Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spies, Stars and Virtual Games

The other day I had the chance to play a psychic spy escaping from an abandoned terrorist facility on a distance space colony. My companions and I suffered at the hands our abductors until we saw an opening and made a break for it. Unarmed, weakened from our captivity and with no idea where we were we fought, sneaked and ran through the base until we reached the surface and was greeted by the light of day.

That was my first experiencing playing Stars Without Numbers. It is an old school tabletop RPG that anyone who played the early editions of Dungeons & Dragons are likely to be comfortable trying. But, I've played new games before. What made this different is that the game was played online, using a virtual table top (VTT) and none of the players were in the same place.

The VTT we used is from It allows the players to connect to the game via their website and share a common playing area. The Game Master can control the map and determine how much of it the players can see with a Fog of War function. Dice rolling is supported by the system and it includes the options to actually watch the dice roll across the screen. It also supports video chat, which seemed to work pretty well, but we opted not to use it and used Skype instead to reduce some echoing we were experiencing.

I used to run table top games almost weekly, but as the players (and I) moved out of the area it became more difficult to maintain a regular game. With a good VTT it doesn't matter where you players are, you can still get together for a night of gaming.

Now, I just need to figure out what game I want to run.

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