The past decade has seen an explosion of digital board games—and now's the perfect time to play with others.

You probably have that cupboard or closet filled with musty old boxes of Life or Monopoly. Or maybe you're a board game enthusiast with some new favorites you like to share for game night. Either way, these strange times require innovative measures, and there are some excellent digital board games you can use to connect with family and friends. 

Ticket to Ride

Players: 2-5
Playtime: 1-2 hours

ticket
Want to travel the world from the comfort of your home? Courtesy of Steam, Days of Wonder, and Asmodee Digital.

You've probably played or at least heard of Ticket to Ride—it's been called "one of the greatest gateway games ever made" and is usually one of the first games to get when someone starts building a library. But it's a classic for a reason, and building a cross-continent train empire better than your friends is always fun. It's also one of the easiest to play with a group remotely. That's because it's available everywhere, on the Apple App StoreSteamGoogle PlayXbox Live (via Game Pass), Amazon Kindle Fire, or just the online web version.

If your group cancels, you can even play against your Alexa device.

Mysterium

Players: 2-7
Playtime: An hour or so

mysterium
Did you know, it's actually quite hard to communicate as a ghost? Ghastly, really. Courtesy of Steam, Playsoft, and Asmodee Digital.

Mysterium is a hoot—or is it more like a ghostly groan and chortle? The game tasks its players with solving a mysterious murder, but one player takes on the role of a helpful ghost who communicates hints to the other players with only visual clue cards. If you mashed up Clue with charades and Pictionary and added in an atmosphere of ghosts and mediums, you'd get something like Mysterium.

It's available on Steam, the Apple App Store, and Google Play. You can play online, or try the "Pass-and-Play" mode. There's also a single-player storyline against computer opponents.

Galaxy Trucker

Players: 2-5
Playtime: An hour or so

truckers
What's your stance on dark corridors? Courtesy Steam and CGE Digital.

You've probably played or heard of Codenames. From the same designer comes a precarious and uproariously fun tile-laying game, Galaxy Trucker. You've got to make some space deliveries, but you have to MacGyver your own space truck in a limited amount of time from secondhand parts. You'll cobble together some tiles and hope it flies!

There's a robust single-player campaign in addition to local and online play. It's on Steam, GOG.com, the Apple App Store for iPad and iPhone, and Google Play.

Tabletopia

Players: All kinds!
Playtime: Depends!

tabletopia
Not even sure what this game is, but my money's on the guys in armor. Courtesy Steam and Tabletopia Inc.

This isn't really a game per se. It's a platform for games! Tabletopia is a virtual tabletop that you can put all kinds of games on. You hover over it and move around little pieces just like you would a real board game, but on their free digital client. There are over 800 games you can download, and the popular ones will cost around 6$. There's chess and Texas hold-em and Secret Hitler—you can even make your own games with no programming knowledge required.

Two things to note: 

  • The virtual tabletop doesn't correct you if you break the rules, that's on the players to know.
  • You'll need a separate means of communication, like Skype, Discord, or a video call.

Games are great to bring people together, and digital games are a good solution for long-distance socializing. Stay tuned for more games featured in the future!

What games are you playing to pass the time? Comment below!