[TT] Online Tabletops

Have you used the online or mobile versions of tabletop games? What do you think of them?

Letting the computer take care of setup, dice, math, etc. is a really convenient thing. I have heard of people who will go to their respective computers to play Settlers of Catan rather than sitting at a table because of the convenience. You could play Carcassonne on your mobile device. My friend has a Dominion card randomizer app, and a smartphone is smaller than the stack of randomizer cards if you have all the expansions.

Games like Risk, Titan, or Axis & Allies, with lots of pieces and long play times, seem better on a computer than in physical space. I have a cat, you have children, and Ethic lives a day’s drive away, but the electronic board is there, safe and sound and remotely accessible. Pen and paper RPGs have a mixed record with online tabletops, but computers do handle miniatures and dice nicely.

Or do you then get into “use the medium” concerns? Now that you are no longer on a tabletop, how many vestiges of the tabletop do you want to keep? You start the long, gradual slide into computer games rather than computer-mediated tabletop games, and the whole point of Tabletop Tuesday is to avoid that.

: Zubon

6 thoughts on “[TT] Online Tabletops

  1. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    I generally prefer to use the physical game when I can. But, virtual tabletops are great for gaming with people with whom it would take a long trip to play in person. I use a virtual tabletop to play a 20th anniversary Werewolf game with some of the same friends I used to play in university with. Even though we’re not spread across the country, we can still play together.

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  2. DistilledWill

    I’ve played an online version of Cards Against Humanity (honestly, I can’t find the link anymore). It actually works really well if you’re with friends and you can’t get together in person. We were dubious at first because I’ve gotta be honest we have usually been drinking when we crack out the CaH, but after a bit of getting used to the interface we actually got into it. The game went so much faster because there was none of the busy-work of dealing with the cards.

    The in-person game is always going to be better, but as a compromise the online version filled the gap.

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  3. Winged Nazgul

    You’re probably aware of this already but I’m surprised you didn’t mention it, but you can also play Dominion online at https://www.playdominion.com/

    I thought it was a great implementation as someone who had never played the game at all and I was quite addicted to it for a time.

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  4. mbp

    I actually played the Carcassonne app before buying the game but I never went back to it after getting the physical game. I guess if I was devious I could use the app to hone skills for my next physical game but I just play with my family and it is more fun when we all make mistakes together.

    One curious observation is that some of the subtler points of the game were lost on me until we got the physical game even though they are faithfully represented in the app. Perhaps this was just an ongoing learning process but I think it may have something to do with the physical presence of the real game making it easier to see the big picture.

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  5. Kaluu

    That is a great question! There is certainly something magical about picking up a pair of dice, feeling their texture, blowing into them for luck (bacterial phobiaists cringe) , rubbing them between each finger, beaching lady luck or a disciple of fate, letting them slip from our hands just so, hoping for salvation or victory, and watching as each one rolls and comes to rest. Or we can push a button. Certainly many rolls are perfunctory. Let’s get this over with as quickly as possible, the outcome never in doubt. Certainly I can beat snake eyes, then not. Laughter and groans. 1 time in 36. Happens one time in 1296. Decides the game, do you remember when?

    idk, great question. Look you knocked my pieces off the board with that roll. Be more careful. We smile and all help put the pieces back, except where did that piece go? He had 5 there, no 6.

    Hey, I can fly in this weekend in July. Sounds great, I’ll tt Aaron and we’ll get a game together. It’ll be fun. Let’s see who we can get together. Arrive in town. Forgot my pieces. Forgot my dice. That’s ok. Aaron has extras. They don’t match, who cares? Well, I also had my character sheet in there, omg. We roll up character. How is that again? We need more chairs.
    Someone couldn’t make it. We wanted his mage. Where is he? What is he doing today that he could miss this game. How is he btw? Was that an afterthought?

    Faceless names. Emoticons. No drive thru familiar country. No stops along the way. No meals with friends. TeamSpeak fills the void. Laughter but no smiles, cringes, or emotions on our friends faces to be seen.

    Do you want a beer or coke while I am up? Sugar free is you have it, better yet water, I am on a diet. You’ve lost some weight. I am flattered someone cares. It’s getting late and we have to go, there is a long drive ahead, but the game is not finished. There is no winner. Save the game? The pieces slide into the box while a winner is debated. He has North America, she has Boardwalk and Park Place but no hotels. We have to pick this up where we left off, next time. Have to. We just spent an hour debating whether to open the door. We have to know what’s on the other side.

    Better than nothing sure, but a substitute? I guess not for me.

    /reminisces off.

    Thank you, Zubon.

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  6. Ravious

    I find that boardgame apps are excellent at making the tabletop games a lot smoother. Mrs. Ravious and I bought the Carcassonne app the moment it went on iOS and our tabletop games have improved markedly. I would not have figured out Dominion quite as well without the play on the website.

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