Interim Online Sessions - Going virtual

St. Ives Tabletop

17th July 2021

The club had to suspend in person gaming due to the persistent pandemic, and started online sessions fortnightly instead. Some of our regulars have continued joining in this way, and word has spread with quite a few new members also joining us. Sessions start at 7:30pm using voice comms over Discord and we have largely settled on Board Game Arena as the platform for games, although Tabletop Simulator and Boiteajeux have also been used. We tend to first play a few short, simple games while we see who is joining the session, followed by a longer game, and finally, for those with the stamina, another 1 or 2 shorter games. Some are games that club members own and have had outings at the in person sessions (see other blogs/reviews) and some are new games discovered through the online platforms.

Roll and write games have been very popular, given they tend to scale well for lots of players and mean all joiners can stay on the same voice chat and game together, examples are Welcome To, Trek 12 and Railroad Ink (aka the other train game). In these games, everyone uses the same randomly rolled dice icons or drawn card symbols and has to build a neighbourhood, climb a mountain, or construct a road and rail network. This means everyone has the same materials to score victory points, and it is how you place them that makes the difference. It is interesting to see how differently but still effectively players make use of the materials, and as these are randomly selected each game there is a lot of replayability.

Short simple games that have proved popular are Draftosaurus (populating a dinosaur park by drafting dinosaur meeples in a pass and play mechanism), Flaming Pyramids (use up all your materials to build a communal pyramid but invalid placements cause a collapse and pick up), For Sale (house bidding and selling), Incan Gold (push your luck gem collection), Lucky Numbers (draw or swap then place numbers to be the first to fill your grid), Sushi Go! (pass and play sushi ingredients), Turn the Tide (aka the sheep game, don’t get caught with the highest tide card each round).

Slightly longer games include 6 nimmt! (aka the cow game, don’t get caught placing the 6th card in a row), 7 Wonders (build a civilization around an ancient wonder), Alhambra (bidding then tile placing game), Carcassonne (building old French cities by laying tiles), Kingdom Builder (placing settlements based on randomly drawn terrain types with varied victory point conditions each game), Libertalia (pirates! All players have the same character cards, the order you play them each round determines the overall victory points), Niagara (all players have the same set of turn options, use these to row down river and collect jewels, but don’t get your canoe pushed over the edge when the river moves), P.I. (compete in 3 mini-games to solve the cases, a more advanced variant on Cluedo), Paris Connection (aka the other other train game, a network and portfolio building game), Potion Explosion (marble run game with a magical theme), Stone Age (worker placement with limited slots per area to collect resources, expand your population but make sure you can feed them each round and acquire victory point tiles), Tobago (competitive treasure hunting and push your luck game), Trekking the World (more traditional turn based move your meeple around the world to collect tourist destinations and souvenirs), Via Magica (bag based gem drafting to create spells), and Xanadu (Eastern themed city building game).

End of session games that have been are tested are Bandido (COVID-19 variant, cooperative close all the exits on that pesky virus), Coloretto (aka the chameleon game, collect coloured card sets, push your luck for more cards but collecting too many colours results in negative points), Happy City (light draft and play building cards, victory is determined by population multiplied by happiness icons on buildings in the final city), Kingdomino (build a kingdom of different lands in a 5 by 5 grid), and Luxor (Egyptian themed card driven explore the tomb and acquire treasure with a twist, as room tiles have their treasure collected they are removed shortening the route and affecting subsequent turns for all).

While we hope to open up for in person sessions again soon, the online club has been working well. We have enjoyed meeting new gamers, learning new games, and being able to continue the club virtually. Please drop in on a Wednesday night and join us or suggest a game you would like to try and we can arrange a group.