Want to play board games online for free? I’ve played board games on many different board game sites and selected the six best.
Playing board games online is a great way to try out games before you buy them, to practice and get better at games, and to satisfy that itch for playing a board game whenever you want!
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Here are the six sites I think are the best for playing board games online.
- Board Game Arena
- Boite a Jeux
- Happy Meeple
1. Board Game Arena
How many board games are on it? 150+
What kind of board games? Stone Age, Puerto Rico, Terra Mystica, Race for the Galaxy, 7 Wonders, Carcassonne, Seasons, Takenoko, Hanabi, Tzolk’in, Coup, Caylus, Russian Railroads, Keyflower
How much is it? Free!
Link to Board Game Arena
Board Game Arena has over 150 board games to play online. The games range from traditional classics like chess and backgammon to modern board games like Stone Age and Takenoko.
With a huge player base of over 1 million gamers, you will always find someone to play a game with. At the time I’m writing this there are 3000 players online. The site attracts a large user base partly because it is available in over 30 languages and over 300 countries.
It is completely free to access all the board games in the Board Game Arena library. There are premium features but you don’t need them to play any of the games.
You can play on any device using a browser if you have an internet connection. For example, your phone, tablet, PlayStation or Xbox.
The games can be played either in real-time or turn-based. Real-time games are where all the players are online at the same time and take their turns just as they would in real life. Turn-based games are where all the players are not online at the same time so a player takes their turn, submits it and then waits for the other player to take theirs. The time between turns could be hours or days.
If you join a real-time game make sure you stay to play it until the end. You will take a reputation hit if you need to leave a game part-way through. The amount of time you take to play a turn is also tracked so don’t fall into analysis paralysis! If your timer falls to 0 at any point during a game, another player can kick you out of the game. So don’t let that happen!
The Board Game Arena game lobby
There is a really nice and simple lobby chat room where online players can suggest games they’d like to play and provide a link to a game they have created. It’s a quick way for people to find players to start a game with. When the lobby gets busy, the table list can be quite long so using the chat to attract attention and get the empty player slots filled is a good idea.
In the game lobby you can see which game tables have free slots and who has joined each game. Each user has an experience level alongside their username so you can see the ability of the players in each game and choose the level of competitors you want to face.
The board games are helpfully sorted into categories by duration, complexity, theme, mechanism and number of players so you can easily find a game you’d like. There’s a filter at the top of the screen to help you refine your options.
The Board Game Arena interface
During a game the interface is clean and light and really easy to understand. You can see what actions an opponent took on their turn, turn times, game prompts and the player’s ELO rating (a rating system designed to calculate a player’s skill at games relative to other players).
Another thing that’s really nice is that if you hover your mouse over a card a tooltip text box will appear telling you what
You can add other members as friends and join gaming groups if you find people that you enjoyed gaming with. Each game has a chat feature where you can type to each other. With a free account you can only use the text chat feature, but with a premium account, you can use video and audio chat in game.
If you select a game, there is a How to Play? link which takes you through to a resource area to learn how to play. You can watch video on the rules, watch a game in progress and read the rules. A really cool feature of the How to Play? area is the ‘See the Game in Action’ feature. You can join a game against some AI players to learn how it works. So you get to learn by doing.
Summary – Playing board games on Board Game Arena
Overall, Board Game Arena has a lot of board games available to play for free. The site is easy to use and looks pretty good. There are so many players online at any one time that you can dive straight into a game. I can see why Board Game Arena is the most popular
How many board games are on it? 100+
What kind of board games? Stone Age, Puerto Rico, Terra Mystica, Alchemist, Fearsome Floors, Imhotep, Kahuna, Mystic Vale
How much is it? Free!
Link to Yucata
At the time I’m writing this there are 769 players online.
The Yucata game lobby
There is a chatroom for people to discuss what board games they’d like to play so they can quickly get a group together. The chatroom is multi-language, usually with a mixture of German and English conversations happening at the same time.
The site supports live group gameplay as well as turn-based games. Although there is more of an emphasis on turn-based games so you may find more of these available.
To find a game, you look at the current open invitations and select one that you want to play. You can see which members are currently in the game and whether they are currently online. All the games are arranged in alphabetical order so it’s easy to find the one you’re looking for.
Each game has an icon indicating whether it is a scored game or a training game, so you can practice playing a particular game without it affecting your stats on the site.
Some of the games specify a real-time turn speed and a turns per day speed. Turn speed is the number of seconds a player has to take their turn if players are playing a real-time game. Giving a time cap on the turns helps a game to move along more swiftly.
For turn-based board games, some games may specify the number of turns per day either 1 or X. One move a day is a helpful feature if you like to have multiple games on the go at the same time.
How the gameplay works on Yucata
When it is your turn to make a move in a game, you’ll get an email. If you’re playing multiple turn-based games at the same time you must take your oldest turn before the others.
