02A14: Tabletop Simulator Potential

Virtual Board Gaming

 Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 518

We ended 2020 with a serious effort to get more digital board games. With no end to the ongoing quarantines in response to the pandemic, we figured that the only way we'll be able to game with our friends is using digital solutions. Since then, we've steadily grown our collection of digital board games, and every birthday within our geek circles has been an excuse to give even more board game apps to one another in order to create more games we have in common. Every common game is another thing we can play together online.

It's only in recent months that we've started to experiment more with Tabletop Simulator, which is more a platform for digital versions or adaptations of board games and less than an individual game in itself. It has always been a daunting platform since the games here, especially those created by the fan community, don't always have a lot of automation to make it easier to play the game. If anything, the simulator aspect is very accurate in that it relies on you manipulating the different game components as in the real world and less about the game being coded to help you along. But with the help of friends and family who also use the platform, there are a lot of games that are partially scripted or automated that help makes playing some of the games a little easier.

Today we're scheduled to have an online game night with the FGTC as an early celebration of my birthday. In pre-pandemic times, we'd meet up once a month and would inevitably need to celebrate someone's birthday in-between the many board games we'd play together. And we've been trying to keep up with that habit since our big Christmas game night last year including making sure a birthday cake gets delivered to the month's celebrant. 

For today's session, Tobie seems determined to get more of the FGTC crew on the Tabletop Simulator train as well. We're a lot more confident with the platform now and already have a good mix of games that we're happy with the TTS implementation. We put a lot of focus on games that we own the physical copies of and don't have an official digital implementation yet just to sort of balance the scales. Naturally, we still want to support the creators in our own way. 

Getting everyone used to how TTS works differently from other digital board game apps will be a little tricky, but getting over that hurdle today should be worth it in the long run as it'll expand our board game options beyond those with official apps. And this group has always been about a happy diversity of games to play together and is always up for a new challenge.