For most of us, life today is different from life just a week ago. We work from home – if we’re still working at all, our pets and family are either with us 24/7 or only reachable by phone, text, or Skype, and our social lives have all but vanished. But amid the chaos, we somehow suddenly have a lot of free time on our hands.
As gamers, we’ve joked that we’ve been waiting our whole lives for just this moment. But we’re beginning to realize, or at least I am, that I am not as prepared for this as I thought I was. For me, and I suspect for many others, our gaming and hobbies have been a shared, in-person, non-electronic experience. For many, it’s our one truly social outlet. As Missouri and Kansas enact responsible policies to #flattenthecurve and encourage social distancing, my game nights have all but vanished, and with them my way to connect with my hobbies and with other people.
Knowing that we still have several weeks and potentially months of some level of isolation ahead of us, we gathered our TableTop 20 #hobbyathome resources that are either free or fairly inexpensive. We’re using them ourselves, and we want to share them with you. Plus, if you’re hankering for some social time, TableTop Game and Hobby is offering weekly socials, game nights, and workshops to keep you connected. You can find information about them on our Facebook page and on our Warhorn Online Events Calendar.
Do you have a great #hobbyathome resource or page you don’t see listed here? Share it with us in the comments so we can all #GameOn while we isolate responsibly and #FlattenTheCurve!
Tabletopia takes some of the best-selling games, designer classics, recent hits, and Kickstarter releases and brings them to the virtual world! Set in a sandbox virtual table, there are 600+ high-quality games. The system is available on Steam, PC, Mac OS X, and will soon be available on iOS and Android devices. Each game has an automated setup that includes shuffling cards, dealing cards, turn tracker, score tracker, and more.
Tabletopia does not have an AI to enforce the rules, so it is important that at least one of the players knows the rules. While you are playing the game, you will have access to a digital copy of the game’s rulebook. Tabletopia allows you to host private or public games or you can go to the “Find & Play” section to join an already created table.
Additionally, if you are a designer, you can create your own games with no programming knowledge required. With the easy and intuitive solution for designing games, you have access to an extensive library of bits, meeples, and game pieces.
Digidiced develops digital versions of well-known board games like Cottage Garden, The Castles of Burgundy, and Patchwork. All games can be played multiplayer across different platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows. The games range from $3.99 to $14.99. Additionally, Digidiced has a fun collection of avatars and graphics for social media use.
Board Game Arena is a browser-based online board game platform. With 160+ games, Board Game Arena connects people from all over the world with real-time or turn-based gameplay. Unlike Tabletopia, this system does have an AI that tracks rules, time, and turns. We would suggest using the premium version as it has features that improve gameplay.
Additionally, Board Game Arena includes Learn to Play videos to help you learn, improve your skills, and master the games.
Ready to create some art but need some inspiration? Open Culture has got your back! They invited over 100 libraries, archives, and museums to upload coloring pages of their collections for the public’s free download.
Speaking of coloring – Chaosium wants you to create striking and scary images with their Call of Cthulhu Coloring Book. Additionally, you can submit your colored page in their Call of Cthulhu Coloring Competition!
The Winchester Mystery House is a mansion in California, built by Sarah Winchester. Since its construction in 1884, many have believed it to be haunted by the ghosts of those killed with Winchester rifles. Until Sarah’s death in 1922, construction on the house lasted around the clock, seemingly to confuse the ghosts that haunted Sarah and her home.
Since they are closed to the public, they are offering online tours so you can experience the craziness of this home from your own home.
DriveThru RPG is an online marketplace for digital and print-on-demand roleplaying games that has been operating since 2001. While most of the content does cost, there is a section for free and “Pay What You Want” products. Several companies have released Quickstart guides for you to try before you buy their product.
If you’re on the go and want a quick, but strategic game to play, check out this list of the top 15 free or inexpensive gaming apps.
If you have a lot of free time and are feeling crafty, check out this list of 101 Print and Play Games. As the article explains, it does take a good amount of effort to get the game playable, but for some, it is a fun activity and a way to try out games before you buy them!
The DLC for D&D and Lords of the Rings is free online for everyone stuck at home right now. All quests, instances, and skirmishes in Lord of the Rings and all dungeons and raids in D&D will be open to everyone for free until April 30th.
Jon Scrivens is a comic artist, illustrator, and “goblin in plaid.” He is offering free, high-res coloring pages of some of our favorite characters and nerdiness. We highly suggest that you donate what you can to support him and tag him in any of your drawings!
Audible has made hundreds of titles completely free to help pass the time during the stay-at-home orders. Many of the novels are narrated by stars like Scarlett Johansson and Dan Stevens. No sign-up is required to access 100+ titles!
13. Live Animal Cams
Whether you are playing Call of Cthulhu, D&D, Deep Blue, or Underwater Cities, sea life can be a big part of our hobby. And, it is pretty amazing to look at!
The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California is giving visitors a virtual look at its colorful sea creatures via free live camera streaming. They have daily and weekly features, and you can almost always see their otters!
The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland is offering up some stunning footage from their exhibits – sharks, jellies, and tropical fish.
Whether you’re looking for game inspiration or just want a break from everything else happening, there is very little better than watching fun animals do fun animal things!
The National Zoo at the Smithsonian has live cams from several of their enclosures, including the much-loved Giant Panda exhibit!
The Kansas City Zoo has live penguin cam streams running day and night – above water and underwater! Plus there are other fan feeds to watch!
The San Diego Zoo has a dozen live webcams featuring a wide variety of animals to watch!
Do you love dinosaurs?! The National Museum of Natural History is offering free virtual 360 tours of their exhibits!
You can now virtually tour 32 US National Parks. From the Badlands National Park to Death Valley National Park, tour the parks and get inspiration for the location for your next RPG!
16. Astral Tabletop
Astral Tabletop is a browser-based system that uses the “latest technology to streamline your storytelling experience.” This online system can be run on your phone, tablet, and desktop devices. Astral can support virtually any tabletop roleplaying games, but has built-in support for Call of Cthulhu, Pathfinder, Vampire, and more!
The initial software is free and has a large variety of resources available to run an amazing game online.
BroadwayHD is a streaming service for theater fans that brings Broadway performances to people’s living rooms. You can find classics, Shakerperian dramas and comedies, and more.
So, grab your popcorn and learn some crazy acting and improv skills for your next game!
18. Roll Advantage
Roll Advantage was made to provide easy to use tools for your online campaigns, including a dice roller and token stamp creator. The software is simple and concise.
The free app from Space Center Houston includes audio tours, GPS maps, selfie filters, augmented reality experiences, virtual reality lite, and more! Use the amazing features from this app to inspire your next interstellar campaign.
Do you have a game set in some faraway place in ancient history? This site is for you! This site presents basic definitions and information about archaeology, information about new and exciting archaeological projects,
Some of the resources include information on “multimodal composition, where graphics, video, and audio recordings are used to enhance, and not simply accompany, traditional text-based compositions.”
How do you #hobbyathome? Submit your pictures here https://tabletopgameandhobby.com/hobby-at-home/!