You can play games as a guest without needing to register. But you can’t play a training game with an AI like on Board Game Arena.
Summary – Playing board games on Yucata
The interface for Yucata looks quite dated for finding games to play but the games themselves look pretty good.
I like that
How many board games are on it? 50+
What kind of board games? Stone Age, Puerto Rico, 7 Wonders, Atlantis, Caylus, Power Grid, Imhotep, Trans America, Pantheon, Marco Polo, Half Pint Heroes, Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan
How much is it? Free!
Link to BrettspielWelt
BrettspielWelt (translates as Boardgame World) is often abbreviated to BSW.
It’s free to register with BrettspielWelt and the game finder interface looks quite modern. The site is German and even though some aspects are translated into English and other languages some text is still in German. You can figure out what most of it means though.
To accompany the game site there is a wiki site with information about the game rules, community forums and technical support.
You can watch board games as they are being played but there are no tutorial games or any way to play against AI players.
It is very easy to see which games are open and need players on BrettspeilWelt. They arranged in tiles rather than a list so it’s easy to see lots of different games on screen at the same time without needing to scroll.
There is no way to see the number of players online at any one time with BSW but it is popular. At the time of
Summary – Playing board games on BrettspielWelt
BSW is definitely worth checking out if you want to play board games online. It has some great features and you can see it is investing in modernizing its interface.
How many board games are on it? 600+
What kind of board games? CO2, Terra Mystica, Sub Terra, Scythe, Love Letter, Master of the Galaxy, Santorini, Roll Player, Imperial Settlers, Keyflower
How much is it? Free (for some games)
To access the full library you will need to pay a subscription.
Some people have issues with getting Tabletopia to work in an internet browser like Chrome or Edge because it needs a plug in to play. However, there is an option to play it via Steam. Tabletopia worked fine in Chrome for me.
With a free
The game lobby on Tabletopia
The game lobby on the Tabletopia website is very empty. Instead, they have a Discord channel. There were 450 people online in the Discord channel at the time of writing.
Players chat in Discord, find a group to play a game with, then they jump over to the Tabletopia site quickly create a game and all join it. So what tends to happen is that a game is created in the lobby and people join it after a few seconds and it disappears.
Over 50 board games in the library have a solo mode so you can play them on your own.
The board games on Tabletopia look beautiful.
How to play the board games on Tabletopia
I played a solo version of Castle Panic and thought I was doing it wrong until I realised that I actually was supposed to move the pieces myself. To draw a card I move my cursor over the deck and click and drag a card off the top of the pile to my hand.
This is quite different to how the games on Board Game Arena Play where you click where you want to place something and the game places it for you and adds up your score.
It feels more like playing an actual board game because you’re moving the pieces around yourself. The physics are quite good as I had meeples fall over if I tried to let go of them while still moving my mouse! In a group game, players keep
An online version of the rules are easily accessible in a game by clicking on the rules document icon.
Because of how
Summary – Playing board games on Tabletopia
I like that
How many board games are on it? 60+
What kind of board games? Alhambra, Dixit, Agricola, Alchemists,
How much is it? Free!
Link to Boiteajeux
Boiteajeux is a completely free online board gaming site. It has over 60 board games available to play for free. The website is available in German, English and French.
The game lobby on Boiteajeux
There are 150 players online at time of writing with about 1,000 games in play. The high number of games in play is likely because the site emphasises turn-based games.
Selecting a game from the game menu takes you through to a page features in the rules or a tutorial game version where you can learn them.
You need to register to be able to join a game. All you need is an email address.
The waiting room for the games looks quite dated but it has all the essential information you need on there.
You can filter games by the number of players, creation date, whether it’s been created by friends or not counted towards your player stats. The icons on each game give you additional information such as how long you have to take your turn, or what language the game is to be played in.
There is a Premium version available which gives players access to like account personalization options, access to player statistics and specific settings when creating a game. For example, creating a game that only your friends can join.
The games look pretty good. When you hover over an in-game item like a card, you get a handy tooltip text box that tells you what it does.
Summary – Playing board games on Boiteajeux
I think Boiteajeux is a really good option for turn-based board gaming online. Don’t let the dated lobby interface put you off, when you get into the games they look good and work well.
6. Happy Meeple
How many board games are on it? 10
What kind of board games? Lost Cities, Hanamikoji, Circle the Wagons, Keltis Card, Siberia Card, Glastonbury, Finito!, Level X, Migrato, Keltis Or
How much is it? Free!
Link to Happy Meeple
Happy Meeple is free to register and play on. You can also play as a guest. The whole site has a light and friendly feel to it which is a refreshing change from the more serious online board game sites. The website is available in English, French, German, Spanish and Turkish.
