We can’t stop playing games together even if we are confined, now, can we? But, what are our options? (Apart from spawning players within your confinement, but that tends to take 7-10 years…)

This is a living post – constantly updated. (Last update 2020-09-03.)

Table of content

Video conference compatible boardgames

One of the reasons boardgames are so appealing is that it gets us away from our screens. Using video conference technologies might be the best way to play games with remote players, with the least screen nuisance. The basic idea is that one player runs the game and has the main copy of the game and others (potentially) have their own player boards etc. In theory this could work for any perfect information game – where all information is open. (Although I have heard of people playing love letter over video by holding up the cards to the active player!)




To play a board games via video conference you need, to various degrees, to be able to read/see the game, so you’ll need a more or less capable camera – depending on the game you want to play, obviously.

Video conference tool

  • Jitsi – Free, open sourced. I’ve tested it with both Welcome to… and it works great. 
  • Skype – This old dinosaur works fine, and allows video of decent quality even with free accounts.
  • Zoom – Free version only allows 40 minutes session for parties of more than 2.
  • Discord – I know this one less well, but with a bit more research maybe this could be the ideal tool…?
  • … and million other tools, I would guess… (HouseParty, FaceTime, Hangouts, WhatsApp (although small screens might be an issue?), Twitch, …)

Player sheets

Some games, random-writes in particular, only requires a player sheet (and a pencil) per player. If players don’t have the game, these would have to be distributed/downloaded beforehand.


The easiest is, obviously, if people can print what is needed.

On screen

Alternatively, you could fill in these sheets on a tablet or a computer. GIMP is an excellent, free and open sourced drawing program that and supports layers, so you can easily revert mistakes or keep a file with all games played… Another useful, free and open sourced tool tool is Inkscape.


Random-writes (or Roll/flip and writes) are probably the games in my collection that lends themselves best to a video conf setting.

Welcome to…

  • Players: 1-100 (Although there is no real limit…)
  • Age: 10+

This is one of my favorite gateway game discoveries from 2018 and, also, the first game I hosted using webcams during this lockdown…

What’s needed
  • Sheets: All players need access to the sheets of the game. They can be bought as part of the main game, as a refill, or downloaded from BoardGameGeek and printed. (There’s even a printer friendly low ink version.) When we played this some players didn’t have access to printers, but used tablets/PCs and used various paint programs. Update: There are also app versions of the score sheet available for iOS and Android as well as a PDF that you can fill electronically
  • One copy of the main game
  • The player that runs the game need a decent webcam for a video link – the others just audio.
But does it work?

Yes! The only thing lacking (with only one camera) is the ability to see how the others are faring with the common missions and how many temp workers they have used. Rumour has it that 800 people played it on TricTrac yesterday!

(This should work equally well with the game’s more… meaty… sister Welcome to New Las Vegas, I would think…)

The Castles of Burgundy - The Dice Game

  • Players: 1-5
  • Age: 10+

One of my favorite random-writes is the excellent dice version of Castles of Burgundy.

What’s needed
  • Sheets: All players need access to the sheets of the game. The same version, preferably.
  • One copy of the main game.
  • The player that runs the game need a ok webcam for a video link – the others just audio.
Suggested house rule

Players should probably announce when they have only one hex left of any given category… And maybe even announce all their moves if you are not playing with too many players… If you _do_ play with more than the prescribed max of 5 players, I would suggest that the scoring for different categories should work like in Welcome to… – the first player(s) score the max score, the rest score the lower score. (If they finish, obviously.)

But does it work?

I haven’t tested this one, but it should work, with the same caveats as for Welcome…  Update: I tried this one over a webcam link and it played great. Also, as a added benefit, it should be less webcam dependent. (Although you need to be able to distinguish the colours on the dice…)


  • Players: 1-100 (Again, this number has more to do with number of sheets in the box…)
  • Age: 10+ (But I have introduced it humans that are only 6…)

On my list of Top 9 games of 2019 was Cartographers, and that should work perfectly.

What’s needed
  • Sheets
    • All players need access to the sheets of the game. Since this is a simple grid, you can even draw it on a grid paper. Or download and print. (Line art version.)
  • One copy of the main game
  • The player that runs the game need a decent webcam for a video link – the others just audio.

