This is one of those posts that isnt revolutionary or anything, but deals with a topic I have to discuss if I am going to talk about gaming and overseas life. Bear with me.
This little "S" means "gg."
Hey! Wrong VASSAL!
My buddies and I also use VASSAL. Its a program that is specifically designed to facilitate online play of board - and wargames. Readers of my older posts will know that this is pretty much the old may I can play Warmachine with any regularity outside of my yearly pilgrimage to GenCon. Skype with VASSAL allows me to spend an evening with my buddies practicing new army compositions and tactics. VASSAL is great not just for isolated gamers like me, its a good place to try the really wonky stuff you want to do on a wargaming table (8 bombards FTW!), but in an environment that is a tad less competitive. By its very nature, VASSAL creates an environment a little less intense than a standard table top.
Now, admittedly, pushing pixels of minis is not as fun as pushing lead around a table, but its something. Actually, VASSAL is a little like methadone for a heroine addict. Not as good as the real need, but it can tide you over.
Its amazing, really. In the span of 10 years or so, the gaming community has moved from being dependant on basements and brick-and-mortars, to playing virtually. Its been a boon for me, allowing me to keep my old gaming group going through the last 10+ years.