The Happy Meeple online board games offer is slightly different
All the games on Happy Meeple are 2 player games.
To be allowed to compete with other people online you need to unlock the ability. To do that, you need to play the board game a couple of times to learn it and be awarded the white meeple. I like that this is a prerequisite to playing against other people online in that game. There are a lot of people who will waste people’s time by creating new accounts and starting games with people when they don’t know the rules. This is a great way around that.
The interface is really nice to use and really clear. Every board game has sound effects and music each with an individual slider control so you adjust the level for each one.
The game lobby on Happy Meeple
You find games to play against other people in the Inn. You take a metaphorical seat at a table for a game you want to join.
At the time of writing, 16 players were online with 6 playing games and 2 in training sessions. The user base is smaller than some of the other sites, but unlike the other sites, you can play against AI (bots) while you wait.
The Happy Meeple meta game
There’s a meta game within Happy Meeple where you can develop a settlement in your game world.
Like any world building game, different resources are used in different ways. Two of the most important are gold and food.
Gold – You earn gold for getting a new meeple, winning games consecutively or after beating 3, 6, 9 or 12 bots. Gold is used to unlock AI (bot) opponents or to buy resources to build your game world. Players can also buy gold with Euros.
Food – It is needed to play games. Food is created automatically over time but you can increase the amount of food you can store and how quickly it generates by developing your world.
There are other resources like wood, brick and stone which are used in the game world.
I like that Happy Meeple has a game within a game. It’s a nice touch which gives you a reason to keep coming back.
Summary – Playing board games on Happy Meeple
After trying out Happy Meeple I was instantly hooked and wanted to carry on playing to beat the bots and get the higher level meeple colours! Definitely check it out if you want to play board games online.
Other options to play board games online
As well as the websites which contain many different games, there are other places you can play board games online.
Board game specific sites
There are websites dedicated to playing just one specific board game online. Two really good ones are Dominion and Catan Universe.
How much is it? Free!
Link to Dominion
Dominion online looks pretty and plays really smoothly. The interface is clean and easy to use. There is a simple gaming lobby where you can see who is wanting to play a game and how many people it is against.
As well as playing against humans, you also have the option to play against bots. When you create a custom game you can choose which cards you want to include leading to nice variety in your games.
Settlers of Catan
How much is it? Free!
Link to Catan Universe
This online version of Catan is beautiful. It has a solo player game option for you to learn how the game works. I think this is really helpful because everyone I meet takes their Catan playing very seriously! It’s nice to have a place to play without the pressure of playing with Catan experts.
The Catan Universe interface is available in English and German. There are also English and German forums.
For players to talk in game they can join and use the Discord channel. As I’m writing this there are 78 people online on the Discord channel and 895 registered members. I expect these numbers will grow because the Discord server was only created one month ago.
Board game apps
Another alternative to playing games on websites online is to play a game online with other people via an app. Popular big titles like Small World, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride have games available on iOS, Android, Playstation, Xbox, Switch and your PC using Steam. With these games, you can play against other players with the same app.
You’ll need to buy an app for each game you want to play.
To play on IOS, Android and Steam you only need an internet connection to play against other players online.
To play against other people on PlayStation, Xbox and Switch you need to have an internet connection and a subscription to their online gaming services.
Usually, the app version of games include AI versions so that you can play offline against the computer. Playing against the AI is a great way to improve your skill at the game and prepare you for playing against human opponents.
How much is it? Price varies. Usually between £10-£20
Link to Tabletop Simulator on Steam
Tabletop Simulator is a game on Steam. It works in the same way as the games on Tabletopia. Players manually select pieces and move them around the board and keep their own score.
Tabletop Simulator is less of a game and more of a sandbox for people to build digital versions of board games. They can then invite their friends who also have Tabletop Simulator on Steam to join them in a game.
There is a library of official games made for Tabletop Simulator such as Scythe, Mistfall and Tiny Epic Quest. To play these with your friends online you’ll both need Tabletop Simulator and copies of the game you want to play.
Players can also play games that have been made by other people in the community and shared in the Steam Workshop. They are completely free. You can find board games on Tabletop Simulator that you won’t find digital versions of anywhere else online.
Some of the games people have made are incredible!
The Dark Souls game on the Steam Workshop gives you an idea of the quality of the games people are making on here. Some of the games are in a grey area with licensing so if requested by the license holder they could be taken down at any time.
Dark Souls: The Board Game
Go and play board games online for free
All the websites, apps and games in this article are great places to play board games online. Give some of them a go and see which one you like best.
If you like using technology to enhance your board games, you might my article, 8 Free Apps to Choose Who Goes First – Fair and Random.
I think Board Game Arena is the best for playing board games online against other people. But for 2 player fun and free board games to play against bots, I really like Happy Meeple. I really want to go defeat more bots on there, so I’m going to do that now!