Gaming Options

Monday, 24. May 2010

With all of the mediums available now a days, pencil and paper gaming doesn’t necessarily have to be tabletop anymore. There are several good options for gaming, most of which are online. The standard is tabletop gaming however some of the additional options are chat programs, email and forum games and Lie Action Role Play (LARP). We’ll cover a few of them more in depth below.

The standard method of role playing is table top games. All of the players are gathered around a table where the game information is; maps, character sheets, dice and the like. The storyteller is off typically to one end behind a game screen for privacy. This is typically the preferred method, but not always available due to having to get everyone on nearly the same schedule for a game.

One of the simplest methods of gaming is simply via email. The storyteller will get with any associated players to characters, and run the game purely via mails. Characters give inputs in between the storyteller’s emails, and the storyteller takes the inputs uses them as the characters actions. This is perhaps the simplest method to keep a game running though different schedules. The downsides are that email games can be dreadfully slow waiting between all the character responses and players might not have as much control over their characters as the might like.

Another method of gaming is using internet forums setup for a game. The forums are usually private or at least semi private, and run very similar to the email method. The players respond after storyteller posts for their responses, and the storyteller adapts and runs as per a standard game. The disadvantages are similar to the email games, with slow (although perhaps not as slow) response times, and perhaps slightly less control over their character as tabletop gaming. Depending on the forum privacy there may be additional chatter on the game thread as well.

The more complicated method of running games online is to use a chat program, such as IRC with an available dice roller or Openrpg. These 2 are merely listed do to there availability. There are other excellent programs available as well. The latter simulates a tabletop game, with proper character sheets, a built in dice roller, and map and drawing board for the storyteller to work with. Add in a voice chat client such as Ventrilo or Teamspeak and you have a very respectable setup. The downsides are program instability at times, and requiring scheduling to actually play games.

Live action role play consists of acting out scenes, costumes and some combat with padded weapons. The acting and scenes are a true test of ones acting ability if done correctly. There are varying rule sets for handling combat variables such as armor, weapon strength, character experience and the like. Beyond that, the author cannot comment other than to say it’s out there.

As plainly seen, there are a number of choices available for running a game depending on energy level, time, space and ability to coordinate a group of people. Live games such as tabletop require scheduling and space to pull off effectively. Online games are easier to fit in, but lose some of the personal interaction as well as jokes that occur with actual contact. All have various advantages and disadvantages, so it’s merely a matter of picking one that fits well into your life and time.

There are plenty of options available for gaming, now get out there and role-play.

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