Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Return to Live Gaming!

 We're meeting for the first time in more than a year at our local game shop.....everyone in the group is vaccinated, none of us have overtly stressful health issues (outside of the usual stuff), and frankly it will just be nice to meet people live again. 

Virtual gaming has some advantages.....one of them is not hauling a 50 lb. bag of books around, followed by another immense tote filled with maps and pawns or minis, but I gotta admit, this may have been yet another form of exercise that I haven't been getting for the last 15 months of isolation.

It will probably involve somewhat slower interactions....our brains will need to remember calculations now rather than let Roll20 do it for us, for example; but on the plus side that is trivial compared to learning how to set up the macros to do those calculations in the first place!

Instead of me scalping maps off the internet or trying t draw them with crude online tools I can now just draw them with dry erase markers and call it a day. 

Pulling maps out of the ether online is pretty trivial. For a physical table you can print them out as needed, or just draw your own, but of course the virtual environment is easy enough to port them in to as well. The difference that favors the table, however, is no one complains when you can't figure out how to use the dynamic lighting software, or can't find the time to elaborately set it up. Is dynamic lighting cool? Hell yeah. Is it worth it? Not in my opinion.

Perhaps the biggest advantage VTTs do have over the table is minis management. It is prohibitively difficult under any conditions to easily pull out the right minis or pawns and use them. At minimum you need to narrow down what is necessary (that can be hard if you run more hexcrawl or sandbox style campaigns where by its nature there is some unpredictability) and also very expensive to secure enough miniatures to field any possible encounter. Pawns such as what Paizo makes simplify building up your army of tokens a bit, but can be a nightmare to organize for easy deployment. VTTs let you you drag and drop tokens in a flash and with very little delay.....so points to VTT for this.

A huge thing I am looking forward to live gaming for again though is the fact that conversations can once again be fluid, can include visual queues, and do not funnel through the "one voice, one channel" process of online communication. You can have side conversations. You can have conversations where people aren't talking over each other (okay, that will happen, but it makes more contextual sense in live situations), you can not worry about audio dropping unless someone gets laryngitis, etc. etc.

But mostly, I'm looking forward to seeing some old friends again in the flesh for the first time in ages!

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