We all need a bit of escapism right now. Online games with friends can be a good way to stay in touch and distract yourself. Are you playing any?
I don’t know about you, but outside of work I’ve found myself with a fair bit of time on my hands.
It’s not a unique experience, but with all social activities put on hold about a month ago, and being too distracted to read or do anything productive, I quickly turned to binge watching the news – never good, but much worse during a crisis.
So I was lucky a couple of weeks ago when a friend invited me to play an online game against him and five other players – and now I’m really absorbed in it.
Turns out it’s been a great way to focus my attention, distract me from the news and stay in touch with friends.
The pen is mightier than the sword
The game? Diplomacy. It was originally a boardgame – and can still be played that way – but has been developed into a free online game.
If you’ve not played before (like me two weeks ago), Diplomacy is a bit like Risk – there’s a map of Europe and you try to conquer territory using armies and navies.
But unlike Risk, Diplomacy has the added element of team work: you can speak to the other players and work with them to achieve joint objectives – or betray them and go for a solo victory.
This opens up the game to endless possibilities and strategies, which I’ve found incredibly challenging and fun – just what I’ve needed the last few weeks.
In it for the long haul
Each turn in our game takes a day, so there’s plenty of time to communicate with the other players – and a whole game usually takes several months to play out. Perfect for a long ‘lockdown’.
It might sound a bit nerdy – and it’s not for everyone – but it’s really helped me pass the time and to feel I’m doing something at least vaguely creative.
If you’re interested, I’d be more than happy to let you know how to set up a game for free online – give me a shout in the comments!
Just make sure the players you invite want to commit to playing a strategy game that can last for several months.
Diplomacy won’t be for everyone, but playing games with friends generally can be really rewarding: this is why everyone seems to be doing pub quizzes with each other over apps such as Zoom at the moment.
These games can help bring us together, focus our attention on a task, and give us shared challenges and objectives – distracting us from other things going on.
I think they’re the perfect antidote to social distancing.
Are you playing any online games or boardgames to pass the time? Are they helping you keep connected to friends and family?
Let me know what you’re up to in the comments.