Depending on the quality of your webcam/internet connection/chosen communication tool it would probably be a good idea to distribute a picture of the goal cards via other channels (potentially the whole grid of 12 cards that define the party – depending also on how familiar the players are with the game)… Come to think of it, this game could even be played just over chat. By photographing each new landscape card arriving…

Suggested house rules

If you chose to play with the monsters, you can use the solitaire rules for placement. (Unless you have clusters of players that can physically draw on the sheets of other players…)

Penny Papers Adventure series

  • Players: 1-99
  • Age: 7+/8+/9+ (Depending on the game in the series)
What’s needed
  • Sheets
    • All players need access to the sheets of the game. Since this is a simple grid, you can even draw it on a grid paper.
  • One copy of the main game.
  • The player that runs the game need an OK webcam for a video link – the others just audio.
Suggested house rules

When rolling dangers follow the solitaire rules for placement. (Unless, as with Cartographers, you have clusters of players that can physically draw on the sheets of other players…)


A lot of dice games where everyone reacts to the same dice roll should be playable like this:

  • Railroad Ink (Even though the box says 1-6 (1-12 with two copies) you can basically play this one with as many players as you want…)
  • On Tour (Ditto.)

Games that would need some more adaptations are games where there is a notion of  “current player” and she has slightly a different role [heh]… Maybe one player, with a web cam, needs to do all the rolling/dice manipulations:


Even though many claim Eurogames often are multiplayer solitaires, I can’t think of that many games that can easily be played remotely…

Tiny Towns

  • Players: 1-6 (But, over webcam, I guess more than 3 would be a mess…) 
  • Age: 14+ (Although, without the monuments, I play it with my 7 year old…)
What’s needed
  • All players need a copy of the main game.
  • All players need an ok webcam for a video link – otherwise you miss out on one of the key features of the game that is asking for resources that only you benefit from and free-ride on the resources that you can expect others to pick. (You can always play with the town hall rule and this would no longer be an issue, but I have not yet tested this…)

For up to 3ish players (all with good webcams) I would guess one can play with regular rules. More than that and the town hall rules would be needed. (Basically a dedicated player draws from the resource cards deck and announces resources everyone has to use. Every third turn you are free to chose yourself. Update: AEG has been running live streams of the game like that during this confinement.)

Quacks of Quedlinburg

  • Players: 2-4 (Over webcam, with multiple copies of the game, why not more?)
  • Age: 10+ (Although, I’ve played it with 6-year olds…)
What’s needed
  • All players need a copy of the main game.
  • All players need an ok webcam for a video link – otherwise you miss out on one of the key features of the game that is observing how far others have gotten on the cauldron track…

The Isle of Cats

  • Players: 1-4
  • Age: 8+
What’s needed


  • Sheets: All players need access to the sheets of the game. The City of Kings has made this available as a “Remote Edition” here http://thecityofkings.com/games/the-isle-of-cats/remote-edition/
  • One copy of the main game
  • The player that runs the game need a decent webcam for a video link – the others just audio.


I guess other Eurogames could be played with multiple copies of the game – especially if the game is a perfect information game, but they might become too fiddly, if, for example, the player running the game has to update the game state for all players…

Party games


  • Players: 2-8
  • Age: 7+
  • Coop
What’s needed
  • One copy of the main game
  • The player that runs the game need a decent webcam for a video link – the others just audio.
But does it work?

We tried it and it works.  Gameplay is exactly like it would be in a local game, but if you don’t know your historical/mythical/fably figures it might be too hard, since it is difficult to read the descriptive text over a video link… Still a fun challenge!

Incan Gold/Diamant

  • Players: 2-8
  • Age: 7+
What’s needed
  • One copy of the main game.
  • Remote players need tokens/cards for continue/turn back. And ideally tokens for diamonds and a place to store safe diamonds as well as temporary ones…
  • The player that runs the game need a decent webcam for a video link – the other players just very basic ones.

The one running the game needs to do quite a bit of logistics in this one, but it should be doable. Remote players hold their decision cards up the their webcam at the same time, local player updates game state. Remote players collects diamonds as needed. I do think this could work!

Codenames/Codenames Pictures/etc

  • Players: 2-8
  • Age: 14+/10+
  • Coop possible.
What’s needed
  • One copy of the main game.
  • Audio link for clues and discussions.

One can distribute (a picture of) the grid of words/pictures by email or similar prior to the game and just use audio for the game itself. Depending on if you play coop or not, you can distribute the card with the map of red/blue/black agents to one or two players. (Update: I have created a small web app to generate grids here: https://ervik.hopto.org/codegrid/?seed=fromBlogger  – take a screnshot or share the URL (including the ‘seed’ part among the spy masters. I have hear of people playing this in Whatsapp groups even!)


