Gaming FTF vs VTT

Back in the old days if you couldn’t meet face to face your options were few.  Play by post was it.  The game was played via the US Mail.  Technology came in the ’90s that brought playing via an online bulletin board, also call Play by Post.  It wasn’t until the last 10 or so years that playing online was truly viable.  And now you can watch others do just that.  I want to emphasize YOU can watch it.  Actual plays put me to sleep.

Currently, due to the way media companies and local governments are responding to the Covid pandemic, many folks are not wanting to or they are prevented from meeting face to face (FTF) for roleplaying.  I still play FTF when possible.  So far no issues.  We tried some virtual tabletop (VTT) gaming but it was unsatisfying and it fizzled out for a variety of reasons.  I have been very sour on the whole thing this whole time, but recently some things have softened my attitude.

  1. The Biggus Geekus podcast.  Randy and I have been getting used to chatting online and working out some technical issues.  We both think it is more doable for us now than it was this past summer.
  1. I cannot and will not convince others to be less fearful than they are.  And perhaps that is the way it should be.  It is their life to risk (or not risk) what they will.
  1. VTT is the only way I will be able to game with some of my friends.  And I miss them.  Virtual is no replacement for in person, but its better than nothing.

While I will continue FTF gaming I will also do VTT or just zoom or skype to game with those friends who cannot or will not meet FTF.

For me some issues must be worked out for VTT or online gaming to be successful.  Etiquette.  You must wait to talk.  Talking over someone is bad enough in person, online it is highly annoying.  Use headphones and a noise cancelling mic if at all possible, and be familiar with the mute feature of the VTT or your own equipment. Coordination is even more important for online I think.  One or two sessions to work out technical issues, equipment concerns, and scheduling all should be done at the outset so the chance of smooth sailing is maximized.  We should also make sure we are as gracious as possible with each other as the opportunity to hang with those we care about is very limited.

This weekend I will be in a FTF game.  These are some of the same people I have gamed with for years and a few times during this crazy last year.  We are all healthy, apart from the crappy American diet that keeps most of us more round than is good.  To me, it is worth the less than 1 percent chance of infection to actually be human.

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