The Playingcards.io website has a number of traditional card based games. It also has a card game engine that the users can modify, adding there own card based games. Here are some card based games that I have hacked together on Playingcards.io:
- High Society with a topical theme in this module.
- For an 8-player family friendly version of Cards Against Humanity see here.
- For a very family unfriendly 10-player version of CAH see my expanded module here.
Keep It Simple Stupid (Online)
For the past 3 weeks I have been running an online party game session on Saturday nights. The audience are friends & members of my local boardgaming meetup. Our regular F2F group gaming sessions have been cancelled which means that online events are required. Keeping in contact with the group is important to keep the group alive and to maintain in contact. Some group members are living alone so I want to keep in touch and to organize some fun group activities for all of our mental health. The goal was also to run online events that anyone can play; regardless of their available tech. Phone, tablet, computer etc is all that is required. No need to purchase hardware or software to take part. Definitely KISS. Keep it stupidly simple!
Discord is used for voice & text communication. It’s free and works well enough. Especially once people have overcome obvious tech issues with feedback, background noise etc. Get the Discord app; the Discord website does not provide as good a quality as the native app.
Codenames was the obvious game as run first. After 3 sessions it is going much faster and easier. We have found a method that works well. We tried using a website for the word grid but the website was not reliable on Saturday nights. Some players also have tech issues so I went back to the DIY image posting method. KISS once again.
The players get a image of the words in Discord via a still picture and via a webcam feed. Most use the still picture as the words are clearer. The clue-givers receive a picture of the word grid via a private message. To make the word grid easier to visualize I use red/blue & a black wooden pieces.
One player per team is the nominated “pokey person” who nominates which card is being poked by their team. The game runner (I.e. me) responds with the correct/wrong/neutral/Assasin answer. This does mean the game runner cannot play the actual game. I don’t mind. It’s worth it.
It is useful to use both text and voice communications when clues are given. Repetition is useful too. This is key to ensure that all of the dozen plus players comprehend the clues given. This is not required in a F2F game but paramount in an online situation. The typed clue would be something like “red (team) – metal 2”.
Other games that I want to run include some roll n writes like Railroad Ink & Welcome To. The idea is to post pictures of the dice or cards and let people have their own sheet. They can either print out the sheet or use an online whiteboard. Using an online whiteboard would also work for “A Fake Artist goes to New York”. That online whiteboard would have to be shared amongst all the players. Each player would need to use a different coloured pen. Some folks are interested in playing these but I have yet to force them on such a large group. Some of the horrible people end the evening with an online game of Cards Against Humanity. Fun but horrible!
Online board gaming in the age of Corona
The current “shelter at home” strategy, in response to the COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic, has put the dampeners on my regular board gaming activities. My weekly calendar was firmly punctuated with Monday and Tuesday board gaming nights with the VCSB meetup group.
Several weekends a month I would also meet with the lads of the Socal Wargamers group for historically themed wargames. A full day at Game Empire in Pasadena with the lads is a great way to spend a Saturday. A definite bonus was having some pub grub washed down with a tasty adult beverage at the nearby Lucky Baldwins Trappiste pub. Good comforting food, like a good board game, never gets old. These regular gaming sessions now seem like a dim and distant memory.
My current board options are solo gaming, games with my (long suffering) gf, or playing online. My gf is able to put up with some of my board game choices but I cannot hope, nor should I expect her, to enjoy long and involved games centered on an obscure historical period, It is obvious that I will need a tech based solution to this problem. Using Vassal, apps, and websites; I am now regularly holding and hosting online board game sessions. More of that in another post.
The weekly F2F (face to face) board gaming sessions with the VCSB meetup group were a major part of my social calendar. I know that some of these people are sheltering at home alone. People are feeling distanced from each other. People need the social aspects of playing board games. People need to to be distracted from the current events. People need to stay connected even though we cannot easily and safely play games with each other. Hence I have been running online party game sessions on Saturday nights for as long as we are sheltering at home. Stay safe. Stay home.
BALTARFEST 2019 – 600 games of BSG [Picture Heavy]
This coming Saturday, 20th of April 2019, I will hopefully reach the milestone of my 600th play of the Battlestar Galactica board game. This figure has been a long time coming. It also is a reflection on how a board game group evolves over time.
My copy of Battlestar Galactica (aka BSG) was first played on the 28th November 2008 at LosCon #35, a annual science fiction contention, in Los Angeles. Over the next 4 years I played the game regularly, but not excessively. By 2012, I began to play it more often with my local Tuesday night Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers Meetup group. I was getting close to my 100th game played.
BALTARFEST 2012 was held on the 11th of November 2012. That day we played BSG a total of 9 times. I got to play BSG a total of three times that day. Three times in one day, that seems excessive. Hold that thought!
The game plays accumulate fast when you are playing two, three, or even four games of BSG a week. We had a regular group that played BSG a lot. BSG became a go-to game for Tuesday nights. We knew how to play and we could play fast. By FATDOG 2015 I had reached a total of 400 game plays. BSG was a familiar game on Tuesday nights and other gaming events.
The first 100 game plays took 6 years. The next 300 games took a mere 3 years to accumulate. I have played BSG 5 times in a single day on several occasions. I have even played 4 times in one evening. To be honest, playing 4-5 times in one day is quite mentally exhausting. The games just merge together into one.
The last 200 games have taken 3.5 years. The rate of games played has noticeably dropped. It seems that BSG had peaked as a board game in my playlist. Why is that? Had I begun to tire of being a cylon? Not at all. The game is still fun to play. The game is still a challenge. The player interaction is still thrilling. The truth was it was just harder to find others who were able or wanted to play. For some their lives have moved on and folks have moved away. The game is hard to learn too. We play with a mix of the base game and the three expansions. We play fast. It is hard for a newcomer to keep up with us at times. It has become harder to get the 5 experienced players together that is the optimum number for a game. The BSG base game and the three expansion modules are now long out-of-print and so there are less new people discovering the game. I have played BSG only 5 times this year, so far. Our regular group is meeting, just not as often. BSG is a still a great game but I do like to play other games too.
How do I have all these stats and information of how, where, and with who I have played BSG? Simple, I log my game plays on the BoardGameGeek website. See here for my article on why this logging of game plays is a good thing.
On a side note: I have to make a shout out to Ryan for arranging our venue for so many events. Many thanks for being a good sport. Btw, that certificate that exempts you from playing BSG has long expired at the end of 2017. See the pic below for proof.
Looking back at these photos I see a lot of great people that I have come to know solely because of board games. A wide range of ages, races, and professions, where the only thing we have in common is sharing a fun time over a table playing a game or two. I would not have missed these moments for anything. I hope to see my many cylon mates again soon. To share the challenge of being all sneaky and devious together.
So say we all.
18th April 2019
P.S. We will be playing lots of different board and card games at BALTARFEST 2019, not just Battlestar Galactica. You can RSVP for free on Meetup at the this link.
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