Other party games like Deep Sea Adventure, Mysterium (a bit more involved, admittedly), Just One, Timeline etc should work as well…

Forever alone

If you want a more involved game, and reduce screen time, the best is to play, well, without screens. If you are not locked down with fellow board game players, you can play games all by yourself.

Solitaire games

For some reason I didn’t think I would like solitaire games. Until I played Friedeman Friese’s solitaire only Friday some years ago and it was great. Since then I have continued exploring, and here are some of my favorites:

Coffee Roaster

An fabulous coffee flavoured [heh] push your luck bag builder. Probably my favorite solitaire-only game these days…


A classic card based solitaire. (Current version comes with a gazillion extensions in the box for variability.)

Nemo’s War

Technically a cooperative game, but it feels like a solitaire. Great theme based on the Jules Verne book. (Second edition with Ian O’Toole art is the one to play.)

One Deck Dungeon

Another technically coop game, but it works best thinking of it as a solitaire only game, methinks.

The Lost Expedition

This puzzly card driven adventure also works like a story generator.


Still a great little filler of a deck builder solitaire.

Games with official solitaire variants

More and more games in my collection comes with solitaire variants out of the box.

Tiny Epic Galaxies

This is the game I have played the most solitiare. It was a the first game I started playing as a single player coop with my kids. And it works great. Lots of levels of challenge.

It’s a Wonderful World

One of the latest additions to my collection has a very tense solitaire mode that works surprisingly well for a drafting game. (Maybe the same system could be applied to other drafting games?) It even has various scenarios you can play through. (And they just sent a scenario to kickstarter backers relating to the current crisis…)

The Castles of Burgundy - The Card Game

A small box game that is one of my worst tablehogs plays great as a solitaire.

Oh My Goods: Longsdale in Revolt

The base game of Oh My Goods is fine. Just fine. The expansion, and especially the solitaire variant, is great! I can’t wait to try out Expedition to Newdale that comes with a solitaire mode out of the box.

Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm

Albeit slightly fiddly, this expansion to the amazing RftG adds a decent solitaire challenge.


Wingspan is another one of my favorites from 2019, and it has a great non-fiddly solitaire mode.

Terraforming Mars

Great game with several different official solitaire variants – depending on what expansions you have and what challenge you are looking for.

Clans of Caledonia

On my list of top 9 games of all time, and it comes with a solitaire mode out of the box. There is also an online app if you want more variation and challenge.

Lisboa/On Mars

Playing Vital Lacerda’s game solitaire is a great way to explore the fascinatingly intricate rule sets of his games. Both of these plays great like that. (You need quite a bit of time on your hands though…)

Games with unofficial solitaire variants

Great Western Trail

I love, love, love Great Western Trail, but I don’t get to play it often enough, so at one point I tried an unofficial solitaire variant posted on BGG. It worked well enough, so I look forward to try that again. Now there is also an online app to help out. (Also, I have hopes that the solitaire enabled Maracaibo will scratch some of the itches of GWT…)

Roll for the Galaxy

Ditto for this.

Games I have played as solitaires

I have created a geeklist to track games I have tried as solitaires, if you want inspiration… 2020-04-05: …or even better take a look at this ranked list of solitaire boardgames.

Virtual board games

You can also go in the opposite direction – towards more screen – and live completely virtual versions of your favorite games. Here as well you have at least two options – general online game tools, and dedicated game specific apps/sites.

Update: this impressive spreadsheet helps you find games on various online platforms.

Online tools

Board Game Arena

A beautiful and practical interface to play games in your browser. They have quite a nice selection of various complexities and game lengths. Their servers are impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown, though, so be gentle…

Boite a Jeux

This older site, doesn’t look as nice as the ‘arena, and it has a smaller collection of games, but it might be easier on the hardware…

Tabletop Simulator

Tabletop simulator is another fascinating approach to virtual boardgames that more closely simulates the experience of a board game using virtual physical components instead of a classic web interface. You need to download the client for macOS or Windows and add games as DLC (paid) or (Steam workshop) mods (free). This is probably the solution with the most sophisticated hardware requirements, but, yes, you can flip the table. (And there are undo-buttons… :-))
Update: a reddit user has written a useful intro to this tool.


This might be my favorite virtual game tool. It is a kind of compromise between the before mentioned technologies – a mix between web UI and physics. It has an impressive collection of more than 600 games. Some hidden behind a paywall, but that is fair enough.


