A video game that lets you play tabletop games with almost as much freedom as the real world gives you.
Tried and tested by Friday Afternoons
Any game length
- A computer with the Tabletop Simulator game (available on Steam) installed for each player
- An internet connection for each player
At first glance Tabletop Simulator may look like game-making software for board games, but the clue is in the title - it really is more of a simulation of a tabletop, boasting a physics engine and offering full control over the components. A good example to highlight this is chess. Tabletop Simulator gives you the freedom to move any piece to any space, or even off the board entirely, just like a physical game of chess does. You can even flip the table if things aren't going your way!
The downside to this is that the rules of a game are not enforced as they would be in most video games, so if you don’t fully understand the rules then mistakes can happen. The upside is that you can play virtually any game you can think of, and unlike in the real world, you can magic up and manipulate components at the press of a button. And for those who feel like they’ve never really shuffled a deck well enough, this is possibly better than a real tabletop!
Make any game, you provide the rules
Tabletop Simulator comes with some staple tabletop games included, but its main selling point is the freedom to create and import custom games, whether they be original creations or adaptations of existing games. Thanks to it being a simulator more than game-making software, there really isn't a limit to the range of games that can be created and subsequently played. And with a huge library of games already available, even if you're not into creating your own content you'll be able to find something to enjoy.
The more the merrier
Once you've found or created something to play, you can of course do so alone, but you can also play with friends who themselves have Tabletop Simulator installed. Multiplayer works great, with you all sat around the same virtual table, moving components in real time just as you would at a physical table. And thanks to individual hands and blindfolds, those parts of a game that need to be kept hidden from other players can be.
Solver of problems
Tabletop Simulator is a great game that meets many needs: playing tabletop games when getting together in person is difficult; being able to break off from a game and return to it later without losing the use of your table for a week; having lots of games to play on a budget; trying out games you're interested in; creating and playtesting your own games; being able to perform a half-decent card shuffle for once. If any of the above sounds appealing to you, Tabletop Simulator will be money (£14.99 as of December 2020) well spent.