How to play Board Games Online
With tabletop games becoming more popular, there are more ways for people to play board games online. From mobile apps for games like Ticket to Ride & Tokaido, Online Simulators like Tabletopia and a growing library of tabletop games like pandemic and Catan on the Nintendo Switch there are so many options now available.
Here is our full list of online board games you can play online and how to play them.
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Board Game Apps
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is a classic gateway game and has been spoken about a lot on this blog the game is pretty simple. On each turn, you collect or play coloured cards to build preset railway routes across a map.
As you go, you gain points for building longer routes and connecting pairs of cities. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.
The Ticket to Ride app is fantastic and has been around for a while with heaps of available expansion maps and challenging AI it will have even the experienced ticket to ride players hooked.
In Small World Players control a numbers of different races throughout the game in an attempt to control the “small world” and gain the most victory points On each turn, you either use the multiple tiles of your chosen race (type of creatures) to occupy adjacent (normally) territories – possibly defeating weaker enemy races along the way, or you give up on your race letting it go “into decline”.
A race in decline is designated by flipping the tiles over to their black-and-white side.
At the end of your turn, you score one point (coin) for each territory your races occupy. You may have one active race and one race in decline on the board at the same time. Your occupation total can vary depending on the special abilities of your race and the territories they occupy. After the final round, the player with the most coins wins.
The app plays just like the board game, and it feels like you are playing it and not a digital version, the challenging AI also makes this a must for any fans of the tabletop version of this game.
Settlers of Catan
Catan is board game royalty and this day and age really require no introduction the app is a reflection of how established this game has become.
In the app, you can either play against multiple AI or link up with the online multiplayer to roll your dice, build your roads, trade your sheep, and move that damn thief that keeps blocking your brick production.
This app is so good that it makes Catan feel like it should be a video game but honestly, nothing beats trying to convince your friend to give you that last brick you need in person.
The Tokaido app is visually stunning and feels more like a computer game than a board game but in doing so does not lose for a second the feelings that come with playing is board game counterpart.
For those that haven’t played before In Tokaido, each player is a traveller crossing the “East sea road”, one of the most magnificent roads of Japan. While travelling, you will meet people, taste fine meals, collect beautiful items, discover great panoramas, and visit temples and wild places but at the end of the day, when everyone has arrived at the end of the road you’ll have to be the most initiated traveller – which means that you’ll have to be the one who discovered the most interesting and varied things in order to win the game (Also Victory Points).
Istanbul is mancala style movement games based on the trade City of Istanbul and one of our favourite board games of all time. It involves players visiting different merchants to collect money and resources trading them for Gems to win the game.
The app stays authentic to the board game version of the game giving players an experience that feels very similar to the tabletop game. The AI is also very challenging providing experienced players with a challenge every time they play on their phones.
Potion Explosion always felt like a mobile game turned into a board game so there is no surprise that this game is now also available on mobile to download. It feels a lot like the board game from a gameplay perspective but I find myself playing the digital version of this game in an attempt to become better at the physical board game.
Don’t get me wrong this game will bring you hours of enjoyment with the added bonus of making you better at the board game but there is nothing about the digital version that really stands out.
Pandemic is the father of the modern cooperative board game with so many namesake sequels we would be surprised if you had never heard of it. The Game puts players into the role of Medical Specialists trying to contain a global pandemic from infecting the whole world. The twist players play against the board game itself and not each other in an attempt to win the game and save the world.
The app does this game justice with passing around the device acting as a great substitute for the physical component when needed. There really is nothing that can replace the board in this game but hey if you are stuck on a plane/train/car/line this is a great substitute and a real crowd-pleaser.
Coup is a social deduction card game that has players try to out bluff each other and try to be the last player standing as they attempt to eliminate everybody else. The game begins as each player is randomly dealt two face-down character cards from a deck of 15 cards that contains five different characters.
Players take turns that involve one of three actions, collecting money, paying money to kill their opponents, or taking the special ability of one of their face-down cards.
It seems simple until you add the final rule that any player can lie and claim the ability of a card they don’t have. However players can call out the opponents for lying, and this will ‘kill’ one of your cards if you are caught yet if you are telling the truth the player that called you out will lose one of there cards.
See how long you can last will you be the last player standing the free app for this game is excellent and at that price point, you have nothing to lose.
