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How Playing Board Games Online Saved My Social Life During Lockdown

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How Playing Board Games Online Saved My Social Life During Lockdown
There Will Be Games

If you’re anything like me, then the lockdown measures over the last year may have left your social life in the discard pile. It is through these uncertain times that I have come to realise just how important it is to regularly connect with my friends and family. With many of us now working from home, only leaving the home out of necessity, it should come as no surprise that this is not a personal issue, but an issue that has gripped society as a whole. In this blog I talk about how playing Catan online saved my social life during lockdown

Adapting Amidst a Global Pandemic

If you can think back to March last year, then you may remember adding a whole list of new words to your vocabulary, from “social distancing” to “remote working”, it became clear that we would need to adapt our lives amidst a global pandemic. 

With social interactions out of the window, many people took to the internet, using services such as Zoom or Houseparty to catch up with their loved ones. Unlike meeting face to face, however, I faced many issues when meeting with my friends online. 

Firstly, I found that the flow of conversation was very different online. In order for everyone to be heard, my friends and I needed to take it in turns to speak. This led the conversations to feel very disjointed, with a distinct lack of focus. On top of this, there were also constraints on the platform itself, such as the 40-minute time limit on free Zoom calls. 

Playing Board Games Online

For this reason, I began to play video games online with my friends, giving us a clear focus while also allowing us to chat away to our heart’s content. This was a great solution and allowed me to once again regain a sense of normality. The only issue here was that not everybody that I knew had access to the latest video game console.

As I looked at my shelf, I noticed Catan sitting there, gathering dust. It reminded me of the evenings that I would invite a few friends over for a board game night.  I wondered whether there was an alternative to Catan online. After a quick Google search, I found a few alternatives such as Catan Universe. Although the graphics and interface were top-notch, there were severe bugs and issues that caused the game to be unplayable. On top of this, you were each required to pay for the base game in order to play 4-player Catan online. 

A Free Alternative to Catan Online

It was at this point that I found Colonist. Not only did this game feel just like playing Catan online for free, but it was also free to play with 4 players! This alternative to Catan also had a huge range of additional maps and ways to play, making every game completely different. When creating a game, I had the option to change the number of victory points required to win, the nature of the dice (balanced or random) as well as the speed of the game. 

Colonist also has a Discord server, making it easy to connect with others or to find a game, as well as the in-game chat. For friends looking to play a few games with voice chat, the discord server makes it incredibly simple to send an invite to a voice channel and enjoy your game without any time limit or disruption.

If you’re like me, the thought of being able to play a forward-thinking alternative to Catan Universe with expansions to boot (and even the possibility of up to 8 players) makes the thought of lockdown a lot more bearable. 

There Will Be Games
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