I think it’s pretty safe to say that life as we know it has changed.
Right now, many of us are under assault by stressful unknowns. News and social media barrage us with constant updates, an endless array of questions but few answers. We live in an age of ubiquitous information, but in these times of duress, the uncontrolled surge of reports and thinly-veiled speculation can harm our ability to keep on keepin' on.
Modulating our consumption is a pivotal part of navigating the modern information minefield. We each need to find ways to step back, take a breath, and ready ourselves for the next step forward. It is crucial to identify and protect the activities, the communities, that rebuild and recharge us.
For a lot of us, gaming is our haven. By extension, the places we frequent to discuss and plan our games become like sanctuaries. Gamers with Jobs is a safe harbor for many of us. Of course, we naturally feel the need to engage with our peers and friends to discuss what ails us and the world at large. I just want to stress the importance of respecting boundaries within the site. We are primarily a gaming website, and many folks come here specifically to escape the external onslaught.
I'm asking folks to refrain from creating even more threads or diverting other conversations toward COVID-19 and the surrounding politics. Discussions of the pandemic have a way of sucking all the air out of the room, and we already have plenty of existing threads on the topic. So, before you create a new thread, please look to the following: here, here, here, and here. If duplicate threads are created, be advised they may get locked and redirected to one of the existing threads. Also, comments that derail into pandemic talk can be moved to a more appropriate thread or shuffled around if necessary. I have no wish to stifle conversations on the topic, as they can often be healthy, but I do want to contain them to ensure the rest of the forum can continue to be a refuge from the storm.
Even more, though, I want to emphasize how important it is, now more than ever, for many of us to gather and commune in any way we are able, especially when so many of us are expected to isolate. We can gather strength from the support of our communities. In order to help facilitate this, I've compiled a list of distance-gaming resources as mentioned in our most recent podcast.
If you have suggestions or information to add to this resource list below, post a reply and I will add them to the main post.
Distance Gaming Resources
Online Boardgame Resources
Boiteajeux Modest, but relatively popular French, German, and English online boardgaming site. Agricola, Dixit, and more.
Board Game Arena Probably the biggest and most popular online board gaming website at the moment. Many classic and popular games. Lots of automated movement, scoring, and ease-of-use adjustments for online gaming. GWJ has an open group here. Premium membership guarantees better connectivity and ability to start more game tables. Browser chat enabled, third party chat recommended due to some connectivity issues and site overload.
Boardgamecore, which has a fantastic asynchronous implementation of Splotter Spellen's Food Chain Magnate, as well as a few other games.
Brettspielwelt Probably the longest-running online boardgame site, specializing in German board games. Used to be more niche before Board Game Arena and Tabletopia started carrying more of those game types. Less heavily trafficked than the previous two sites.
Codenames A free, web-based client that allows folks to play a digital version of Codenames by Vlaada Chvátil. Some kind of third-party voice/video chat client is required.
Happy Meeple Smaller, simpler board game site with a dozen games and focus on card, tile, and dice. Mostly good-quality two-player games.
Tabletopia Recently updated, seems more stable. Has a few classics, also many off-the-beaten-path games. Potential for exploring a variety of new game types. Premium membership nets more games.
Tabletop Simulator Access to addons for the likes of games such as Wingspan, Settlers of Cataan, Carcassone, Splendor, Scythe, and more. As this is a non-automated system, players are responsible for manually scoring, moving, and organizing pieces if used for board gaming.
Yucata Another online board game site with a large user base. Agricola, Puerto Rico, Terra Mystica, and more.
6 Best Sites to Play Board Games for Free! by Emily Sargeantson (Blog Post)
Online Tabletop RPGs:
Roll20.net Modules, character sheets, dice-rolling, and other resources for running and participating in online TTRPGs. Fates, Paizo, D&D, and a variety of other systems available. Plenty of dungeon maps, puzzles, and a variety of GM tools as well.
Astral Tabletop Provides both free and paid features for recreating tabletop experiences. Beautifully detailed animated maps, tokens, tiles, server storage, and character sheet management.
Fantasy Grounds Either one-time purchase or monthly subscriptions available. Long running, officially licensed, generally paid content worth supporting. Paizo, Savage Worlds, Deadlands, and more.
Tabletop Simulator Customizable, often free or low-cost user-made content available. Non-automated movement, all player controlled. Modular and potentially more flexible for importing custom images, tokens, pieces, and parts. Requires strong GM familiarity with operating Tabletop Simulator.
DND Beyond A fantastic companion for any 5E online game. Character creation, sheet management, stat tracking, inventory...it does it all. The customization and organization work very well for shared campaigns. The at-your-fingertips resources make the crunchier aspects of RPG management easy.
Discord Much of our community gathers and plays to talk, plan, and game together over on The GWJ Discord server found here. Discord has the ability to "stream" games, windows, displays, and programs directly into their voice channels, allowing for game-screen sharing with near real-time speed.
Hop over to #watercooler for general text chat, or get in a voice chat to play a game. We now have an Apollo Bot in #apollo-events channel that we've just started using to coordinate play dates. Please feel free to use it! Please also note the rules before joining the server, and have fun!
Zoom Video chat popular for it's plug-and-play ease of use, it's currently free for up to 40 minutes at a time with a temporarily increased allowable party size. Paid accounts allow for larger groups and more use time. Also allows for low-delay screen streaming to the channel.
Video Game Stuff
GWJ Steam Community Group Post here to say hello and request invites to the group.
Itch.io's Games to Help you Stay Inside (pay what you want)
Good Old Games special offers and free games.
Jackbox.tv Login site for players on their own personal devices (PC, Mobile) Best used remotely by screen-sharing in Discord, Zoom, or Mixer and being in the same voice chat together as players.
This is just the beginning of the list, and any additional suggestions and tips are always appreciated.
If you haven't before, please consider joining us through the links above by playing games and staying connected. We'd love to have you!