We have you covered for all of your cell phone, tablet, Steam, and even Nintendo Switch playing needs between our extensive review database and our comprehensive database of all existing digital board games. Despite this, there has been a hole in our coverage here at Pixelated Cardboard: games that don't have a dedicated app. This is a wide ranging area that can include web-based versions, websites or software with large libraries to choose from, or others. We have aimed to correct this oversight by presenting our list of Places to Play Board Games Online.
The intent for this page is for us to keep it updated as best as possible. Some of these are adding games way too often to keep a current list, but we will call those out when that is the case. As always, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we missed anything, or simply comment below!
Board Game Arena
How: Web-based vs humans
Cost: Free/$2-$4 per month
Top Games: Carcassonne, 7 Wonders, Kingdomino, Terra Mystica, Stone Age, Puerto Rice, Sushi Go, Race/Roll for the Galaxy, etc...
What: Board Game Arena is a web-based platform with a large list of well known games. Games are strictly played against human opponents which you can find via lobby systems or using friend invites. Board Game Arena offers a user friend experience, with most games having tutorials to learn and an easy to understand interface. There are a slew of games available for free, but a second entire slew's worth available on their premium tier. This costs all of $2/mo if you pay in advance for a year and $4/mo if you choose to pay monthly.
Board Game Geek List
Top Games: 18XX games, 7 Wonders, Brass: Birmingham, Troyes, way too many others to list
What: This isn't a single platform, but rather a Geeklist which contains hundreds of links to specific websites where you can play specific games. Many of the links overlap with other entries on our list here, but this is a very hand game-based listing of what is out there.
How: Web-based or downloadable vs humans and some AI
Top Games: Viticulture, Q.E,, Euphoria, Hive, a lot of abstracts
What: Board Space can be played in your browser or via a downloadable app. All games on the site feature play against humans, with some featuring AI and others solo modes.
Top Games: Food Chain Magnate, Antiquity, The Great Zimbabwe
What: Web-based implementation of Splotted games. Splotter games are known for being long, incredibly complex strategy titles. This is a very nice website, but if you want to play some of the deepest games available online, Boardgamecore is a good choice.
Top Games: Agricola, Concordia, Dungeon Petz, Kanban, Trajan
What: Boiteajeux has an impressive list of heavy euro style games free to play in their browser interface. You sign-up via email and you will, twice daily, receive emails letting you know it is your turn. The game list here is quite impressive and occasionally dips into non-heavy, non-euros such as Dixit. Or, for the combination of the above, Alhambra as a not terribly heavy, but still euro-y title.
Top Games: Carcassonne, Wizard, DOG, Catan
What: This is one of the originals. BrettspielWelt is a fairly dated looking site, but at the exact moment of my typing this sentence there were 2498 active users online. That probably tells you a lot about how well it works. The game list is limited, but this one has been around a while and is still highly active.
How: Web-based vs humans, AI, or solo
Top Games: Lost Cities, Hanamikoji, Circle the Wagons, Ragins Bulls
What: Happy Meeple offers a web-based way to learn and play a variety of games. The site will step you through learning games with a series of small tutorials. When it comes time to play, you will encounter a short wait while a live opponent is searched for. Should it succeed, you will play a real-time game against them. Should it not, you will play against AI. Either way, you are playing in short order!
Top Games: D&D, Pathfinder, Call of Cthulhu
What: Roll20 is a place to play RPGs. DnD is the headliner, but the site features many other popular systems and has a massive user base.
Cost: Free (requires Google account)
Top Games: Tammany Hall, After the Flood, Confucius, Guild of Thieves, Indonesia
What: Sloth Ninja offers free web-based play of some heavy strategy games, and also Guild of Thieves. The names may not jump out to those, including myself, who aren't overly familiar with the heavy strategy gaming world, but a closer look reveals some likely gems. After the Flood is a Martin Wallace design, Indonesia sits just outside the top 200 on BGG's overall list, Tammany Hall comes highly recommended. The only potential downside is that signing up requires a Google account.
Where: tabletopsimulator.com and Steam/Humble Store/etc...
How: PC/Mac app
Cost: $19.99 (frequently goes on sale)
Top Games: Comes with classic abstracts, but community has developed many, many modern games
What: Tabletop Simulator is, well, a simulated tabletop. It's main purpose is to provide a sandbox in which to play, and leaves it up to the users to implement games. The community has responded with versions of games such as Gloomhaven, Brass: Birmingham, On Mars, Taverns of Tiefenthal, Underwater Cities, Azul, and many, many more. There is a learning curve to this software, but it has more games to offer than any other service due to its open-ended nature. We recommend checking out the dedicated subreddit (here) to see if this is something you might want to dive into, there are helpful sidebar links and a large community to discuss the platform with.
How: Browser or app
Cost: Free/$4.99/$9.99 per month tiers
Top Games: Wingspan, Scythe, Everdell, Sub Terra, Viticulture, Roll Player
What: Tabletopia is a simulated tabletop system. On the free tier you can play a limited number of simultaneous game sessions and a you won't have access to the "premium" games. The silver and gold tiers both add access to the premium games and allow more simultaneous game sessions. A big draw of Tabletopia, along with the expansive game library, is the ability to play via browser, PC/Mac app, or even iOS/Android apps.
How: Downloadable app
Top Games: Twilight Struggle, Race for the Galaxy, Through the Ages, Pandemic, Mage Knight, Carcassone, Burgle Bros
What: Vassal has a reputation as a war game focused site, and it certainly does deliver there, but the library expands beyond that scope into some of the most popular games of all time. Users download the free software to start playing and enjoy the huge list of games built up by one of the longest running pieces of software in digital tabletop.
How: Web browser
Top Games: Castles of Burgundy, Machi Koro, Snowdonia, El Grande, At the Gates of Loyang, Imhotep, Carpe Diem
What: Yucata.de is a free, web-based online platform. The game list is long and impressive, featuring many notable Euro style games. The platform allows, and actually recommends, asynchronous play. Rules for each game are presenting similarly to a physical rulebook, with special notes when a Yucata-specific feature is involved.