board games online
board games online
By Yvonne Eve Walus
Let’s face it, the kids spend a lot more time
indoors in the winter. Here’s a great excuse for
some cosy, fun screen time – the family way.
With so many computer games around, it’s important to
define what qualifies as a board game. A board game
involves counters or game pieces that are placed and moved
on a marked surface (called a board), according to a set of
well-defined rules. Board games are based on luck (like
rolling a set of dice), or strategy, or a combination of both.
Traditional board games involved a
war between two armies (think
chess). Most modern board games
are still based on winning points
at the cost of your opponent,
although some allow players to
play co-operatively in order to
achieve a common goal. Board
game themes range from solving
murder mysteries (Cluedo), to building
civilisations (Stone Age), or defeating evil forces
(The Lord of the Rings board game).
before you begin
ages and stages
Get to know the games your child wants to play. You
may want to participate or observe, but remain
positively engaged. Find out what their favourite
games are and why; which ones are particularly
challenging; whether they prefer games with pretty
boards, interesting settings, or interesting strategies.
Check the ratings for the games that your children want to
play. Most pure board games will have age recommendations
only because of the complexity of the game play, but
because of the online aspect, it may pay to check any actual
age restrictions due to the game’s themes or content.
Online board games are an enjoyable way for the children
to connect with their friends, but it’s important for them to
understand that, just like with any other social media, they
should not post their photos or any personal details. Let
them know they can come to you if an online player makes
them feel uncomfortable.
Finally, make sure your computer has adequate security such
as a firewall, anti-spyware software, and anti-virus programmes.
safety tips for children
•Think before you download anything onto your
computer. Programmes that promise to help solve
the game puzzles or boost your ranking could be
carrying viruses or spyware.
•If another player is making you feel uncomfortable,
tell a trusted adult.
•Learn how to block and report cyberbullying and
unacceptable behaviour. Keep a record of what
they said, but don’t respond.
• Protect your personal information.
•Never agree to meet people from your gaming
world in person.
where to play?
Most strategy board games for ages 7 and up can be played
on their own dedicated sites, for example, The Lord of The
Rings online game can be found on lotro.com. However,
some simpler games can be played on general sites:
•Boardgamearena.com has a polished feel to it and the
people on it are friendly. Everybody plays in real time so
you don’t have to wait for hours for the other player to
make a move. Games you can play there: Dominion,
Stone Age, Puerto Rico, Race for the Galaxy, Can’t
Stop, Kahuna, Haggis.
•In contrast, if you play on ItsYourTurn.com, you only take
one turn at a time. This way you and your opponents don’t
have to be online at the same time. You can also invite
your family and real-life friends to a game you’re hosting
online: this way, you play with people you know. It’s simple
to use: No Java, no Flash, no downloads needed. You can
play for free or become a paid member. They offer games
such as Backgammon, Battleboats, Chess, Checkers, Go,
Reversi, and Sabotage.
•Pogo.com is family-friendly and offers a lot of variety.
You will have to register as a player, and although it’s
free, they will try to convert you into a paid member. The
vast gaming catalogue may be worth it, though.
ames.com allows you to play lots of games, not only
board games. You can use the site as a guest without
ibagames.com has the ever-popular Candyland online,
as well as a multitude of games grouped under
headings such as Skill, Puzzle, Sport, Multiplayer. For
those of you who don’t mind gender-differentiation, they
even have games aimed specifically at girls’ interests.
ame-oldies.com lets you play retro games in your
browser, or at least what the world considers “retro” today.
not strictly board games
Many online games for children are not strictly
board games, but they are still fun:
• Tic Tac Toe
• Gin Rummy
• Free Cell
• Mine Sweeper
• Harry Potter Adventure Games
• Nancy Drew Online Adventure
• Checkers, Candyland, Snakes and Ladders,
• In The Settlers of Catan, you use wood, clay,
Monopoly Junior, Scrabble Junior
stone, and other commodities to build roads and
houses on an island. Your settlements produce
resources that you can utilise yourself or trade them
with other players. The board is pretty but it allows
plenty of scope for imagination. Catan is one of the
most popular games in recent history because it can be
enjoyed by experienced and new players alike.
• Suburbia is a tile-laying game in which each player
can plan, build, and develop a small town into a
major metropolis. As your town grows, you’ll have
more cash on hand to purchase better and more
valuable buildings. As your reputation increases,
you’ll gain more and more population. The winner is
the player with the largest population. There’s an
app you can download to play.
• Risk is a strategic war game. The goal is to conquer
• Lost Cities was originally a card game, but it’s now
available to play online. It’s a quick fun game in
which players gain points by planning and mounting
profitable archaeological expeditions to different
parts of the world. Despite its theme, it’s a numbers
game, not a geography game.
• Stone Age sounds similar to Catan, but it’s
more complex. The players become hunters,
collectors, farmers, and tool makers. They trade and
expand their village to achieve new levels of civilisation.
•In Dominion, you are a ruler of a small kingdom of
rivers and evergreens, and your goal is to expand it.
You must race other monarchs to get as much of the
unclaimed land as possible, by hiring minions,
constructing buildings, sprucing up your castle, and
filling your treasury.
•In Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, you
solve mysteries. Trace the evidence, interview
suspects, search the newspapers for clues, and
analyse your findings to reach a solution. No luck is
involved, which may be a plus for some kids. This
game is a fun puzzle set in historically-accurate
Victorian era. Discover who is responsible for the
missing paintings from the National Gallery, who
murdered Oswald Mason, and what’s behind the
curse of the mummy.