Revisiting Board Game Arena

About 6 months ago, I blogged about a new-to-me online service I’d come across: Board Game Arena. At the time, I’d just started using it for a while. It was a great way to connect with friends across the country and play any number of games with them. I felt it had a wide variety of games, even if some of their implementations could be a little clunky from time to time. There’s a free version that lets anyone play a selection of free games or any of the games, as long as one member of the group is a subscriber. A year subscription costs a bit under $30, as I recall.

Here we are, 6 months later, and I’m still using it fairly regularly, and I’m still pleased with the service. In fact, I’d say it’s only gotten better. Asmodee bought the site back in February, which gave me some consternation, as I worried they might just be buying it to get rid of one of their competitors. But instead of killing it off, they’ve devoted more attention to it. You might not recognize Asmodee if you don’t play a lot of board games, but it’s a big mover and shaker in the industry, second only to Hasbro. It also includes Fantasy Flight Games and Days of Wonder, and there are a slew of great games under its umbrella.

Sure enough, since buying the site, they’ve brought some of their games over to it. Splendor is there now, and Pandemic was just released in beta not too long ago. I tried it out, and the implementation is just as robust as an iPad app, which is really impressive. In some ways, I enjoyed the virtual board game more than the real life flavor. It was much easier to get an overview of what was going on, and it’s wonderful to not have to constantly shuffle cards. (Though for some games, I really miss having the bits to fiddle with when it’s not my turn . . .) In Pandemic’s case, it was also great that there was literally no way to just show the other person what cards you have. Too often with Pandemic, it devolves into one person telling everyone else what they need to do, so that it’s nothing more than a game of spectator solitaire. When the information is hidden, that makes that less likely.

Anyway. Just wanted to poke back on here to give an update. This is in no way a sponsored post. Just wanted to pass along more good impressions from a service I use often enough to really appreciate its existence. Happy playing!


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