I love playing boardgames with friends, it's always a great experience and exciting, and I enjoy those evenings very much. It happens sometimes that I crave to play boardgames while none of my friends are available to play it with me, either because they do not have time or because we cannot meet in one location. While it is certainly possible to play against yourself, it is not really an alternative most of the time.
One alternative that you may have is to play boardgames online instead. You may even be able to do so with your friends after all, if they have time to do so. Depending on the game, you may play against human opponents or computer opponents.
The forum discussion Free Computer Versions of Board and Card Games with Artificial Intelligence over at the Board Game Geek website lists hundreds of games that you can play online or on your computer. Information provided are extensive: the thread lists supported operating systems, the AI strength, license and other relevant information right on the page.
I'd like to name some of the games that are mentioned there that I like to play or always wanted to play. Maybe you find a game or two that you find interesting as well. Feel free to post it in the comments.
Euphrat and Tigris, the first game on the list is a nice boardgame, as is Web of Power, St. Petersburg, The Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, Formula De, Axis and Allies, Transamerica and many more. Some are offline versions that you have to download in order to run, while others can be accessed in a web browser of choice directly. You may need plugins like Java to play them though, so keep that in mind. Usually, you are reminded that a plugin is missing if that is the case so that is not really something that you need to worry about.
Just let me know if you found a special game that you enjoyed playing and I will take a look at it. I´am currently downloading the Axis and Allies game, always enjoyed playing the different versions of this game in the past.
The thread starter always mentions if it's an online or offline version and the platforms it is available for. The list in its current stage lists 335 board games on 14 pages.
Update: The list has changed and while it has not been updated in the last two years, you will still find lots of games on it that you may enjoy playing. New games include Agricola, Carcassonne or Catan the Dice Game.
The list is hard to navigate as you find user comments underneath each individual entry. It may take some time to go through all the lists but it is definitely worth it if you are into boardgames.
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