With the holiday season being… for lack of a more original word, unprecedented, it’s not exactly easy to gather around a table and play games with the family the way you usually would. And that can be disappointing! I know it is for me; I have a handful of new game suggestions that I want to share with my father who loves lightweight games, but we have no plans to see each other in person for a bit. It’s okay to feel that sting. But the great thing about gamers is we know how to solve a puzzle.
Calliope’s entire mission has been about gathering folks around a table to create lasting memories. So what do we do when we can’t gather around a table? In the illustrious words of Ross Gellar, we PIVOT! Between Zoom, FaceTime, Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia, apps etc., it’s really become easier than ever to play games remotely. And we want to share with you the best Calliope games to play remotely with your family to create some brand-new memories.
Tsuro: The Game of the Path
Tsuro has an award-winning app from Thunderbox Entertainment that plays up to 8 people and is available on Android, Apple, Steam and more. It gives you the full Tsuro experience, and can be played all at once or turn by turn (perfect for when you need a quick break from mashing potatoes for the very first time).
If you have just one person Skype-ing in, you can actually play Tsuro with the physical copy! Prop that one player’s tiles up so only their camera can see them, and make sure they have a clear view of the board. They’ll tell you which tile they want and in which orientation. I’ve played this way several times, and the laughter induced from the, “no not your left, my left!” interactions add a whole other level of fun.
Roll for It!
Roll for It! also has an excellent app from Thunderbox Entertainment that allows you to play the Red or Purple edition, and has a bunch of different dice that you can’t get in the physical version. You shake your phone to roll the dice, and the game plays exactly the same as the physical version.
Don’t want to play on an app? You could play with just one copy of the game and an impartial roller such as a dice tower, and let the players tell you where they want their dice allocated. Insistent on rolling your own dice and happen to have your own copy? Find the matching cards you’re trying to roll for, and roll your own dice! This game probably has the most versatility for playing remotely, so if you have another suggestion, let us know!
Hive Mind is Calliope’s contribution to trivia and party games! Designed by Richard Garfield (of Magic the Gathering and King of Tokyo fame), in this game you’re not trying to find the best, funniest, or most correct answer, you’re trying to come up with the answer that the most people playing will also have given. So if the question is “Name 3 flavors of popsicle,” it doesn’t matter that “blue” isn’t a flavor, it’s a color; as long as you know other people playing will also give the answer “blue,” you’re going to get points. Hive Mind is our easiest game to play over Zoom with just one person having a physical copy, and it also plays the most players, with up to 12 people playing. Have more than 12 people? Play in teams! Or grab extra meeples from a different game and add more players. The more, the merrier!
Dicey Peaks/The Mansky Caper
As we learned this summer during our 12-hour streaming marathon raising money for Food Lifeline, both Dicey Peaks and The Mansky Caper are very easily playable remotely as long as one person has a copy of the game, and a camera good enough for people to clearly see the board. The person with the game will also act as everyone’s hands, moving dice, pawns, and tokens wherever the players decide; but all of the gameplay decisions are made entirely by the players. As far as The Manksy Caper is concerned, it’s almost like Big Al himself is pulling the strings!
Allegory/Mass Transit/Enchanted Plumes
These three games are the newest in the Calliope lineup, in fact they’re currently being funded on Kickstarter! Until December 11th, you can play all three of these games for free on Tabletop Simulator and they each play up to 6 players. Looking for a cooperative or even solo game? Give Mass Transit a try! Know some people who love poker and bidding, and want to show them the art of set collection? Time to try Allegory. Want to see some truly beautiful card art within a potentially cutthroat game? Check out Enchanted Plumes!
The truly wonderful thing about having these games on a digital platform is being able to play with people you’d never be able to get at a table at the same time. We’ve had the chance to play with designers and friends to create some fantastic moments that never would have been possible otherwise. We highly encourage you to do the same.
Happy Holidays from our family to yours! And if you get the chance to play some of these games in any capacity, make sure to tag us. We love seeing those memories getting made.