The 10 best online board games to play in your browser (2023)

It's a universally recognized truth that board games are better in person. However, getting your gaming group together regularly, or at least recently, can sometimes be a frustrating and complicated matter of juggling schedules, traveling, and getting enough time to play something from start to finish. Fortunately, there are now hundreds of great online table games that can be played over the Internet, allowing you and your party to overcome some of the traditional barriers to enjoying a regular gaming session, no matter how far be.

The best online board games

  • code names
  • Diplomacy
  • landline
  • Catan Universe
  • Android: Netrunner
  • Domain
  • key forging
  • secret hitler
  • forgotten waters
  • Tabletop Arena/Tabletopia

While board game apps offer a dedicated experience that you can take with you on your phone or PC, many online board games don't require you to download anything, providing a sleek and refined experience that you can load into your Internet browser. And start. playing in a matter of seconds. Many also handle the hard work of remembering the rules and making it easy for new players to join and learn the game. Even better, many of them are also available for free!

Whether you're looking to get your group's favorite games online during lockdown, find a new group to play, or try something you haven't played yet, these online board games will get you in and start playing.

1. Code names

The hit word guessing game is online

Minesweeper meets Taboo, Codenames has become a staple of board game collections for beginners and veterans alike since it first burst onto the scene in 2015. If you somehow missed the instant modern classic, it's a game Challenging Phrase Game: Teams take turns guessing words on a grid of cards, carefully guided toward their hidden spies, and away from their opponents, by their Clue Giver's one-word clues. Trying to target multiple answers with a single clue is the key to victory, trying to find the perfect thing to link "forest", "bee" and "sun" (Nature? Flower? Yellow?) or "Olympus ", "planet". ” and “Big Bang” (Jupiter, maybe? Or is that too much of a stretch?).

The simplicity of the code names makes it the perfect choice for an online board game, aided by the release of an official browser app developed by creator Czech Games Edition. The free online version includes word packs from various Codenames games, including a two-player spin-off duo and several bonus packs, and multiple languages, with a slick interface that makes it easy to keep track of past clues and the number of spies left. . All you need is to send your friends the link of your room and start guessing.

Number of players:2+

Play Codenames online

2. Diplomacy

Lie to your friends over the Internet to conquer Europe in a classic strategy game

Diplomacy is a classic of the grand strategy genre, emerging in the 1950s as a game of devious plots and brutal betrayals. Players attempt to lead their European nation to victory by conquering the map and forming uneasy alliances to advance. Teaming up is required to drive opposing units out of regions, but the actions are done in secret and resolved all at the same time, with players vowing to help one another one moment, only to betray and invade the next. It's no wonder he's considered a real-life friendship destroyer.

Lying to your friends in person, even in the context of a board game, can understandably make some uncomfortable. Fortunately, the free browser-based Diplomacy clone, Backstabbr, offers a way to interact with the game's tense tactics and social strategy with an extra layer of separation. Gameplay is exactly the same as at the table, but direct player interactions are limited to "press" communications, presenting the opportunity to play your early 20th century leader and increasingly passive messaging -aggressive to "My dear Tsar", "comrades Europeans". or "unwanted neighbor." The online game's extended timeline also allows the political machinations to feel less intense, with turns occurring over the course of days and weeks rather than minutes and hours.

Backstabbr offers a way for more people to experience a timeless classic with some of its thornier aspects toned down, just enough to make it fun rather than irritating, all the same. The epic social strategy continues to stand out as a board game like no other, and its online counterpart might well be the best way to play today.

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Number of players:2-7

Play Diplomacy online

3. Call

Draw and guess the way to avoid miscommunication in this Telestrations-a-like

Rocketcrab's library of online table games brings together a number of popular party games in a mobile-friendly format and offers a browser-based hub for favorites, from the social deduction game Spyfall to third-party spins on party games. Wavelength and Just One.