  • Brettspielwelt – another classic old school web UI.
  • Yucata – yet another classic old school web UI. (Update: When I played a round of Marco Polo the 2020-03-26 the servers seemed to struggle quite a bit…)
  • Vassal – a general framework for games, but I haven’t used it in a long while, and/as it is more war game oriented… (This list is worth checking out for non-war games modules: https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/152181/non-war-vassal-games )
  • Happy Meeple – small collection, but it looks nice. (I’ve never tried this one.)
  • BoardSpace – a mix of well known (Viticulture, Santorini) and less known games.
  • Your Turn My Turn – focused on classic games. (I’ve never tried this one.)
  • Sloth Ninja  – 5 games: After the Flood, Confucius, Indonesia, Guild of Thieves, and Tamany Hall 
  • BoardGameCore    4 (heavier) games: Antiquity, Food Chain Magnate, The Great Zimbabwee, and Wir Sind das Volk!
  • Spiel by Web   7 games: Bus, Hascienda, Hoity Toity, Reef Encounter, Santiago, Tikal, Wallenstein
  • BoardWebGames – (seemingly) unofficial copies of many games…

Mixed mode

One way to play games could be to do a mixture of conference call and online tools, perhaps? Some players on real games, and some online? Especially with tools like Tabletopia or Tabletop Simulator where the game logic is not necessary coded into the game interaction, so it allows some flexibility in how we use it… This could be worth trying in, for example, Tiny Towns!

Dedicated apps

Many games have excellent appifications, and most propose some kind online multiplayer option.

Castles of Burgundy

The app released early 2019 from Digidiced is excellent (but I have never tried it online). (Android/iOS/Steam)


Another excellent Digidiced app is Patchwork. (In our household this serves as a hotseat game when  we are away from our physical copy of the game…) (Android/iOS/Windows Store)

Race for the Galaxy

The official app works best on tablets or computers, since the cards has some text, but it is another excellent appification. (Android/iOS/Steam)

There exist also an old unofficial one that is functional and free.

Star Realms

This is another app that I have probably played more than the real game. It works well on both tablets and computers as well as phones. I like their purchase model – there is a free version that is quite complete, and if you want to buy the full game, expansions etc, you buy once on any platform and you can use it on any. (Android/iOS/Steam/Mac App Store)


The appification of the great Evolution from North Star Games is another of my favorites. (Android/iOS/Steam)


Even though the app is stuck with graphics from Brass 2007 it plays great on a tablet. (Android/iOS/Steam)

Steam: From Rails to Riches

Another great implementation of another great Martin Wallace game. (Android/iOS/Steam(PC))

Through the Ages

I’ve never played the physical game, but the app is great. (GOG(PC)/Android/iOS/Steam(PC))

Terraforming Mars 

From Asmodee Digital. (Android/iOS/Steam)


This lightweight classic has always had great virtual implementations and the latest from Asmodee is no exception. (Android/iOS/Switch/Steam(PC))


Another from Asmodee Digital and this one is a bit different since it is a solitaire game. (A real benefit with the digital version is that we don’t have to shuffle the deck after searching for door-cards every fifteen seconds…)


…and many, many more…

(Unofficial) Web Apps

Play by (e)mail

Could modern boardgames be played by mail, like chess infamously was in the olden days? I guess maybe abstract, perfect information games like Hive, or the Zipf series could work. Would it be worth it?

Video games

Yet another solution is just to give in to the screen altar and play some video games… (Currently I’m exploring Ori and the blind forest (finally) on Switch, but soon enough I’ll fire up the new Doom on PS4.)

Video games without (too much) screen

But! There are video games where you don’t need a screen!

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

This video game could easily be played over the phone. Most players access the bomb manual (either printed or digitally) and one player works on defusing the bomb on his computer/PS4/Switch/iOS/Android device…


What are your favorite games that can be played remotely? What adaptations are needed? What is the best video conference tool for boardgaming?

Other articles/lists/media

2020-03-31: Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier games vlogged about this. He also released his roll and write called Rolling Realms for free on his website.
2020-03-31: Slate wrote about remote board games – in particular Codenames.

It was a lone voice in the middle of the ocean, but it was heard at great depth and great distance.
― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera 


2020-04-02: I created a blog on BGG and posted this yesterday. This lead to some useful comments that I have added here and there. (Thanks qwertymartin, Toriel, and SergiSan.)
2020-04-26: Useful Reddit post on TTS recommendations: https://reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/g8ciso/list_of_my_recommended_tabletop_simulator_games/

2020-05-07: I added a link to a grid generator I made for codenames – https://ervik.hopto.org/codegrid/?seed=fromBlogger

2020-09-03: Some Evan has made a useful graphics with info on this: https://twitter.com/ellalovesbg/status/1259674518164889600/photo/1 (PDF – thanks EllaLovesBoardgames.)