However, last year, I was able to pay them a visit through the power of Skype. Ever since we moved across the country and away from almost all of our friends and family, both Skype and FaceTime have been really wonderful ways to keep in touch. Seriously, I don't know how my parents did it back in the day when long-distance calls were expensive and the only other option from writing letters snail mail.
Truth to tell, there are a lot of boardgames that you can play via Skype. Last year, while I was visiting the gathering via Skype, I got in a really good game of Pentago and several rounds of Galloping Pigs. If I really wanted to, I probably could have supplied them with a long list of good games.
However, this year I decided to suggest just one game that I felt would be very easy to play via Skype, even in a crowded room full of people playing lots of different games. Instead of trying to push the bar, I try to set the bar at something that would be the absolute easiest to play.
Sometimes, you need to seek out the challenge. Other times, you have to avoid the challenge in order to make sure that everyone has the best time possible.
So I told them that we should play Cities, a game that I've already mentioned in this blog. Cities is literally multiplayer solitaire, with everyone placing the same tiles on their board in order to build their own city in place their own set of meeples as tourists in the city.
We don't even have to see each other's boards. In fact, as long as everyone has their own set of tiles and meeples, you could play this game via conference call. :D
And I know the group has at least one set of Cities because I gave it to them. And I, of course, have my own set.
As I said, there are a lot of games that you could potentially play. Really, any game without hidden information and board isn't too big to fit on the camera could work. And if someone wanted to set up a scrabble tile holder for the cards and set them in front of the camera (which we have done), card games can work too.
But, as I've already said, I think it's best if we go with something that is easy and doesn't create additional complications.
And, yeah, we could do something like online games with headsets or the like but it's isn't the same as actually using real cardboard tiles and real wooden meeples.