One of the featured games available to play for free is Drawphone, a game similar to the popular board game Telestrations, based on the public domain game titled Eat Poop You Cat. True to its name, Drawphone plays like a phone game, but with pictures: each player draws something, then passes the 'paper' to their virtual neighbor, who guesses what the previous person drew, before the guess becomes the clue for the next one. doodler, and so on until everyone has contributed to the chain of images and guesses.

With no actual points on offer, the reward is seeing how close (or far) the final guess was to the original message. Not particularly, as is often the case, which makes misunderstandings and misinterpretations all the more fun.

Number of players:4+

Play Drawphone online

4. Catan Universe

Solve an island while browsing the web

Catan is everywhere, from official shoes and notably less official beer cans to the desks of Hollywood stars and (at some point) even on the big screen. It's only natural, then, that the classic board game also has a strong presence on the internet.

Catan Universe brings Klaus Teuber's building and commercial success to PC and phones as an app that replicates the original Catan, as well as several of its many expansions from the past 25 years, and even some unique variants.

Players can challenge their human friends or AI opponents to games, with the free version of the online board game offering a tutorial, matches for up to three players, and access to the Catan The Duel card game.

Catan remains a constant game for those new to the hobby for a reason, and its digital version makes it easy for you to enjoy the classic whether you're new to it or have been playing for decades.

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Number of players:3-4

Play Catan online atCatan Universe

5. Android: Network Runner

An online revival for the beloved living card game

Android: Netrunner had an afterlife. Although the beloved living card game about hackers and invading megacorporation systems was officially canceled at the end of 2018, it has managed to survive both in physical form thanks to the community-led Project NISEI and in digital form fitting in with the online version. Jinteki.

Jinteki offers the full catalog of Netrunner cards for players to build digital decks and experiment in two-player matches, as well as a selection of different formats available through the browser-based application.

While Jinteki's online interface and deck-building tool mean it's best for Android: Netrunner players who are already familiar with the card game, it also offers an opportunity for those who couldn't play the game in person. to find players to play and learn against. play.

Number of players:2

Play Android: Netrunner online

6. Domain

Decking goes digital

The original deckbuilder, and still able to hold its own against many more recent entries in the genre it spawned, Dominion starts players with a small stack of cards and allows them to build their deck by acquiring new cards each turn, which are then added to. to his deck, your discards to the stack and eventually back to the hand.

It's a game of constant dynamics, as you build up your pool of more powerful cards to acquire more points and more currency to acquire more powerful cards... and so on. Part of the appeal of Dominion, and of the many, many expansions released for Donald X. Vaccarino's influential core game since 2008, is the ability to combine a different selection of cards in each game, both on the shared market and on your own. mallet. , offering massive amounts of customization and replay value every time you play.

Dominion's online counterpart offers the base set for free, with enough cards to mix and match for hours of varied gameplay, but also offers the chance to try over a dozen expansions to the game for a relatively small monthly subscription fee. . There's the ability to check a database of cards and mark cards you're familiar with, or like or don't like, and create custom tables with friends or take on strangers on the internet.

Like Dominion, the online board isn't the flashiest experience, but it does offer a completely solid digital version of a game that continues to stand the test of time. Whether you're diving into deckbuilders for the first time or looking to return to a classic, it's a great way to play.

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Number of players:2-6

Play Dominion online

7. Key forging

An unofficial way to play the exclusive card game online

While Keyforge might not be as big a name as designer Richard Garfield's other competitive card games, Magic: The Gathering and Netrunner, it's no less innovative. Giving each player a set of cards chosen by an algorithm to ensure no two decks are alike in the world, the 'one deck game' sees players compete to forge three keys by collecting Æmber and slowing down their opponent by attacking their monsters and using special abilities.

Along with its Smart Decks, which cannot be customized or changed to ensure their unique nature, Keyforge offers a clever way to allow players to always do something on their turn. Each deck is made up of three houses or factions. On their turn, each player chooses a house and can play as many cards from that faction as they want, instead of having to spend mana or other limited resources like in other card games. As such, Keyforge is a game where you can always do something to try to win, instead of sitting around waiting for the correct card to be drawn.

