Gaming by Skype: Distance no barrier!

26 11 2012

How do you get your boardgaming fix when you have no-one around to game with?
There’s plenty of boardgames available on and offline via mobile and Pc/Mac/consoles so you could do that, I guess. There’s also Play by Email/Post options if you don’t mind slow gaming. Or you could always crack open Agricola or Snowdonia and have a solo game?

However, for those who want to get that real-life gaming night experience but with people in different locations, you may want to consider a Skype games night.

Basic requirements
We’ve taken part in multiple successful Skype games evenings now as we have gaming friends who live over 150 miles away. Put simply, both parties need access to a Skype account (free at and a device with a webcam so your friends/family can see you/the game. The better the webcam and Internet speed, the better your experience will be (far easier to game with clear, non-blocky images).
Also, trust is key so you want people who are honest!

Game selection
Of course, you’ve probably already worked out that not all games lend themselves to a good experience via Skype. For instance, forget games with card drafting: no matter how hard you try you WON’T pass those 7 Wonder cards through the screen!
Party games such as Scattegories and Taboo work well, but this doesn’t mean you’re limited to this genre. For example, we’ve had a successful game of Hamburgum!

Hamburgum? How?
This was a little trickier to organise but we had a successful 4 player game of this a while back (this was 2 people my end and 2 people the other). Both households had a copy of the game set up exactly the same. This would be in a similar way as a play-by-mail game of scrabble/chess.
Each player announces their move and the opposing players make the same move but on their board. For full transparency, resources/cards, etc, are also dished out to ‘dummy’ players representing people in the other house. This allows for error checking to take place so that the game doesn’t suffer at the hands of a forgotten/wrong manoeuvre!

Other games we’ve played
We always tend to start these evenings with a game of Perudo/Liar’s Dice. This game is very easy to play via this medium and can play in a matter of minutes.

Taboo is another game that works well. Again, another party game, but a lot of fun over Skype. The way we do it is to pair up with remote partners rather than stay in our natural household pairs. This way, one of us can check the banned words aren’t being used.

. Ok, so this is a bit of a cheat, but still kind of works. We each sign into an online Tichu game (we use and pair into two teams accordingly. This enables face-to-face play, but card management is managed via the software. This game wouldn’t work on Skype any other way.
Continuing on the Party game theme, Scattergories is also a winner and simple to set up. In the same vein, Balderdash and Pass the Bomb have also been played, albeit with slight rules modifications to take into account the medium used.


In Summary
We are still looking for more ideas of non-party games to play via Skype. We feel we have a nice mix of party and non-party in Hamburgum/Tichu, but of course would like to keep it board rather than software-based gaming. So, please feel free to post suggestions or let me know what has or what you think would work well over Skype.

our iPad Skype setup


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