NewsOnline or Offline: How Table Games Stack Up

Online or Offline: How Table Games Stack Up


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Card games and board games have been keeping family and friends busy for generations. Gathering around to play a hand or two of poker, meeting up with a friend at the park and playing a game of chess, they’re all brilliant pastimes that keep your mind busy and help you to connect with people socially. 

Of course, since the dawn of computers and the internet, it’s been possible to play all these games online. In some respects, this has made them better. Online games are more accessible, which means it’s always easy to find someone to play with. Yet, some say that because of digitalization, the charm of the games has been lost.

We’re going to look at all the pros and cons of playing table games online, or in person.


Poker is one of the first games that was adapted for the online sphere. It became hugely popular in the early noughties thanks to various late night television shows and the accessibility of poker on the internet. Nowadays its popularity has only grown with hundreds of sites offering all kinds of varieties of poker. 

There are some big benefits to playing online. People who struggle with the bluffing element of poker don’t have to worry about their tells giving them away, as they’re safe behind a screen. There are also plenty of opponents that are always ready to play online, whereas in person it can be difficult to arrange a group of that many friends. 

Besides, a lot of resources have been spent on replicating the authentic poker experience in the digital realm. This has granted users a chance to access the game from the comfort of their home. Live dealer casinos, particularly, make the poker experience especially realistic, and you can learn more details on how to try it out yourself. 

However, there is something to be said for playing poker in real life too. It’s great getting to meet people local to you if you’re lucky enough to have a local club. Also, the majority of the biggest tournaments take place in person rather than online, so practising your bluffing will stand you in good stead for those. For us, it’s a tie; online poker and offline poker both have their own unique place.


One of the true classics, especially around this festive time of year is Pictionary. This board game was invented back in 1987 and is a hilarious game for people of all ages. For those who haven’t played before, you play in pairs, where one of you draws a prompt from a card and the other guesses it as quickly as they can. 

You get a point for each drawing that you correctly identify. Understandably, chaos often ensues, which can be brilliant fun. 

There’s a certain charm to the pencil and paper version of the game and many people will remember it fondly from years gone by. However, recently there have been a slew of apps and online versions that aim to recreate that fun. These apps are brilliant for connecting friends and family who might live far away. They also mean that you can play with strangers from around the world, just in case you can’t get a couple of teams together in person. 

Some of the apps definitely succeed in emulating the fun of the original Pictionary, whilst others fall a bit short. On this one, we’ve got to say that the original board game clinches it.


Chess is one of the oldest games around, with evidence of it being played more than 1500 years ago. For this reason, chess in the offline sphere will always exist and be enjoyed by many. However, there is something to be said for online chess, too. 

Firstly, there are always players who match your level that are available to play. You can be much more specific in the calibre of player you’re looking for, giving your ELO rating in order to find someone who poses a challenge, but won’t be impossible to beat. 

If you’re a little strapped for time, then you can rattle through a few chess puzzles or play a quickfire game. It’s easy to enter tournaments online and although you can’t become a grandmaster online, your online tournament successes are recognised. 

Of course, the downside to online chess is that there’s less of a social element. Heading down to the outdoor chess boards in the park is a wonderful way to spend a summer evening and you get to meet and play with people who you know you already have one thing in common with, a love of chess. 

While online chess definitely wins for convenience, there’s a charm to playing on a physical board and meeting people in person too means that for us, offline chess wins this one.


Finally, those who consider themselves talented linguists tend to love a game of scrabble. Like Pictionary, this board game has been around for decades and some of the original games are still in circulation. Since its invention, there have been a few additional versions made, including Scrabble for children and even giant Scrabble boards of four times the size. These might seem like novelties, but they make great presents for Scrabble fans and definitely win offline Scrabble a point.

On the other hand, online Scrabble has plenty of cool features going for it. Like chess, it’s possible to be matched people of your skill level, making every game a challenge. You can also change the layout of the board, enabling you to curate the difficulty somewhat. For us, the customization options of online Scrabble win the point.

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.

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