The Cards or Die Board Games collection has been all over the place - pubs, cafes, weddings, corporate training, senior citizens groups, schools, dementia cafes, festivals and now they are heading online.
For me board games are always about connecting with other people. Before now that has always meant sitting round the table, touching the pieces, shuffling the cards, chatting and laughing. Board games are intrinsically tactile and social. But now with all my bookings cancelled I like many of you have had to rethink things. I looked at online gaming in its true sense with virtual boards and pieces but it's just not for me. I'm not a tremendously digital person. I use technology but honestly I'd be happy if I still had my typewriter, still sent and received actual letters and I could still call the operator if there was a problem with my phone calls.
So the lowest tech solution I could come up with was a google doc, which has suggested times and dates of games along with details of games we can play, and then a Skype call with whoever wants to join in. So far we have played Forbidden Island, Pandemic (I appreciate this didn't appeal to everyone), Boggle, Fletter Fuse and Picture This. I've really enjoyed connecting with people over Skype - I've met some new people and seen lots of familiar faces too.
I find Skype, Zoom and any other facetime apps which allow multiple people in the conversation quite awkward. I find it difficult to read social cues if I am not face to face with people in real life so these kind of apps can make me feel incredibly anxious. However, doing a structured activity where (even in co-operative games) we take turns has helped me to feel comfortable online. Board games are a brilliant way to reduce or remove social awkwardness. I knew this was true in real life and now I know it is true online too.
You are more than welcome to sign up to sessions I am running or get in touch and request a game. A group of you can book on (whether you are in the same house or spread across a few households). I am offering this on a pay as you feel basis as I know that many people (like me) are not earning anything if they are stuck at home while others are still making money and can afford to pay something. If you are home alone with no income I don't want you to feel that you can't access this service.
The online events are much the same as my face to face events really. I teach the game and then either join in to make up the numbers or just facilitate to make sure we all remember what we are supposed to be doing and when! I email you anything I think might help you play - copies of cards or summary of turn so you don't need to be familiar with the game to play either.
What works online?
I am still working out the answer to this. So far I have concentrated mainly on quiz games and co-operative games. Have a look on the google doc to see what sorts of games I'm offering for inspiration. Some of the suitable games are pictured below.
If you have the same game as other people this is a bonus as you can use the cards and pieces from each of them although you may still find it easier to just use one board. You can always use a pen and paper to make a note of where you are up to, what cards you have etc.
I have been emailing out anything I think will be useful in advance. It is always useful to be able to see what cards might come up with a summary of what they do and a turn order guide that tells you what sorts of things you can do on your turn. Some people like to have the rules in front of them whilst playing too.
Co-operative games work well as they don't require you to keep your hand of cards hidden - you are working together to solve a puzzle, grab some treasure, cure a pandemic or escape a windswept desert. It's also fine that one person moves the pieces on the board. Movement is just one small part of your strategising that turn.
Quizzes are good fun online and if there are a few of you in a household you can easily play against another household. In fact I am just off to add Family Fortunes to the list.... Quizzes are also plentiful on the internet and can easily be adapted to match the interests of your family and friends. It's something you can get creative with - spend a bit of time creating the perfect quiz then get your family or friends online to see who triumphs!
There is a thread which I will keep adding to on the Facebook page which has lots of links to free games and activities so you can always download games there and then play with friends online.
So whether you are playing online with Cards or Die or getting together online with family and friends - keep in touch, stay safe and look after yourselves. Hope to see you at The Winchester for a game when all this has blown over.