Playing Together in Isolation
In a previous blog post, I talked about how we are adapting to the current world situation and keeping the games and podcasts coming.
In this post I want to give some options out to you on how to keep your gaming group playing, or how to find a new one to join.
This one seems fairly self explanatory. If you have a regular group, keep in touch with them. Use a message app like Messenger, Hangouts or WhatsApp to keep a chat with individuals from your group and the group as a whole. That fun banter you have around the table doesn't have to stop because you can't sit around that table.
Grab a video chat program like Zoom, Skype, Houseparty etc and invite your friends in to just hang out. It doesn't have to be about playing a game, just chat about your day/week/lifetime in isolation. Don't be afraid to express if you are feeling weird or off or out of sorts, this is a weird time and you will feel even if it is just knowing your aren't alone in feeling that way.
Make New Connections
There is a lot of people out there with a lot more free time on their hands.
If you don't have a regular gaming group or your group is having a hard time getting together (online) to roll some dice and slay some goblins, then this may be the best time to find new or additional people to play with.
Facebook is a great way to find other players looking to game. Either search for groups with search strings of "Your Area" and "The Game" or check the Facebook page for your Friendly Local Game Store, they will likely have links to groups or even run their own.
In these groups there will certainly be multiple games looking for additional players and just as many small gatherings of folks wanting to start new games and campaigns. Don't be shy, everyone is there to play, just find a game that looks like suits your style and say hi.
Playing Isolated Style
Now you have your regular crew organised or have a new group ready to take off adventuring, its time to get set up to play.
If your group is playing via video chat, its a good idea to get the app ahead of time and have it setup and ready to go before the first meet up. If you are having issues, reach out and try and see if you can get them addressed before you are due to play. If you don't have a dedicated webcam, most android phones can be used as one or alternatively you can use the phone app version of these programs.
If your group wants to play with a visual representation of the game, there a several options for this.
For D&D and other RPGS you have Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds that can handle sharing maps and hand outs as well as character sheets and dice rolling. For a lot of other games like board and card games there are simulators like Tabletop Simulator or Vassal that create virtual boards with the shared assets needed to play the game. Most games on these platforms have expansions or modules to use for specific games. Some of these have extra costs involved.
Try New Games
You may be thinking, "D&D without rolling actual dice on the table is not real D&D" and if this is what you think, fair enough. It's not my place or anyone elses to tell you how to enjoy your gaming time.
This may be, however, the best time to try new games you haven't tried before. There a heap of ones that don't require a bunch of dice rolling or moving pieces around a battle map that lend themselves quite well to the online platform. These games tend to be the narrative and role play heavy style games that focus on the interaction between characters with words rather than dice rolls and stats.
A couple of these that we have played as part of the podcast are Fiasco and Honey Heist.
Fiasco is a one shot GMless game that plays like you are characters in a Guy Ritchie or Coen Brothers film, where no character is a "good guy", every one is flawed in some way and self serving in a whole lot more ways. Character creation, the game and the resolution are all done within the play session and you can expect to be done from beginning to end in around 3 hours. https://bullypulpitgames.com/games/fiasco/
Honey Heist (or most the games by Grant Howitt) is a fantastically wacky 1 page RPG that sets up the players to take the roles of a group of bears (yes Bears), disguised as humans, trying to rob a honey convention. The game is quick to set up and very rule light so you can have a full game done in a few hours. https://gshowitt.itch.io/honey-heist
This is a bit self aggrandizing but it is important too. Throw support to your favourite gaming content creators. These folks are putting quality entertainment together for you to enjoy.
They love what they are doing but don't be afraid to tell them you love what they are doing. The support can be as little as a like or a rating on their hosting/publishing platform or sharing a link to their content to your friends. It could be support in a more tangible format like donating to them via whatever process they have made available to you.
So if you are bored from binge watching all of The Simpsons for the third time and want something that will actually make you laugh and think again, check out Twitch or YouTube or your favourite podcast platform for gaming related content.
Hopefully this helps you escape the confines of your home and back to the joys of gaming together, albeit virtually.
We may be call ourselves Isolated City Gaming but we will never feel alone.