Online ExpansionMarch 2, 2008
I’ve been slowly nudging a couple of gamer friends who live far away, to grab some headsets and Skype game with me. As I’m organizing this, I realized there’s this crucial difference in setting up games.
First, unlike playing face to face, I can’t just pull out the books and flip to the awesome stuff and say, “And this is how this game lets you do this, just read these 2 paragraphs” and sell them on it.
Pretty much, it depends on whether the rules are available online, as pdfs or only in hardcopy. Because that last part? Means I have to explain each detail of the rules, and I don’t like how when the rules exist only verbally, they become kind of nebulous in peoples’ heads.
The tabletop gaming culture has done well by using the internet to build design communities, or even organize meet-and-play, but not so great at supporting online play.
Basically, the advantage of freeform forum or chat games is that usually whatever explicit rules exist are available online as well as examples of play, whether in the form of the forum itself or irc chat records. And many set up websites that break down the intro idea of what the game is about, making it easy for newcomers to see what it’s all about.
I guess we’ll be starting with games that I have in more than just hardcopy form, and we’ll see where things go from there.