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!

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