Tabletop games are a great way to have fun with your friends (or end up furious at them—looking at you, Monopoly). And with these fun resources, you can play tabletop games together without even being in the same room.
Whether you prefer classic tabletop games like chess, Hearts, Mahjong, and poker, or you enjoy trying out new or unique games, like DIE in the Dungeon!, 7 Wonders, Sushi Go!, Finito, and Volt, these resources have something for everyone. There are plenty of titles you can play solo, with a few friends, or with other random players.
Some options even offer a sandbox with robust tools if you prefer to go nuts and create your own card, dice, board (or hybrid) games. Whether you’re into playing games or creating them, all you need is an internet connection, a comfortable chair, and some tasty snacks.
If you’re new to tabletop gaming, don’t stress! Most of these websites offer instructions and community forums where you can chat with other players about games and trade gaming tips. You don’t have to worry about going broke using these, either, as most are free. Now, you’ve got no excuse to not sit around and play games all day!
Biggest Online Community: Board Game Arena
The developers behind Board Game Arena (Free) understand how difficult it is to get multiple people together to play a board game, so they made it available on Mac, PC, Android tablets, and smartphones (sorry, no iOS quite yet), and even on Wii U, PlayStation, and Xbox One (but through the Internet Explorer app, if that counts), and there is no download required. There are over 2 million gamers on this site, so you’ll always be able to find someone to play with.
This board game website gives you access to over 175 games, from classics like Yahtzee and backgammon to fun newer titles, like Coup, Dragonheart, Saboteur, Terra Mystica, Carcassonne, and even prototypes like Dark Agent and Saint Poker. You can sort through game titles with a variety of filters like duration, complexity, mechanism, theme, popularity, and number of players.
Playing a game is super easy—just go to the Games page, find an interesting game, click on it, then click “Play This Game Now,” and you’re in. Clicking on a game also shows you more information about the game, such as how the game is played, how long it should take, and how many players are required. You can also download the instruction manual, see images of the game, and look at current leaderboards. Perusing the community page lets you find other players and see your friends, and chat in the forum about the games and other topics.
Best for Steam Users: Tabletop Simulator
Tabletop Simulator ($19.99) is a fun interactive game available on Steam. It’s VR compatible if you have an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift sitting around (who doesn’t?), and up to 10 VR and non-VR players can play together in the same game room. The game comes standard with 15 games, including chess, poker, jigsaw puzzles, dominoes, and Mahjong, and you’ll have access to the thousands of community-created titles and DLC. The game is easy enough for kids (and even grandma) to use and have fun with.
If that’s not cool enough for you, Simulator’s outstanding Steam Workshop integration has all the tools you need to create your own (much cooler) game. You can import previously created assets, manipulate physics, create custom boards and decks, create scripts, import 3D models, and—most importantly—flip the table when you lose. The creation options are impressive regardless of what you’re making, but they’re especially great for RPG games, as there is an RPG kit, multiple states and tablets (think: character sheets), custom boards and spaces, and an option for Game Masters to control the table and provide a fun and immersive experience for their players, thanks to team voice and text chat support.
Most Board Game Titles: Tabletopia
With over 800 board games to play, Tabletopia (Free) is a force to be reckoned with. It is a digital sandbox system, and it does not use AI to enforce rules; all you need to do is read the rules and pull a seat up to the (virtual) table. Play with friends or with other random online players, and chat with them on Tabletopia’s Discord channel. The service is available online and through Steam, or you can grab it on your iOS or Android device.
Tabletopia has a beautiful modern interface that’s immersive and fun to get lost in. It offers tons of fun titles to play for kids as young as five, as well as for solo players and groups. You have an impressively wide variety of games to choose from, like Secret Hitler, Sub Terra, Reavers of Midgard, Super Fantasy Brawl, Anachrony, Escape Plan, Warpgate, and Trust Me, I’m a Doctor. And yes, it has classic games like chess and Texas Hold ’em as well. Tabletopia isn’t big on enforcing game rules, either, so you can get crazy … if you can get the other players to agree on the new laws of the land.
If you’re more into creating games than playing them, Tabletopia also has tools for designing, implementing, and monetizing your own titles. A robust editor and library of sounds and objects make it easy for you to create your own game in a matter of hours without needing any prior programming skills. You can play and create for free, or increase your game title access and creation options for as little as $4.99/month, through premium plans.
Great for Two-Player Games: Happy Meeple
Happy Meeple (Free) is a great website for playing two-player games. You can play against a friend or AI, and everything is all on the web so you don’t have to download anything or install any plug-ins. Although there are only a few games, the overall experience of the website is cozy and fun. It’s easy to talk with other players, view game leaderboards and statistics, and participate in daily quests.
Happy Meeple automatically tracks your activity and you earn points—represented on this site as your meeple—as you complete tutorials and play games. This will be your avatar on the website, but it is also how you (and other players) track your progress. Similar to karate, Happy Meeple has you work to progress from a white meeple all the way to the prestigious black meeple, and you’ll also work to complete a world for your meeple to live in with food, buildings, roads, and fields. So, if simply playing one game isn’t enough for you, let Happy Meeple help you play games on games.
Best for Asynchronous Gaming: Yucata
If time is no object to you and you love European-style games (think Catan or Carcassonne), then Yucata (Free) is the place and the pace for you. Yucata allows for asynchronous playing, meaning that not all players have to be online at the same time in order to play (though you can also enjoy live gameplay if you choose). There is no time limit for turns, and you can play several games simultaneously. You’ll see a notification on your profile when it’s your turn; otherwise, you’ll receive an email when it’s your turn. The only restriction is you have to play whichever turn is oldest (if you have multiple games open).
Yucata has tons of games to choose from, for 1-6 players, including Volt, Chakra, Snowdonia, Imhotep, Transatlantic, ConHex, La Granja, Forum Trajanum, and others known for being hard to find or even out of print. Though the website looks quite dated, the interface is nonetheless easy to navigate, and you can easily view games, game rules, look for open game invitations, find other players, and send messages. There are no ads or upgrade hassles you’ll have to deal with, and it’s a simple yet pleasant gaming website for those who don’t mind a slower pace and diving into gaming statistics.