$10.00
Best Multiplayer Online Board/Card Games (or GREAT PLACES TO GET YOUR GEEK ON-line)
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Best real-time HUMAN VS. HUMAN versions of rated BGG games that are EASY TO USE and certain to have AVAILABLE PLAYERS on hand.

While avoiding software that is out of date, difficult to install, or not very well implemented, this list is only intended for online versions of games that enable fast, real-time(*) play experiences with minimal installation and learning curve hassles. Accordingly, the criteria for this list are:

1. QUALITY: Robust software that installs easily and plays well
2. SINGLE SESSION PLAY: Realtime applications with instant player matching
3. LANGUAGE: Accessible in English
4. OPPONENTS: Ample human player populations
5. COST: Free of charge**

In other words, you should be able to start playing a great game soon after clicking any of the links on this list. Each link is meant to be no more than two clicks away from game launch. Some will require your browser have updated versions of Java or Flash and only a few are compatible with Macintosh and Linux platforms.

(* Not play-by-email, based on web page refresh, or solitaire only.)

(** If charges apply, must have fairly fully featured play available for free though may have time limited trials, limited rating/ranking, or minor in-play limitations for guest users. A '$' indicates that payment is required for unfettered play.)

(*** A 'BSW' designation indicates that the game is also available on BrettspielWelt , a German web service that provides online versions of nearly fifty Eurogames.)
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1. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:33]
Gregory C
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An interactive, real-time version that does not require browser refreshes between turns:

http://www.tigrisgame.com/swing-applet.html
 
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2. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:156]
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While Microsoft recently released a licensed version called Catan Online, it does not yet allow online play. In the meantime, several excellent implementations are available including:

http://www.s3dconnector.net (3D Windows client)

http://catan.jsettlers.com (Java)

http://settlers.cs.northwestern.edu (Java w/ladder at settlers.servegame.com )

BSW
 
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3. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:83]
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Days of Wonder makes many of their games available online with their typically high quality production values. Owners of the board game qualify for online ratings, but guests are free to join:

http://www.ticket2ridegame.com
 
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4. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:108] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
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One of the few on this list that is the downloadable version of a CD-ROM game and whose download instructions are primarily in German, though the in game text can be switched to English (see hint below):

Free Demo Version (lacks multi-player option):
http://www.carcassonne-online.de/downloads.shtml

Full Version (requires ~$10 pre-payment before download):
http://www.softunity.com/ECD000733L/ ($)

Expansions Add-on (requires addit'l ~$15 payment): http://www.softunity.com/ECD000784L/ ($)

(To switch the in-game text to english, simply open the file carcassonne.cfg [usually located in CrogrammeKoch MediaCarcassonne] and change the LANGUAGE parameter from 2 to 1.)

BSW
 
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5. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:143]
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Windows download:

http://www3.telus.net/kensit/NetAcquire

(On connection screen, the IP/URL should be changed to read acquire.sbg.org, Host port should be set to 1001, and Local port should be set to 0.)
 
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6. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:550]
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This thoroughly contemporary and beautifully executed online version built and maintained by the original designers of this 1970's classic:

http://www.cosmicencounter.com ($)

 
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7. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:127]
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Beautiful implentation of Reiner Knizia's medieval Japan as Windows or Macintosh download:

http://klear.com/new/games/samurai/versions/current/download... ($)
 
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8. Board Game: Dune [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:131]
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Hard to find the board game, but if you're willing to cope with homemade software, you'll enjoy this Avalon Hill classic:

http://homepage.eircom.net/~monalisa/Dune/

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9. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:259]
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Addictive implementation with the original artwork:

http://www.flexgames.com

BSW
 
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10. Board Game: Schotten-Totten [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:376]
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Ditto:

http://www.flexgames.com
 
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11. Board Game: A Game of Thrones Collectible Card Game [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1473]
Aron Clark
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Full graphical interface for the Game of Thrones CCG, designed by Chad Cottle @ http://www.raven.arcanjl.com/.

Provides an amazing real time interface for online play of an excellent CCG, at no cost, and fully approved by FFG. Virtual card sets are delayed slightly from physical releases, but this has little effect on actual play. A great way to "try before you buy" or just play and great CCG.
 
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12. Board Game: Blue Moon [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:607]
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Website is mostly German, but English version can be downloaded. You'll have to do your own rule checking, but the excellent Card Table software includes all the cards and takes care of random shuffling.

http://www.blue-moon-liga.com/modules.php?name=Downloads

You can also join a league on the same website.
 
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13. Board Game: Wizard [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:544]
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The website is a bit busy and slow to load, but many swear by this simple variation on the trick-taking game Oh Hell:

http://www.wizardcards.com

 
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14. Board Game: Gang of Four [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1098]
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Another by Days of Wonder:

http://www.gangoffour.com

 
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15. Board Game: Queen's Necklace [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1297]
Gregory C
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And another:

http://www.queens-necklace.com
 
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16. Board Game: Fist of Dragonstones [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:1844]
Gregory C
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Yet another:

http://www.dragonstones.com
 
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17. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:120]
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Wizards of the Coast official online version requires that virtual decks and boosters be purchased for the same price as paper cards, but the 8th Edition theme decks can be played free of charge. Excellent online trading system allows for efficient, if not inexpensive, deck construction.

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=magic/magiconline/downl... ($)
 
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18. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1104]
Gregory C
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Decipher also requires virtual cards to be purchased deck-by-deck and pack-by-pack, though some decks can be played free of charge:

http://lotronline.decipher.com ($)
 
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19. Board Game: Blokus [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:355]
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While waiting for the multi-player feature to resume, you can play this simple, abstract award winner against AI opponents:

http://www.blokus.com

 
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20. Board Game: Pente [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1039]
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Currently offline:

http://www.pente.org/gameServer/index.jsp
 
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21. Board Game: Twixt [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1121]
Gregory C
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Not a large player population, but java client works very well and allows for variable board sizes:

http://www.k2z.org
 
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22. Board Game: Tantrix [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:1616]
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http://www.tantrix.com
 
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23. Board Game: De Bellis Antiquitatis [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1229]
Gregory C
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Interesting online implementation of miniature war game as Windows download:

http://www.dbaol.com





 
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24. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1116]
Gregory C
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Active population at:

http://www.isc.ro

A slightly varied game board on Yahoo at:

http://play.yahoo.com/games/login2?page=lt,

And an easy-to-use web-based version:

http://thepixiepit.co.uk/scrabble
 
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25. Board Game: Monopoly [Average Rating:4.46 Overall Rank:10965]
 
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Small board, but works well:

http://tinyurl.com/5388l
 
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