Multiplayer LAN games for cheapskates
aka “I prefer free or cheap games”
First of all, a small disclaimer is required. This list is mainly based on my personal experience when roaming LAN parties in combination with the games I like to play myself.
Not all these games require a platform account, but adding friends to your game is way easier like that.
For the biggest part of this list, you’ll be needing a PC (obviously) and if you haven’t already done so, you need to first create an account on the following platforms through their respective websites :
- Steam (the mothership of gaming platforms)
- GOG (for lovers of retro games)
- HumbleBundle (very cheap games, where your money’s donated to a charity)
- Origin (that other mothership of gaming platforms)
- Battle.net (limited amount of games, but huge player base. Does World of Warcraft ring a bell ?)
- War Thunder
Lots of fun and easy to learn.
Flying planes and bombing tanks.
Cross platform for Linux, Windows, Mac and Playstation 4
- World of Warships
A bit more hard core. You get to pilot actual replica of ships in a huge naval battle.
Starts easy, but gets really intense on higher ranks.
If you need a slow-paced but action-intensive game, this is for you
Yet another Steam game not obliged to run specifically on Steam.
Sci-fi Spacey third person shooter with a simple and balanced class system.
- Star Trek Online
Command your own crew in your personal NCC-ship.
Multiplayer Trekkie heaven.
- Star Conflict
Massive multiplayer space ship pew-pew.
Not really a beginner kinda game to start playing, but tons of fun with an experienced group of players. If you’ve played EVE Online and like that game, this is probably for you !
- Winning Putt
Sounds stupid, but it’s stupidly addictive as well.
Multiplayer golf. What more do you want ? :p
- Team Fortress 2
The very first free-to-play game on Steam and still totally worth mentioning.
This game stood the test of time and still kicks ass in the current-gen list of competitive shooters.
It’s a team-based shooter where with many game typs such as “capture the flag”, ‘plant the bomb”, “king of the hill”, …
The title stands for “Of Guards And Thieves”, in case you’re wondering 🙂
This little hidden gem has you play as either a member of the thieves or a guard (oooh, unexpected), where you have to infiltrate a mansion ans steal items or prevent the thieves from doing so.
Sounds simple, but it’s a real blast.
- DOTA 2
Spice is the variety of life. Or is it the other way around ? DOTA started as a simple mod for Warcraft 3, but quickly grew towards a thing of its own.
DOTA 2 (Defense of The Ancients) is one of those games, where you defend your base and conquer your oponent’s. Computer-controlled units are your grunts, where you manually control a leader. As classic as it gets.
While Origin occasionally used to have an “On the house” action every now and then, there’s not a lot of actual free games on their platform.
They stopped giving away freebies mid 2018 and don’t have plans to do so again (yet).
Nevertheless, Origin is EA’s gaming platform and it can never hurt to create an account here.
If you’re a fan of specific EA games (list on this Wiki page), have a go at Origin.
Also : PLAY ULTIMA ONLINE !!!
Humble Bundle :
Also, an other website that’s not known for instant-freebies.
Humble Bundle’s profit is poured mainly into general healthcare, Red Cross, humanitary help, … projects.
Every month or so, you’ll see a little announcement on their site where you get to buy an “Humble Bundle”, which usually consists of around 10 to 12 games. Depending on the amount of money you donate, you’ll receive a small, medium o full package of games, usually Steam keys or DRM-free downloads.
It’s a bit of a gamble to get into their “Humble Montly” program, but definitely worth to create an account and stay on the lookout for a good bundle of games.
They even release e-books or specific software such as video editors every now and then !
The GOG.COM platform has come a long way over the years.
It started out more like a fan-service to old-school gamers, but quickly grew into a legal distribution platform for the older games.
Now, GOG also provides the newer games on the market but is still known for its classic and historical games.
An easy search (https://www.gog.com/games?sort=popularity&page=1&price=free) will get you into their list of free games (and demo’s).
- As a lover of old games, I suggest the Ultima series, but they’re all mostly single-player RPG’s.
- Gwent is quite likeable though. If you ever played “The Witcher 3”, you’ll love this. It’s the card minigame that has gotten a seperate game of its own. Very addicitve, although most card game players will either stick to Magic The Gathering Online, Pokémon The Trading Card Game Online (basically Magic for beginners) or HeartStone (on Battle.net)
A couple of game have already been mentioned that are not necesarily platform-bound, but there’s a few ones that are not bound to any software distribution platform.
This beauty is a serious blast from the past, but remains an awesome game over all the years it had to fight to stay in the top game charts.
As a free game OpenTTD (which is unoficially short for ‘Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe’).
OpenTTD consists of a very simple concept to create the most optimal and lucrative transport system to get your products from A to B (and even to C and D in the process). The challenge for most people in this game, is getting the awesome train system to work.
It’s a blast in multiplayer as you’ll soon be fighting over who gets the best coal prices in order to move them to your energy plant and whatnot.
Fantasic game that gave me a good time in the past and I’m getting the urge to play it again by just writing about it.
There’s even an Android port for the game, if you’re into that.
- Pokémon TCGO
Addictive Pokémon-themed card game from the creators of the all-popular card game series ‘Magic The Gathering’. It’s basically a gateway game to get you to play Magic AND there’s also a physical copy where you receive goodies for the online game per card pack.
The online game is completely free though.
You CAN invest real money in card decks, but it’s more of a time investment than an actual cash cow. Very fun to play with your kids, as most of the common languages are translated into it.
Actual non-video games ??? On a LAN party ???
And here we go again with the LAN party thing…
I’ve mentioned it before, but LAN parties are not all about sitting behind a computer screen for as long as you can.
They’re social events.
Part of the main audience happens to love real life party games and/or board games as well, so why not combine both ? As (almost) per definition, the default LAN party will last a complete weekend starting on a friday evening, going on ’till sunday evening. Depending on extended weekends, or going to events such as LANcamp (R.I.P.) this time might get extended to even a whole week.
When you’re my age (old) you lose interest in this mundane task of sitting behind a screen for over 48 hours and need a diversion.
- SINGSTAR !!
The classic karaoke game that everybody (that sings) loves.
Get everybody either really drunk and laugh your asses off, or battle in a competition of actual good singing voices.
Either way, Singstar gets the job done.
Protip : don’t karaoke near concentrated Counter Strike players (screw you sour-pissing CS player at Frag-o-Matic)
- Any fricking board game you like to play with friends.
I mean it, just get together with a couple of mates and pick something (preferably short in game time) as a diversion from your computer screen.
- Dance Dance Revolution
Or In the Groove or Stepmania, whatever floats your boat.
Just make sure you play it on the controller it’s created for : THE DANCE MAT.
Oh, and provide a shower opportunity on your LAN party, cause you’ll sweat your ass off…
This list of games is never done and you know it.
Let me know in the comments below if you have anything to add to this list of awesome freebies to get your (LAN) party started or throw me a PM on Facebook if you will.