Gaming in the time of Covida

Last weekend I got an extra FaceTime gaming session in because my player’s wife’s friends were ordered into self-isolation because they had recently returned from Taiwan and had to cancel their dinner-party.

This weekend I had to withdraw from a long-planned wine-tasting and board-gaming weekend in an AirBNB because I have a touch of flu and everyone is in a flap about respiratory symptoms.

How is everyone else’s gaming life standing up to the End of Times?

My usual face-to-face groups have moved on-line, so I wrote

(since my gaming is generally not of the tactical map flavour, a simple videoconference system is all that’s needed, and really audio-only would work if it would reliably tell you when people’s clients weren’t working - but a frozen face gives this information in a way that silence doesn’t).

Alas, most people I know don’t do Tabletop Simulator in spite of my best efforts to recruit them, so my boardgaming has declined rather.

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I’m a big fan of tabletop simulator, so if anyone is interested here I’m happy to be part of a TTS club in these virus-laden days. My time is limited but I’m keen!


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We did the Tuesday session face to face, but that will be moving online from now on. GM hasn’t told us which platform yet.

Tried Roll20 with another group, but that was a disaster - over an hour of tech issues and no actual gaming. We’re going to try again on Sunday. Not sure why the GM wants to use Roll20, given that it is a Delta Green game and I didn’t think tactical maps are necessary for that.

Used Google Hangouts for today’s Expanse game and all went fine.

I’m also hoping to make a big inroad into my RPG “to read” pile. That currently consists of:

Dead Tree Books
Scum & Villany
Worlds of 2000AD
Ghost Ops
The traveller version of Mindjammer
Plus a bunch of scenarios for Mutant Year Zero

Sufficiently Advanced 2nd edition
A game about Cahokia
A game about the US Navy


I picked up Paleomythic this week. It’s a shame that Osprey don’t bundle PDFs with the books (I bought my copy from an independent bookshop and it was still several pounds cheaper than the PDF would be) but it’s a gorgeous volume. Looking forward to reading it, as soon as I’ve sorted out the Tékumel refresher reading I’m doing.

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I am a big fan of Roll20, YMMV, and I am playing Coriolis, Symbaroum, Strahd, and PF2 on there.

About to start Qin, and hope to get Blue Rose up and running within 2 week.

I don’t want to leech onto my own BBS, but people have been talking about:
Table Top Simulator (I want to try)
Just Discord (now it has screen share)
Let’s Role
Roll20 (obvs, but it’s AV isn’t viewed as stable, I don’t see that but YMMV)
and just plain Hangouts (I never found that stable but ran 3 games for over a year on it, so natch)

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We played our weekly game on Zoom with an iPhone in a clamp looking down on the usual battlemap. Worked well enough for the tactical shenanigans. Unfortunately the French Doctor got perforated, and the only other PC with medical training beyond first aid learned it from an Algonquin shaman. We’ll see how that goes next session.

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I’ve moved from Hangouts which I was using before to Jitsi that I’m hosting myself:

  • not Google
  • easier setup (no login), easier URLs for chat names
  • haven’t tried yet, but it would be easy to have another machine with a camera pointing at a map
  • offers more features: tile view, moderator, “hand up” flag, speaker stats, individual volume controls
  • server in the UK, so when traffic is not peer-to-peer the latency is lower
  • only relies on overall Internet infrastructure, not Hangouts server availability

You can get all but the last two with the public .

That was about the beginning of the Great Lockdown, and here we are — if not at the end or even the beginning of the end, perhaps at the end of the beginning.

  • Have any of us resumed gaming in person yet? The rules here would permit it if there were any gamers locally.

  • Has anyone picked up or developed new tips for non-local synchronous RP?

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Here (UK) we could legally have a gathering of six if it were out of doors. Which I’d be fine with, but others mostly wouldn’t.

There’s a perception here that the ball has been very much dropped compared with what other countries have done, and that restrictions are being eased more for political reasons than for medical ones, so I think a lot of us will probably stay relatively isolated for longer than the official restrictions last. (And several of the people I game with normally are already not in the best of health.)

As for the actual gaming: all but one of the groups I’m in is using Jitsi (and that one is because one of the players has other reasons for not running a modern web browser). We haven’t needed anything more than that, though I am thinking about buying a whiteboard easel to put behind me in view of the camera, because that would feel more interactive than screen-sharing a drawing window.


I know someone who tried outdoor gaming but they all enjoyed the sun and being with real people they had a great time and didn’t play.

I think one could do FATE quite well outside with two giant inflated d6 dice.

As to gaming online… WOW… just WOW… weeks with with 4-5 games have become regular and just great. Although… burnout as a GM is hitting me, so I am going to switch to more playing. But it’s been a huge surge of gaming.