196 – Top Games for Remote Gaming – The Family Gamers Podcast

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Episode 196

Top Games for Remote Gaming

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This week, we’re talking about games we’ve discovered work well for remote gaming (with video conferencing). If your friendly local gaming store is re-opening, we encourage you to #BackTheComeback and buy something to help them stay in business. Why not a game that you could play remotely with family and friends if there’s a second wave of closings?

What We’ve Been Playing

Bees: The Secret Kingdom (we talked about this last week too). A learning opportunity for our kids to set themselves up for multiple paths to victory.

Barenpark: The Bad News Bears – the Grizzlies expansion. This expansion gives you more of the Barenpark play style you already know and love. (The Monorails expansion completely changes up the puzzle. Both expansions come together in The Bad News Bears, so you can do either one or both!)

Dice Throne – we had a good time with the king-of-the-hill rules for three players.

Cinco Linko (aka OK Play) – a nice quick time-filler

Anitra is still enjoying solo plays of HexRoller & MetroX.

Scrambled States of America – a nice combination of a “speed” game and an educational game.

Ticket to Ride: Stay at Home – which is also our first news item for the podcast!

News

Ticket to Ride: Stay at Home – a map & cards that’s free to print at home. Combine with your Ticket to Ride trains & train cards to play a shorter game with a few neat twists: specialized ticket cards for each character, and “family routes” that players can team up and complete together. Find it at the Asmodee website.

The Evolution app from North Star Digital is STILL 50% off – but only until June 5th!

Asmodee is partnering with Blizzard to create Small World of Warcraftcoming soon!

We can finally talk about Super Cats. Silly, simple fun for $10. Learn more from The OP.

Paranormal Detectives

SNAP Review – Paranormal Detectives

Can you deduce the circumstances of a ghost’s demise? Take the role of detectives communicating with the supernatural and find out in Paranormal Detectives by Lucky Duck Games. See pictures and read the transcript at the SNAP review page.

Favorite Games to Play at a Distance

We’re not playing many games with people outside of our immediate family. But it would be good to prepare for a second wave of lockdown – why not teach our extended family and friends some games that we’d be able to play over video chat in the future!

Digital Games for a Crowd

First, some digital options. Psych! Outwit Your Friends and Jackbox games are both fun and pretty easy to use, but there are downsides to each.

Digital Board Games

There are many mobile game apps that allow for online multiplayer. Some of our favorites: Evolution, Tokaido, Ticket to Ride, Jaipur, Lords of Waterdeep, Onitama, Patchwork, Potion Explosion. We’d recommend playing these on a tablet rather than a phone, if possible.

Physical Board Games to Play over Video Chat

Blank Slate from The OP, which Nick just reviewed. The only hidden information is what you yourself are writing on your personal board! We even saw this in the middle of a big Target board game display recently.

Blank Slate surrounded by lower quality games at Target
At Target: One of these games is not like the other…

Just One from Repos – this will require a little bit of coordination (“guesser” will need to look away from their screen while everyone else gets their clue).

Wavelength – we played this online with a number of people from Calliope Games and the board game community. You’ll need a camera trained on the wheel, and people will need to look away when the clue-giver “opens” the wheel and looks.

Codenames – you’ll need either a top-down camera (and a way to show the “layout” card to only two players), or an online board. We found a good one at HorsePaste.com

Anitra recommends Order of Invention, which could even be playable audio-only. (We played this in episode 150.)

We start thinking about what makes a game good for playing remotely. It’s best if all components are shared among the players, with little or no hidden information. (No hands of cards, please!)

OR you could go completely the other direction – if no elements are shared at all (Dice Throne, Magic: The Gathering), that’s also possible. However, the more complex the game is, the more difficult it will be to keep the setup consistent.

Could you play Onitama remotely? Sure, there’s no hidden information. One person could have everything set up, with a camera that sees the whole board – and the other player could tell them what to do.

The Star: Roll and Write / Flip and Write Games

These are easy to share over a video. Games that involve dice-drafting (or card-drafting) will be a little harder, but still very do-able.

Best choices for flip-and-writes: Welcome To, Metro X, Cartographers (use the solo variant to avoid passing maps).

(Roll-and-writes we’d recommended: Criss Cross, Rolling America, Hex Roller, Qwingo, Qwixx)

Tell us what games you’d play remotely!

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Or, for the most direct method, email us! andrew@thefamilygamers.com and anitra@thefamilygamers.com.

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