Saturday, April 8, 2017

Play games online - Yucata

Have you ever wondered whether you can play your favourite board games online? Now you are thinking that I must be joking, because the social interaction with people sitting at the table with you is what makes playing games fun. And interactive (duh). But let's say all your friends are unavailable for some reason, yet you really, REALLY want to play a game of Port Royal or something. You may take the game out of the shelf and play solo-mode against yourself, but that is a bit unsatisfying, isn't it? For those of you who do not already know about this and sometimes find themselves in a situation similar to the one I just described, the Yucata website is your saviour. After a free registration, you get access to more than 120 famous games taken directly from the board to your computer. Now you may notice that 120 games is in fact quite a low number, but it is enough for an average gamer to find something of note. The list includes but is not limited to two versions of Carcassonne, Port Royal, the classic Othello, and many other good and quite widely known games. There are some hidden gems, too. Games like The Castles of Burgundy, Hacienda or The Voyages of Marco Polo are transformed into their online versions without losing much of their complexity, clarity and fun aspect. 

There is a concern about the quality of the gameplay itself. I do not claim to have played all games available on this website, but I was impressed by all the games I have tried so far.
The details of vital symbols and actions are pretty well done, so you always know what do you get from performing any given action, everything is clean and smooth. If you do not know the game, there are thorough rules that go with each game before you even start playing, and you can also check the rules at any time while playing, as they are included in the game manager even during play.
The animation is ok and it also supports replays, which allows you to quickly recapitulate the events in the game that happened while you were having a bio break or something. You can even undo your most recent action should you happen to misclick. To help keep the game clear and prevent confusion in more complicated games, your options are usually marked in some manner, usually a coloured frame appears over them. You therefore do not wander the board with fear of mistakenly choosing the wrong button.

I have never encountered any adds while playing this, which helps the overall very enjoyable experience.
But the site has to live from something so there is a system of voluntary donations, you can basically donate any amount and you receive a certain site supporter badge based upon how much you have donated. Nonetheless, you can keep playing for free. There is a whole ranking system and some stats, which both keep track of your performance in both ranked and training games and somewhat motivate you to play better, you can add people to your buddies list and play with them again and create an invitation to get people to play the game you choose.

All in all, this site is an absolute blast. The only problem for me is that some people just won't play more than say two turns a day, which doesn't really serve the purpose of playing a quick game of something online before I get to play it live somewhere. But I guess that this is up to us, the players.

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