I was gaming online before quarantine, but now that circumstances have forced people (some of whom also game) to learn how to zoom or hangout, I’m gaming way more than before.
It’s Not The Same
One gaming friend has noped out of online gaming. He tried it before and said it’s just not for him. You do lose that face to face interaction at the table. You don’t get to push minis around the table (and I find online equivalents too cumbersome to be worth it). There’s a significant buy-in, not just in items (webcams, mics, decent internet) but also the technical knowledge to use those things effectively without crosstalk or echoes or other connection issues.
It’s not the same, and that’s okay. My local group would get together maybe once a month if we were lucky. Now I’m playing in 4 weekly or fortnightly games. I don’t currently have a use for my minis but I’ve rigged up a green screen. I’m playing with a mix of people from that local group, people across the country, and new friends pulled in from all around.
What I’m Playing
Most of the games I’m in use Roll20 and Google Hangouts. One uses Discord for chat instead of Hangouts.
Mutant Year Zero
We were playing this one before quarantine started using the time slot from my previous Insomniacs playtests. It’s a brutal game and we’ve seen a near-TPK (saved only by the criticals not being immediately fatal) as well as my first legit PC death in probably years (stabbed through the heart after failing an attack roll with 8 dice). Everyone in this game is an asshole.
For this Forged in the Dark game about crime and corruption in the South, we decided to try a non-violent strategy as an outfit of white-collar criminals/politicos/country music stars and it’s been a lot of fun. I like how Copperhead County handles entanglements/trouble for the crew – it’s a lot more organic than Blades in the Dark’s more structured system.
Monster of the Week
This one’s a mix of friends-of-friends and old gamer friends who moved away. Most are new to PbtA games and some are new to online gaming but we’ve smoothed over the rough spots so far. We’ve been splitting the party a lot more here, and it feels more natural than at the table. I think it’s how this particular group is handling noise discipline – by spotlighting 1-3 players at a time we cut down on crosstalk.
Star Trek Adventures
The MotW GM is running this one too. STA has a nice online character creator and the Roll20 support is a little janky at first but it looks nice. This is a new system for everyone involved but we’re catching on quick. I know the original series movies really well, but the rest of my Trek knowledge is just through osmosis and half-remembered episodes from long ago. Turns out that’s enough, and if someone name-drops some obscure alien, I can google it right away.