This Western Free for all action programing game has you and up to five AI opponents scramble, loot, and shoot your way across a moving locomotive.
The game revolves around a programming mechanic, where players take all there turns before the end of the round using movement and action cards, some secretly, which are then enacted at the end of the round. This can backfire as you have no idea what else might happen during the round or can result in some delightful surprise.
Much like its tabletop incarnation, the Colt Express app goes all-in on aesthetics. Reminding us of the board game’s numerous miniature cacti and tumbleweeds figurines that look impressive but serve no purpose.
Splendor is heavily strategic card drafting game that plays like a deck-builder except without all the shuffling. You purchase jewel themed cards that give you more buying power throughout the game, which in turn help you purchase cards that hold more value and allows you to earn points toward winning. The first player to get 15 of these prestige points wins the game.
This app looks just like the physical game and has a good level of different AI’s giving players an ongoing challenge the better they get at the game.
Tsuro is the most simple board game I have ever played that I enjoyed. The aim of the game is to keep your player token on the board longer than your opponents.
Each single-move turn consists of selecting and placing tiles in front of your token and then following the token along the path. You’ll lose if it shoots off the side of the game board or rams into another token. The last player left wins the game.
This game is so easy but so fun get it in whatever form you can.
Agricola is a worker placement board game that is just hard and confusing for new players. If you stick with it the game can become enjoyable but not after a lot of trying to work out how to play.
Agricola is not a game for everyone. But the app version is even better than playing the board game, if only because it streamlines the tedious setup and calculation that otherwise slows down the physical game and teaches you how to play through an in-depth tutorial session.
I would recommend players play the app before going near the board game.
Exploding Kittens is one of those crazy card games that players just need to experience. Players draw cards from a central deck, one at a time. Before drawing, players can also use cards from their hand to skip a turn or mess with your opponents in a dozen different ways.
The aim of the game is to avoid drawing an “exploding kitten,” cards which can cause you to lose the game, the app version of this game is great and offers features missing from the physical version of the game. Like online matchmaking and you also don’t need to shuffle again isn’t that the dream.
Galaxy Trucker doesn’t really feel like its physical version as the entire first half of the board game is tactile where you race to physically grab face-down tiles from a shared pile and assemble your intergalactic 16-wheeler. you then fly your quickly constructed ship through obstacles, enemies, and riches, watching as your ship, crumbles to pieces.
The app developers do a good job in developing this for mobile devices and I actually prefer the mobile version of this game so much that I no longer own a physical copy. This app in our opinion is better than board game and plays great on a mobile device.
Carcassone is the board game that made the meeple famous and is one of the most well-known board games to introduce people to modern board gaming.
In-app version, Carcassone just shows us that beating a computer is hard and helps you relate to those chess champions that lost to a computer.
If you’re unfamiliar with Carcassone, You and up to four opponents take turns playing tiles to build a field- and castle-infested city, laying down meeples and collecting points as you complete castles and roads. If you are anything like me lose to the AI over and over again.
Lords of Waterdeep
Lords of Waterdeep is a worker placement game based in the Dungeons & Dragons universe based in the city of Waterdeep you play the influences of the city. Place your agents on various buildings around your port city home of Waterdeep, send heroes off on quests, and fight for the city’s prestige and power in the attempt to finish with the most victory points.
We recommend you play this app against humans or you will probably lose, a lot but its ok because you know it about having fun right?
Castles of Mad King Ludwig
In the tile-laying game Castles of Mad King Ludwig, players are tasked with building an amazing, extravagant castle for King Ludwig II of Bavaria…one room at a time.
You see, the King loves castles, having built Neuschwanstein (the castle that inspired the Disney theme park castles) and others, but now he’s commissioned you to build the biggest, best castle ever — subject, of course, to his ever-changing whims.
Each player acts as a building contractor who is adding rooms to the castle he’s building while also selling his services to other players.
The learning curve for playing this game is pretty steep, just like the board game version. However, the app version of this game comes with nine training levels to help you get started. So you will be building crazy castles in no time.
Patchwork is a fantastic two-player board game based around quilting I know right quilting don’t knock it until you try it because this puzzle-based placement game will have your brain itching as you work to fill all the spaces in your quilt and not leave any gaps.
The app version of this game really does this game justice and feels just like the physical version and is so much fun you can spend a 5-hour plane trip playing round after round with your partner.