Crucible Online offers an unofficial online version of Keyforge that can be played in your browser against other people from around the world. The app offers the possibility to import decks that you have registered in the official Fantasy Flight Games Master Vault app to try them online, as well as the option of different formats or to watch other players' games and learn some tactics. Although it is a fan-made offering, it is comprehensive, capable of bringing the card game online.

Number of players:2

Play Keyforge online atO Crucible online

8. Secret Hitler

Social Deduction Success Leaks Online

While Secret Hitler's pseudo-historical setting of pre-WWII Germany may not be for everyone, there's no doubt that the game of liberals and fascists fighting over legislation, while attempting to assassinate or hasten the rise of the evil dictator , is one of the best social deduction games in years.

The two factions vote to pass or reject various laws, and the liberals try to remove hidden fascists from their ranks before they can gain too much power and bring Hitler to power. With two players elected chancellor and president in each round, the table is set for heated debate and speculation over who voted for or against fascist policies. What makes it more difficult are the government powers that the fascists will be able to deploy as they gain strength, with the liberals looking to reclaim their own dominance by passing their laws first, or by removing Hitler to stop the threat.

Browser-based Secret Hitler offers an easy way to play over the Internet. With most of the focus on the discussion, the site provides the game boards that track the position of each faction and the presidential powers available, as well as automate parts of the setup and the game round. Whether you're joining a game with strangers or just looking for a way to play with friends when you can't be together, it's an effective way to bring debate and discussion online.

Number of players:5-10

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Play Secret Hitler online

9. Forgotten Waters

Play your copy of the pirate board game across the waves

While different in nature from the other online board games listed above, Forgotten Waters deserves a place on this list as one of the most impressive solutions for playing board games on the internet. While the above games are standalone versions of their physical counterparts that do not require ownership of the original games, Forgotten Waters offers a remote game assistant that allows a copy of the pirated board game to be played with others over the Internet.

The remote is used in addition to the obligatory Forgotten Waters browser-based companion app, which provides random Crossroads events, narration, and options for players to do as they sail the high seas together on a pirate ship. The remote gives all players a way to keep track of the status of their ship, including available supplies, crew, and hull damage, as well as replacing the flip book used to represent the different locations that found when exploring the world. This presents players with multiple actions to take each round, sending their pirates exploring, trading, and even fighting as they progress through each scenario.

One player acts as a moderator modifying the various tracks and features, while the others can play largely as if they were sitting in the same room. All you might want to do is point a webcam at the map to show the ship's current location, and each player will need a unique, freely downloadable player sheet to track their character's history and unique characteristics.

Forgotten Waters' remote assistant is an impressive addition to an already impressive experience, which means that no matter how many oceans lie between you and your team, you can play together over the Internet.

Number of players:4-7

Play Forgotten Waters online using theremote assistant app

10. Tabletop Arena/Tabletopia

Hundreds of online board games in your browser

While we have already listed many of the best board games available online, there are hundreds more. Many of them can be found on two websites: Board Game Arena and Tabletopia. While the two sites are similar, they also have a number of differences, offering different selections of online table games, which are worth checking out.

Board Game Arena and Tabletopia offer the ability to play board games in your browser without the need to download a separate app like Tabletop Simulator. Tabletopia offers a more tabletop sim-like experience, with a 3D virtual environment where players can move cards, tokens and other pieces freely, but that means you'll also have to do the work of remembering the rules and play correctly yourself.

Board Game Arena, meanwhile, pares things down to a streamlined interface. One big benefit is that many of the board games in their library feature automated rules that add points for you, tell you what you can do each round, and prevent you from accidentally (or deliberately) breaking the rules.

Both Tabletopia and Board Game Arena have large libraries of official, publisher-approved games, and you have the option to play some games for free or pay a relatively small monthly subscription to unlock premium features. While some games work better than others, they are one of the best ways to get an instant collection of online board games to play with your friends when you can't be together.

Number of players:1+

Play board games online atboard game fieldmitabletopia.

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