Coordinating Online Games

The only reason Technical Difficulties exists is because of the internet. Being online enables folks spread out across two time zones to play RPGs with one another. Luckily, this is very easy to replicate with your own gaming group by keeping a few things in mind.

An agreed upon time may be more important than the game itself. By setting a time everyone will know when to be ready; spontaneous games are very rare. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve also become more cognizant of time zones then I had ever been in my life. Using a group calendar in Google Calendar, or web apps like WhenIsGood can help your group agree on a time.

After having an agreed time, the next step comes with having an agreed means of communication. There are many apps that are available for use. While Skype is the gold standard for most online voice chat, it is far from the only option. We use Google Hangouts because of the option to record our games to the linked YouTube account of the person who started the call. Right now can you can only use Hangouts in Chrome.

Though we haven’t used it much for gaming, Discord has been an excellent app for voice communication. You can make a main server and then create side rooms. This way there can be a main lobby for everyone to meet in and then break into private rooms to play.  You can even use games from Steam, like Tabletop Simulator, to play RPGs. Hell, you could even use Steam Voice Chat if other apps aren’t working for you. Your group should talk about what you need in an app and play around with the available options.

Once the game has finally started, there are still other considerations to be had. Of utmost importance is honesty at the table. Unless everyone is using web cams you'll have to be honest with your rolls. Lying about your rolls defeats the purpose of the game and can make for a bad night for all involved. If everyone would rather see the rolls there are apps available, including

Another issue is that if there are no cameras, people cannot see each other. This makes it harder for players play off of each other because since body language isn’t visible.  If being able to see one another is important for your game web cams may be necessary.

In 2017 it is easier than ever to play games with friends anywhere in the world. Both on mic and off I’ve played with people from the East Coast to the West Coast of the US, to people in Europe and Australia. With the boon this brings it also brings responsibilities as well. Coordination is key to having a good experience for everyone.