Thinking in a game — Over the Board vs Online

This evening I’ve been thinking about abstract gaming and abstract gaming online. What got me thinking was a particularly thorny situation in a game that required a great deal of thought — thought that I couldn’t muster while staring at my computer.I think that when I play a game over the board, I can read deeper and more consistently. I’m curious why this might be. My first guess is that while I play, I get used to reading that particular game and I develop mental models of the game that get updated during that game. I don’t seem to do this when I play online. At best I can look at a few variations in my head before I give up and play a move.

I feel like if I wanted to succeed in each round I play online, I would need to lay out the physical pieces or slowly replay the moves a number of times before ultimately deciding on a move. This seems a little baroque.

Has anyone else thought about this before? Does anyone else feel like online gaming pales in comparison to over the board gaming for this reason? How do you compensate for it?

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