Yesterday I had my second game over Google+ Hangout (check out my post about my first game there) and again, everyone had a blast. Of course we had to fight some technical issues first and even though we tried we couldn’t eliminate a nasty echo entirely. But as one of the players mused, we were exploring a cave after all, perhaps it’s supposed to sound like this.
Like the last time Chris ran “Into the Odd” for us. After the game I realized that because of Google+ I have actually played more during the last two weeks than in a long time before.
Scheduling a game has always been a major issue, and since most of my local players live up to an hour’s drive away from me, the time they need to get home after the game has always been another problem. So most of the time we tried to play on the – much too short – weekends. And if then one or more players can’t make it you have to reschedule to the next weekend or the weekend after that. The end result is that you don’t get to play that often.
It’s much easier to get a two to three hour game over Hangout going. Nobody has to drive long distances to get to the place where you want to play. And when the game is done you can go to bed directly without having another long drive ahead of you. Especially when you want to play during the week this really opens up opportunities.
So, do I think that playing via some kind of videoconferencing tool can replace regular gaming altogether? No, I don’t think so. But it can help you to game more often, especially when scheduling in addition to long distances are an issue. And it can help you to play with people you would probably never even meet in “real life” because they live thousands of miles away.
Of course some games are easier to run over Hangout than others. In my opinion it’s perfect for rules-light games. I guess you could even use the sketchpad to realize a battlemap if you like to play with miniatures. The only thing missing so far is a dice rolling feature, but there’s hope third party developers will add something like that with the newly released API. But if your GM trusts you, you can just use your own dice. That’s the method we used in our games and it worked fine.
By the way, I already convinced one other GM to run a game over Hangout for me and I am currently thinking about running games this way myself. I think great times are ahead of us!