Play Together While Apart

Ideas for Playing Cooperative Games via Video Call

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Though restrictions on social gatherings are beginning to ease in many parts of the world, it’s a safe bet that for many of us, playing tabletop games together in person might be tricky for a while. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have any options for playing board games together—many games, especially cooperative games, lend themselves very well to playing over video chat!

Today, we’ll take a look at how you could play Arkham Horror: The Card Game during social isolation, but with a few minor tweaks, you’d be able to play many of our cooperative games, such as Arkham Horror: The Board Game, Eldritch Horror, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Marvel Champions: The Card Game, and more.

The Setup

If you’re planning to start playing Arkham Horror: The Card Game over video chat, you’ll want to start by appointing one player as the Game Master. The Game Master can also be a player, but in addition to making decisions as a player, the Game Master will be responsible for maintaining the scenario and carrying out the players’ actions in a single, unified place.

The Game Master will need:

  • A copy of the scenario you are playing, with all necessary encounter cards.
  • The campaign log.
  • Doom and clue tokens.
  • Investigator token cards for all investigators playing.
  • A chaos bag, constructed according to the campaign specifications.
  • Their own investigator deck with health, sanity, and resource tokens (if the Game Master is playing).
  • A webcam that is not attached to a laptop or phone will be helpful for clearly displaying the game state to all players.

The players will each need:

  • Their own investigator deck.
  • Health, sanity, and resource tokens.
  • A chaos bag, constructed according to the campaign specifications.
  • A webcam (this could be just a laptop or a phone).

Before the scenario begins, the Game Master will completely set up the scenario on their side as if preparing for an in-person game, aligning the webcam so that the location cards, agenda and act deck, the scenario card, and any other components are clearly visible to all players. The players in their own homes will go through the setup process as usual, including shuffling their investigator decks, gathering necessary tokens, and drawing starting hands.

Together Across Dimensions

Once everyone is setup, you’ll be ready for the game to begin! The Game Master will read the flavor text from the campaign guide, and the first round begins. You can play Arkham Horror: The Card Game over video conference without making any changes to the core rules—the players will simply communicate their actions to the Game Master, who will move their investigator token card and perform other actions as necessary. The Game Master will also handle the actions of enemies during the Enemy Phase, doom and encounter cards during the Mythos Phase, and other upkeep as it becomes necessary based on the individual scenario.

Skill tests – Each player can make their own skill tests using their individual chaos bag, reporting the results to the other players and the Game Master so that all necessary consequences can be executed. Alternatively, you could play with a single chaos bag kept by the Game Master, who would make all necessary draws for the players.

Threat area – Inevitably during the course of a scenario, enemies will engage investigators and treacheries will be added to their threat areas. Since it’s impossible for the Game Master to pass these cards to the players to put into their threat areas, an easy solution is to leave those encounter cards at your location and place your investigator token card on top of them to denote that they are engaged with you / in your threat area.

Encounter card draws – When encounter cards are drawn, the Game Master will draw the encounter cards and read them out for the individual players. Players will make all of their own skill tests as usual. For certain cards that use the Peril or Hidden keywords, individual play groups should decide among themselves regarding the best way to handle these cards.

Start Playing Today

We may be physically apart from our usual gaming groups, but that doesn’t mean that tabletop gaming has to take a break. Hopefully we’ve given you a few ideas for how you could play Arkham Horror: The Card Game or another cooperative game with your friends using video calls, and we’re excited to hear your own solutions and stories from playing tabletop games during social isolation!

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