If you've been living anywhere besides under a literal rock during the times of between two weeks ago and now (and, let's face it, even those living under a rock might apply!), you know that COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, has been plaguing the entire world as a full-on pandemic. In fact, you're probably been advised to stay under a rock for a little while to wait out the pandemic while it peters out if it can. Well, one of the biggest hobbyist demographics taking a hit from the Coronavirus pandemic is the tabletop gamer demographic, a mostly-social group that thrives on interactions through gaming.
And who can blame them? Gaming is a naturally-social experience. I, myself, feel like I'm going to burst at all times without getting to play Magic: The Gathering or Warhammer: Age of Sigmar with my friends, face-to-face. However, I have a few aces up my sleeve: here are a few things a tabletop gamer can do to up their game without ever having to leave the house.
For Card Gamers: Use Online Applications
Card games such as Magic: The Gathering, Cardfight! Vanguard, or Yu-Gi-Oh! have traditionally been remarkably personal experiences. Surely Coronavirus is a force that could completely destabilize these institutions, right?
Wrong! We have the power of the Internet at our disposal! Let me be clear on something though: Other than Magic's digital interface Magic: The Gathering: Arena, these may not be approved or even licensed by the companies in charge of creating these games. Nonetheless, I highly recommend them for given formats of whatever you're looking for.
Magic: The Gathering players can play Arena as I'd mentioned above (and I recommend it!), but if you don't like Standard, Historic, or Brawl, you can use Cockatrice, a third-party program that acts as a client to play Magic in any format you'd like (many Magic: The Gathering players will use this to remotely play Commander). Other options include XMage.
Yu-Gi-Oh! players can safely use YGOPro, in a manner similar to the way Magic players have Cockatrice at their disposal.
Anyone else, including players of the aforementioned games, can go to Untap.in to play their games. Granted, this is a bit of an unwieldy online program, but it works once one gets the hang of it.
Wargamers: Use VASSAL (or paint models)
In a very similar vein to card gamers, wargamers thrive on the art of social games of war (so hence the label!). They need that social aspect in order to enjoy themselves. There is an answer to this in the same vein, though, in that there are plenty of client programs to make wargaming possible remotely. VASSAL is one such program, though there are others. It's a fairly intuitive program and will allow players to play against each other once they get the hang of controls.
Otherwise, as always, there's always the chance for miniature-based wargamers to paint unpainted models, and perhaps perfect their technique. Even if AdeptiCon was canceled this year, GenCon is still (so far) up in the air and the Golden Demon painting award isn't going to grab itself. Go for it! Get a unit painted and make it as great as you can before the doors of your local gaming store re-open, ready for you to impress.
Role-Players: Prep time begins now!
Whether you're the game master of your latest campaign or a party member in that same game, your preparation time begins now. This is the perfect time to craft one heck of a monster in a role-playing game engine homebrew-style, or write up and roll up some player-characters to have as a contingency for that thing in the cave killing your current one off. Either way, writing is something that takes time, and that time is now (especially if you're 100% stuck at home). Do what you can to impress, and remember that the time, much like painting a beautiful centerpiece miniature, will allow you to perfect this craft. Use it wisely, friends!
If you think this viral pandemic is a small problem, you need to re-evaluate that because it's clearly not. People are suffering from this. That said, panic mode has set in for a lot of people as a response, but don't let that affect you – it will pass. The point I want to make here is that you need to look to the future here and find ways to make the most of the present situation. Quarantine, whether self-induced or not, is a crummy time no matter what you do, but hopefully, this advice will help tabletop gamers muddle through.