Monday, March 19, 2012

Google+ Gaming Thoughts

So, last Friday saw another expedition of backers of my Dwimmermount Kickstarter descend into the depths of my megadungeon. This time, the trio -- the expected fourth player didn't show -- explored Level 2A: The Laboratory, which is an area of the dungeon that my own players only very briefly visited. Considering that, once again, the party had no clerics amongst their number, I have to hand it to Keith, Josh, and Steve, for how far they managed to venture into the level before one of their number sustained sufficient wounds that they decided to retreat to the surface. Of particular note is the way that the magic-user, whose highest ability score was his Intelligence of 12, spent most of the evening stabbing orcs with his dagger. He successfully took down three orcs all by himself, which is why, by the end of the night, we were calling him "the Orcslayer."

Steve wrote a post on his blog where he recounts his experiences from his perspective. He also includes a rather nice little graphic that I've reproduced below, but do visit Steve's blog for a fuller explanation of what it all means.
With three Google+ gaming sessions under my belt now -- I'm still a tyro compared to guys like Jeff and Zak -- I have to say that I'm enjoying it a great deal. A big part of my enjoyment comes from introducing new people to Dwimmermount, people with whom I'd probably otherwise never get the chance to play. I'm having a blast seeing how different groups engage the monsters and obstacles I've placed in the dungeon.

I'm also pleased that, while lacking the immediate physical connection that comes from face-to-face gaming in my dining room or basement or at a con, Google+ still feels "real." We all roll dice and use pieces of paper to take notes and record information. About the only thing that we aren't using old fashioned methods for is mapping, mostly because I think it'd be tedious to do so via video chat. Luddite that I am, it makes me happy to know that we don't have to completely abandon the outward accoutrements I associate with roleplaying games even when playing with people separate by great distances. That alone means that I'm likely to continue doing this each week, even after the Kickstarter campaign has reached its end (and thank you again to everyone who's contributed).


  1. Your post echoes my feelings about playing online, only I use Skype, with Map Tool and Viewing Dale Dice to roll some dice (everyone can see the rolls). Every other trapping is still present, such as mapping the dungeon, having a caller, etc. Ironically, I also have the same problem as you (soon to be solved, I hope): the group doesn't have a Cleric. Using B/X myself so this means the magic-user is stabbing away like the fighter, thief and elf and he ended up being the guy who did the most damage and even killed a goblin.

    I tend to agree that playing online, with the right tools, is almost like the real thing but, alas, my group can't meet face to face and this is the next best thing.

  2. I'm really glad it's working out for you, James!

  3. Lot's of fun!

    I think the best part was that James seemed surprised that we survived so long!

  4. I guess I stole all the cleric players Friday night; there were 3 of them in Agrivaina. I should have sent one over to Dwimmermount. Haha.

    I'm glad your having good experiences, James. Running games over G+ only gets easier with experience.

  5. This is all very exciting to hear, and I'm very, very THANKFUL that you are posting your honest misgivings along with your positive experiences. It gives me hope!

    I've been aching to run a true G+ game for some time, but, despite the great successes others have had, I've been afraid it wouldn't "feel" right. After following your evolution from Luddite to Lord of Cyberspace, I am greatly encouraged!

    Many, many thanks!

    Coming soon is a suite of tools combined specifically for online gaming via G+. you can get all of this separately, but this project is going to make it easier for us all. I'm looking forward to trying it with my online group.

    Also is a low-cost/free replacement for Obsidian portal. Free accts can create one campaign and join in as many as they want. Paid accts ($12) can create as many campaigns as they want. I may have details on this wrong, but I've been using it for over 6 months with my group and it is great for wiki/journal/calendar/forum and many more features.

  7. Oh, I don't want to undercut Obsidian, great site, but if you only need a subset of the features or if it is too expensive for you, Epic Words has been doing the job for my group.