The Nintendo Switch has become the console of board gamers lately with heaps of digital releases of board games planned for the platform some of the scheduled releases include favourites like Settlers of Catan, Pandemic and Charterstone.
These games are all being released over the 2019 – 2020 Period so keep an eye on your local switch store to see if this game is available in your country.
Settlers of Catan
The best option for playing board games online that has the most games available is the Tabletopia platform. Tabletopia is an online gaming system and is free to download and play all the free games in its library (which at the time of writing this post has over 600 Free games).
Tabletopia also has premium games are available for use with the platform costing around $5USD a month (for the Basic Plan) for access to the full library of games. Players can play directly in modern desktop web browsers on Mac and Windows platforms or download on Steam, App Store and Google Play.
It is a sandbox environment that allows you to load all of the game components and then move them around the board as needed. It’s a great way to try out games before getting the physical copy.
Players should be wary tho nothing is stopping you from throwing the board across the room or playing the game completely wrong altogether.
So the games do have a real-world feeling and give you experience a lot more like the real world of tabletop games.
The publisher describes Tabletopia as an Online arena for playing board games, just like in real life.
With the editor for building new board games from scratch and bringing paper games to the digital world, there are more people using Tabletopia now more than ever.
Lots of publishers and boardgame creators have now been using the system to allow players to playtest games. This use of the system is leading to a growing community of developers using the platform and an ever-increasing library of modern board games now being available.
Tabletopia now has over 700 titles to play some of the latest best selling board games, including the following:
Scythe is a 4x board game set in an alternate-history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valour.
In Scythe, each player represents a character from one of five factions of Eastern Europa who are attempting to earn their fortune and claim their faction’s stake in the land around the mysterious Factory. Players conquer territory, enlist recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs.
In Roll Player, you will compete to create the greatest fantasy adventurer who has ever lived, preparing your character to embark on an epic quest. Roll and draft dice to build up your character’s attributes. Purchase weapons and armour to outfit your hero. Train to gain skills and discover your hero’s traits to prepare them for their journey.
Earn Reputation Stars by constructing the perfect character. The player with the highest Reputation wins the game and will surely triumph over whatever nefarious plot lies ahead!
This age of art and capitalism has created a need for a new occupation, the gallerist, which combines elements of the art dealer, museum curator, and artists’ manager.
You are about to take on that job! You will promote and nurture Artists; buy, display, and sell their art; build and exert your international influence. As a result, you will achieve the notoriety needed to draw visitors to your gallery from all over the world.
So build your fortune running the most lucrative gallery ever.
Santorini is a non-abstract re-imagining of the 2004 edition. Since its original inception over 30 years ago, Santorini has been endlessly developed, enhanced and refined by mathematician and educator, Dr Gordon Hamilton.
Santorini is a highly accessible pure strategy game that is simple enough for an elementary school classroom. But with enough gameplay depth and content for even hardcore gamers to explore, Santorini is truly a game for everyone.
You are bird enthusiasts — researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors — seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your aviary. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats.
Each habitat focuses on a key aspect of the growth of your aviary:
• Gain food tokens via custom dice in a birdfeeder dice tower
• Lay eggs using marbled egg miniatures in a variety of colours
• Expand your bird collection, drawing from hundreds of unique bird cards
The winner is the player with the most points accumulated from birds, bonus cards, end-of-round goals, eggs, cached food, and tucked birds.
Blimey! You and your blokes have been unfairly banished and stripped of everything but a few shillings and table scraps. Undaunted, you journey to a strange land to reclaim your honour.
Under the steely gaze of her majesty, Queen Anne, you must chart your path to fame and glory. Will you farm the earth, fight as knights or finagle your own feudums?
Whatever your fate, one thing is clear: Medieval life is not a bowl of cherry tarts. Fertile land is scarce, food is dwindling, and fanciful creatures fancy you for dinner!
Luckily, not everything feudal is (ahem)…futile. If you seize control of the local guilds, you could become most venerated in the kingdom.
Burgle Bros. is a cooperative game for 1-4 players. Players are unique members of a crew trying to pull off a robbery of a highly secure building — without getting caught. The building has three floors (4×4 tiles), each with its own safe to crack. Players start on the first floor and have to escape to their helicopter waiting on the roof.
Players each have three stealth tokens. Whenever they are on the same tile with a guard, they lose one. If any player is caught without a stealth token, the game is over. If players can open all three safes, and escape through the stairs to the roof, they win.
