Thursday, April 15, 2010

Digital Frontier - Part 1

When I was talking about my New Year's resolutions one of the things I wanted to do, but don't think that I mentioned it there, was to do some on-line role-play gaming. I've recently had the opportunity to do some of that thanks to Rich Rogers over at Canon Puncture. Rich invited me to play in a monthly pick-up game on-line. Last month we played a great game of Mouse Guard and this month we'll be trying Fiasco.

In addition, Rob from Accidental Survivors invited me to play in an ongoing play-by-wiki game over at Obsidian Portal. This is a take on play-by-forum and was sparked by a post from Ken Newquist over at This game is run using Mutants & Masterminds. (More about this soon)

The Mouse Guard game was played using Skype. This allowed us to join an on-line conference call so that we could all converse. This worked very well at first. I'm pretty sure that I didn't have the latest version of Skype since I use it so infrequently. I didn't want to chance running an update right before play for fear that it could make matters worse.

The call worked well and the three of us (myself, Rich and Arnold) were able to get up and running very quickly. As the game wore on, I noticed more of a breakdown in the connection. We were on-line for over two hours on the same call. It could have been my laptop, it could have been the software, but it was extremely noticeable by the end were I was missing about 30% of the dialog. I was able to keep up, but if we had gone on much longer I would have lost much of the dialog. Needless to say I will be updating before we next play.

Skype also let us text each other for out-of-character discussion. This was especially nice for posting links and other relevant information. This was not used very heavily but it did help as a way of keeping track of various conditions of play.

For Mouse Guard we also used a dice roller at the Catch Your Hare! website. This was a great tool. It allows multiple players to all log into the same dice rolling session. Each of us could also color our dice so that it was easy to tell whose dice they were (we chose our dice color based on each mouse's cloak color). It also allowed for multiple labels to be placed around the screen so that dice could be pulled aside and still be visible for reference. On occasion there was a little delay when someone would 'roll' before I saw the dice, but no real hang-ups; there was a 'set password' button that acted as a screen refresh.

An interesting aspect of this play was player discussion without the GM (Arnold) listening in. When it was time for Rich and I to plan our scripting for the various encounters, Arnold would remove his headphones and step away from his PC to plan his moves. This was, in a sense, stepping out of the room.

Overall it was great fun for a number of reasons. Rich and Arnold are great players. It was my first time gaming with them both and I had a blast. It was also my first play of Mouse Guard. I had read the book, but playing brings a deeper understanding to the game. The adventure Arnold wove was fun and challenging. I would not (and will not) hesitate to game with both Rich and Arnold again and I definitely want to play some more Mouse Guard too.

Tonight we gathered again in the digital world to play the GMless game Fiasco. Me, I love me some GMless games, so I'm excited beyond belief. I'll be sure to update here very soon. Look for a post about Rob's play-by-wiki game as well soon.

Follow Your Bliss,


  1. Good to see you playing more, and with these fine fellows as well.

  2. Indeed. I think it really helps to work on my RP chops. We had a really good session of Fiasco last night, so I'm working on that post now.