Friday, October 19, 2007

Computerized board gaming

Normally, on Fridays, my roleplaying group has a Fate session and I write up the report on the weekend. This week, two of our players were out, so instead, you get a board gaming article.

There are two kinds of board gamers: those who like playing computerized versions of board games, and those who don't. I personally like playing computer versions of board games. Sure, I don't like it as much as gaming with other people at a real table, but I have nothing against electronic board gaming. It's still fun, even if I'm playing AI.

Today, I will share with you the sites where I play, as well as one downloadable game I've found to be worth playing.

Brettspielwelt (BSW)

Brettspielwelt is the ultimate site for real-time board gaming against human opponents all over the world. BSW is a German site, but you can play and communicate in English. Learning how to navigate can be a little daunting at first, but there are people online who will help answer questions. There are live chats when you are logged in. You can use these chats to find people to play with or ask questions. Fortunately, the interface requires nothing more than a bunch of mouse clicks.

BSW has a huge selection of games to choose from. Games I have played are Diamant, Hey! That's My Fish!, To Court the King, and Thurn and Taxis.

If you want to have an English interface, I highly recommend going here and downloading the sample prop file. Once you've downloaded it, change the name to "Brettspielwelt.prop" and put it in the program folder where the prop file is stored. It will overwrite the original one, unless you change the name of the old one first. Before opening the program, open the prop file with a text editor program (Wordpad on Windows or TextEdit on Mac OS X). Toward the top of the file you will see:

Name = Yourname
Password = Yourpassword

You need to change "Yourname" to your own BSW login name, and "Yourpassword" to your own BSW password. If you don't want to automatically log in, just delete these two lines of text and save the prop file.

Play Coloretto at

Coloretto is one of my favorite games. I might have never discovered that, had it not been for Matthew Marquand. His site was the first place I learned to play Coloretto. Soon after, I bought the game. It has been one of my top 10 games every since. This implementation is very good, and the AI is good as well. He also has implementations of Ingenious and Clans on his site.

Play Citadels at

Citadels was my second eurogame (the first was The Settlers of Catan). I found Citadels at a FLGS a few years ago and decided to pick it up. This is one of my favorite games to this day. This implementation of Citadels is very good, as is the AI. It includes every purple district from the Dark City expansion. The one downside is that you can't use any of the expansion characters.


Although I'm not the biggest fan of Carcassonne (Toulouse), I like playing it on this site. The bots think so fast that I can blast through a game quickly, the way I prefer Carc. You can also play an implementation of The Settlers of Catan (Xplorers) here.

Days of Wonder

Having already owned Ticket to Ride: Märklin Edition, I wanted to give the original Ticket to Ride a try. Days of Wonder has a few of its games available for online play. You can join other people's games for free, but to start a game, you have to be subscribed. I had the free temporary subscription which came with TTR:M, so I used it to learn TTR online. You can play TTR against humans or bots. The bot AI is quite good. Having enjoyed the original TTR online, I eventually bought it.

Play Cartagena at

My friends and I have enjoyed a few games of Cartagena on this site. This was actually where we originally tried the game. Two people have purchased the game since then. This is a play-by-email (PBEM) system.


This site has several PBEM games. I have played Samurai, Hansa, and Richelieu - all very good implementations.


I have played great implementations of Tikal and Hacienda here. My friends and I attempted to try Reef Encounter and Hoity Toity, but bailed because we couldn't figure out what the heck we were doing. I suppose we should have read the instructions more carefully before playing. Despite the popularity of Reef Encounter, trying to understand that game was misery for me. I'm sure it's fun once you figure out all the workings of it, but I still shudder to this day at the thought of it....

Those are all the sites I have frequented for online play. And here is one downloadable computer board game I have found to be very good:

Download JSanJuan

JSanJuan, by André Wichmann, is a wonderful implementation of San Juan which can run on any system with Java. The AI is very, very good. I have won maybe 20% of the games I've played.

There are many other places to play board games online. I have yet to try them. Here are a list of some other sites you might want to investigate. I have not tried them myself as of yet:

Mr. Jack: play Mr. Jack against human opponents multiple games, site is in French multiple games, English language option multiple games multiple games, site is in French Lost Cities and Schotten Totten

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