The year is 1932. The place is pre-WWII Germany. In Secret Hitler, players are German politicians attempting to hold a fragile Liberal government together and stem the rising tide of Fascism. Watch out though — there are secret Fascists among you, and one player is Secret Hitler.
Altiplano, a bag-building game along the lines of Orléans set in the South American highlands of the Andes — the Altiplano — is not a simple game, presenting players with new challenges time and again. There are various ways to reach the goal, so the game remains appealing to try out new options and strategies, but success or failure also depends on whether your opponents let you do as you like or thwart the strategy you are pursuing. The competition for the individual types of goods is considerable — as is the fun in snatching a coveted extension card from under another player’s nose!
At the start of the game, players have access only to certain resources and goods, due to the different role tiles that each player receives that provide them. At the market, however, a player can acquire additional production sites that give new options. The numerous goods — such as fish, alpaca, cacao, silver, or corn — all have their own characteristics and places where they can be used. Whereas silver makes you rich, fish can be exchanged for other goods, and alpaca give you wool that you can then make into cloth.
Aside from building up an effective production, you must deliver the right goods at the right time, develop the road in good time, and store your goods cleverly enough to fill the most valuable rows with them. Often, a good warehouse person is more relevant in the end than the best producer.
You are the founder of a new village during the middle ages, in the years after a great plague. The loss of so many people has created big problems for the survivors. Many of the people the villagers used to depend on for essential things like food, shelter and clothes are gone. Craftsmen find themselves without suppliers of raw materials, traders have lost their customers, and many have lost their farms and workshops as they escaped the plague.
The roads are full of refugees seeking a new beginning. They come to you, hoping to settle down on your land and make a living. Your grain farm is the ideal starting point for a village, reliably providing food for many people.
You must choose wisely who you allow to settle with you, as your food and resources are limited. The people on the road have valuable and unique skills, but they all, in turn, rely on other people with very specific crafts to be able to work. Raw materials, tools and services must be provided by other people from the road.
If you manage to find people that can work together to make a profit, while increasing your food surplus and capacity for building new houses, your village will be prosperous.
In 2037, the first settlers arrived on Mars! The base camp was already settled and now, during the next fifty years, a group of very brave people from private space exploration companies are establishing a major colony ruled by a terrestrial organization, the D.O.M.E. (Department of Operations for Mars Exploration).
As a chief astronaut from a private space exploration company, you want to be a pioneer in developing the biggest, most advanced colony on Mars, achieving the D.O.M.E. mission goals as well as your company’s hidden agenda. By bringing in and managing settlers, you can explore, mine, build, power, and upgrade buildings. You will lead the construction and assembly of greenhouse farms, water compounds, O₂ factories, power generators, and mines.
The goal of humanity on this new planet is to learn how to value water, air and the things we need to live more than money — and in the end, become a self-sufficient colony independent of any terrestrial organization. Do you dare to take part in humanity’s next biggest conquest?
In the land of Terra Mystica dwell 14 different peoples in seven landscapes, and each group is bound to its home environment, so to develop and grow, they must terraform neighbouring landscapes into their home environments in competition with the other groups.
Terra Mystica is a game with very little luck that rewards strategic planning. Each player governs one of the 14 groups. With subtlety and craft, the player must attempt to rule as great an area as possible and to develop that group’s skills. There are also four religious cults in which you can progress.
Champions of Midgard
Champions of Midgard (formerly Defenders of Nidaros) is a middleweight, Viking-themed, worker placement game with dice rolling in which players are leaders of Viking clans who have travelled to an embattled Viking harbour town to help defend it against the threat of trolls, draugr, and other mythological Norse beasts. By defeating these epic creatures, players gain glory and the favour of the gods. When the game ends, the player who has earned the most glory earns the title of Jarl and is recognized as a champion of Midgard!
Placing workers allows for the collection of resources and warriors, which players may then send on journeys to neighbouring villages or across the sea to defeat monsters and gain the glory they need for victory. Resources are used to carve runes, build ships, and feed your followers. Viking warriors (custom dice) do battle with the myriad enemies the town faces.
& 100’s More
With much more available, there is always a game to start playing and a lifetime of options. We love using Tabletopia and recommend it.
Check out the Full Libary of Tabletopia Games Here
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