This is a documentation for Board Game Arena: play board games online !

Turn based FAQ

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What is turn-based mode?

What is turn-based mode?

When playing on BGA in real-time, you and your opponents are online at the same time.

Playing turn-based, you and your opponents don't need to be online at the same time. You play your move, your opponent gets an "it's your turn" message, and then he can play his turn as soon as possible.

Is turn-based better than real-time?

There is no "better" mode: the two modes are different and complementary.

Real-time is good because games are fast, interaction between players is rich, and players are focused on the game.

Turn-based is good because you can play whenever you want during your day, thinking as much as you want, with no time constraint.

Will real-time disappear from BGA?

Of course not.

BGA main purpose is to provide real-time play. Turn-based is just an additional possibility offered to those who prefer to play this way.

If you don't like playing turn-based, you have the possibility to switch off turn-based mode in the lobby, and then you will only see realtime tables:

How can I choose between realtime and turn-based?

Using a simple switch in the lobby, you are able to display real-time tables only, or turn-based tables only.

Why turn-based?

A lot of websites already propose turn-based, so why are you?

At first, because we think that we can provide the best turn-based mode available for online boardgaming. We have our own vision of what "turn-based" is and how it should be done.

Then, because we think that some games on BGA deserve the possibility to be played turn-based. Some games, especially those with a duration over a certain limit, don't have many players even though they are wonderful games. As we'd like to introduce longer & more complex games on BGA, we need a playing mode more suited to them.

We also think it's bringing more players on BGA. If you have been playing on BGA for a long time, you're not very impressed by the website, but we know that real-time play is something intimidating for beginners. Playing turn based, they are able to learn the game and the interfaces slowly, and maybe later play these games in real-time.

And finally, we are doing this... because we are geeks, and a geek is unable not to do something he can do :)

Why would I want to play turn-based?

Think about one of the following situations:

  • you are at work, and you have something like "5 minutes of Internet break every hour". There is no way you can play a real-time game on BGA, but you can play 4-5 turn-based games in parallel :)
  • you would like to try this new game on BGA but it looks complex, and you don't want to make an opponent wait while you learn how to play. Playing turn-based, you can take all needed time to familiarized yourself with the interface before playing.
  • instead of playing some "candy crush" game on your smartphone, you'd prefer to play on BGA. But in realtime this is really impossible with an unstable connexion. Besides you lose too much time scrolling. But playing turn based, it doesn't matter if the connection goes and comes, and you can take all the time you need on your little screen to play.
  • what about having a "turn based" breakfast on the morning? 4-5 tables are waiting for you, you are not stressed by the clock, you can think and play a complex game day after day :)

It takes weeks to finish a turn-based game, this is so boring

Yes and no.

At first, it doesn't necessarily take weeks. Most games can be played in 2-3 days if opponents have regular time-slots to play during their day.

But yes, some games can take weeks, but it doesn't mean they are not intense and compelling: players have time to think about their moves and can build strong strategies.

So there are different "turn-based" flavors, from the very fast "10 moves/day" to the very slow "1 move/day". This is why we kept the "Game speed" BGA option for turn-based: you can specify the average number of moves per day, and BGA adapts the time limits to this average. This way you can have "fast turn based" or "slow turn based" depending on your taste (and your time).

A lot of turn-based games never come to an end...

This is true, but it's also true for real-time.

Board Game Arena has a very efficient system to discourage players to leave the games (more than 98% of the games comes to a normal end). This system works also for turn-based, so we kept it. And we have 98% of games coming to a normal end :)

How does turn-based work on BGA?

Which of the games are available in turn-based mode? Are some games available only in real-time/turn-based?

All games on BGA are available both in real-time AND turn-based mode.

Of course for some games, warning messages and suggestions are displayed to incite you to prefer one mode over another. However, you are free to choose your preferred mode.

Note: for technical reasons, some games can be unavailable for some mode, for some times.

How do I know if a table is realtime or turn-based?

Available real-time tables are displayed with a green background. Turn-based tables are displayed with a brown background.

Turn-based / realtime is also specified in table description.

How do I start a turn-based game?

Using a simple switch in the lobby, you are able to display real-time tables only, or turn-based tables only.

When you start a new table from the "turn-based" lobby, your table is created "turn-based".

In fact, Turn-based is proposed as additional "Game speed" options: in addition to the classic "Slow speed / Normal speed / Fast speed" options, you now have "Turn based: 1 move / day", "Turn based: 2 moves / day", and so on.

(note that there will be faster options than "2 moves/day" in the future).

Is it possible to play several games at the same time?


Of course we don't allow players to play several real-time games in parallel. For turn-based it's different: you are encouraged to play several games at the same time, with different opponents. This way, you don't have to wait a long time before an opponent gets online and plays a move.

Is it possible to play a real-time game if I'm also playing at some turn-based table?


Is there a limit to the number of games I can play at the same time?

Yes and no.

In the beginning, the number of parallel games will be limited to a small number in order we can start slowly and test together this new mode.

Then, this limit will increase progressively, and we hope to remove it completely.

What happens if someone does not play for a long time?

The "time to think" system is the same than in realtime: _ you have a global thinking time for the game. _ you can be expelled from the game if you go over one or the other.

The allotted times depends on the game speed option.

If I'm online at the same time than my opponent, can we play real-time?

Absolutely. When you opponent is online, the game works exactly like with a real-time game (no need to refresh the page, real-time chat, and so on).

Is it possible to communicate with other players in turn-based mode?

Yes. The chat works exactly like in real-time, except that your opponent will see your message the next time he/she will connect to the game.

Can I start a game in real-time and finish it turn-based, and the opposite?

Yes and no.

You can launch a turn-based game, then discuss with your opponent(s) to find a suitable time slot to play it real-time. But it will remain a turn-based table with turn-based time constraints.

However, we hope to introduce these possibilities in the future.

Can I pause a game for a certain duration if all players agree?

This could be an interesting possibility offered by this new mode (for both realtime and turn-based) but it is not implemented at now.

How do I know if it's my turn when I'm not connected to BGA?

We provide you many different ways to do it.

For now: _ you can receive an email each time this is your turn at a table. _ you can receive an email when it's your turn on any table, then don't receive any email until you connect and play a move on any table. _ you can receive a daily report with the tables waiting for you.

All these options can be set from your Preferences page (Turn-based section).

In the future, more channels will be opened in order to be notified efficiently when it's your turn.

How can I remember what previously happened in a game?

You can replay any part of the game by clicking on a message in the game log ("Replay from this point" functionality).

When does a turn-based game start?

A turn based game starts as soon as the maximum number of players has been reached OR if the minimum number of players has been reached and the table admin decides to "start the game".

Is it possible to undo or reset a move?

This is a good question, but the answer is not obvious.

The policy of BGA until turn-based was the following: no undo, except in specific situation where undo is possible and where this is not annoying for other players.

For turn-based, the situation is quite different : if a player does an "undo", the other players doesn't care since they are not online at the same moment. So when it is possible and not annoying for the current player we may add an undo function. However it needs some extra, specific work on each game to have this.

I don't want to play with less than (or more than) X players. How to ensure this?

Table administrator can setup a minimum/maximum number of players, and these numbers cannot be changed after at least 1 opponent joined the game.

If you don't want to play with less than X players (or more than X players), please make sure not to join games configured with a minimum number of player lower than X (or a maximum number of players greater than X).

After the turn-based game has started is there any possibility to see what the gamespeed is, how many turns per day? =

Like any other options, you can check it while the game is running at the bottom of the page (or by a click on the gear wheel icon on the top right).