trachồng their ship’s status - including available supplies, crew & hull damage - as well as replacing the flipbook used to lớn represent different locations found while exploring the world. This presents players with various actions khổng lồ take each round, sending their pirates off to explore, trade và even bởi vì battle as they progress through each scenario.

One player serves as a moderator who adjusts the various tracks và resources, while the others are able khổng lồ largely play as if they were sat in the same room. The only thing you may want lớn bởi vì is point a webcam at the bản đồ board to lớn show the ship’s current location, và each player will need a quality player sheet - which can be downloaded for không tính tiền - khổng lồ traông xã their character’s chất lượng story & traits.

Forgotten Waters’ remote assistant is an impressive sầu addition lớn an already impressive sầu experience, meaning that no matter how many oceans lie between you and your crew, you’ll be able to lớn play together over the mạng internet.

Player count: 4-7

Play Forgotten Waters online using the Remote Assistant app

10. Board trò chơi Arena/Tabletopia

Hundreds of online board games in your browser

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Tabletopia (pictured) offers a full 3D environment to lớn play games in, while Board Game Arena has a simpler but more user-friendly interface.

While we’ve listed many of the best board games available online already, there are hundreds more. Many of these can be found on two websites: Board Game Arena và Tabletopia. While the two websites are similar, they also have sầu several differences - & offer different selections of online board games - that make both worth checking out.

Board Game Aremãng cầu and Tabletopia both offer the ability to play board games in your browser without the need to download a separate tiện ích as with Tabletop Simulator. Tabletopia offers an experience more akin lớn Tabletop Simulator, presenting a virtual 3D environment in which players can freely move sầu cards, tokens and other pieces around - although that means you’ll also have to lớn vì the work of remembering the rules và playing properly yourself.

Board Game Arena, meanwhile, flattens things down to lớn a simplified interface. A major benefit is that many of the board games in its library feature automated rules that add up points for you, inkhung you what you can vày each round và stop you from accidentally (or deliberately) breaking the rules.

Both Tabletopia and Board Game Aremãng cầu have sầu large libraries of official games approved by publishers, và have sầu the option lớn play some games for không tính tiền or pay a relatively small monthly subscription khổng lồ unlock premium features. While some games work better than others, they’re one of the best ways of gaining an instant collection of online board games khổng lồ play with your friends when you can’t be together.