Like many industries around the world, board game companies in particular are reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic. While that may sound counter-intuitive given all the extra time people are spending at home, the issues many companies have stem from the supply chain interruptions that have come as the virus shuts down industries across the globe.
Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett had a particularly thorough explanation of the issues on Sunday, but the fact that many paper and plastic components of games come from China has severely limited the ability of some games to be released at all, and others are running low on copies as people look for distractions while they practice good social distancing and stay home. Online streaming games, like Jackbox and or Roll20-aided RPG campaigns have excelled in these moments, but traditional tabletop games have also tried their best to help people stay busy while they stay home.
Last week, Cards Against Humanity announced it was releasing a free-to-print “Family Edition” of the popular fill-in-the-blank card game known for its questionable humor.
We’ve been working for over a year on a family edition of Cards Against Humanity. Today we’re releasing a print & play version for free so kids & parents can play right now while they’re home: https://t.co/PuTfWuMPS0
— CardsAgainstHumanity (@CAH) April 2, 2020
The original CAH started as a print-at-home game well before its ubiquitous cards were available at big box stores, so this is a throwback of sorts. But the “Family Edition” is a printable beta that the company promises it’s safe for children and adults and has been thoroughly play-tested with kids in mind.
We’ve been working on it for over a year in consultation with child development experts and psychologists. Our plan was to surprise everyone with this in the fall, but we know a lot of families need something to do right now.
So today we’re posting a public beta of Cards Against Humanity: Family Edition for free, so you can print it at home and play it right now with your bored family. We’ll figure out how to make money on it later.
Other companies have also moved to release print-at-home versions of their games in an effort to keep gamers interested and trying new things. Asmodee, which makes games like Ticket To Ride, Settlers of Catan and Splendor, announced Monday that it would release six print-and-play versions of its games online as well.
Dixit in particular is a great play-at-home storytelling game for all ages, and the other Asmodee titles are a good mix of family and more advanced board games if you need something to keep kids occupied as well. It’s a great idea, and one that can keep interest in an entertainment industry that’s likely to experience some difficult periods as the effects of COVID-19 continue to impact industries around the world.