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"5 Reasons to use virtual tabletops for wargaming " Topic

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07 Jan 2017 8:56 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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WargamingAddict20 Dec 2013 3:52 a.m. PST

Having used virtual tabletops for about a year now for all my wargaming (not out of choice – but my minis and my wargaming space are simply unavailable) I put my thoughts about how useful this tool is here: link

What do you think? Would you use them or not?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2013 5:09 a.m. PST

I don't even know where to begin with something like that.

Kimber VanRy20 Dec 2013 5:12 a.m. PST

What a great detailed piece about a section of the hobby I know nothing about. It deserves a few re-reads and I'm going to check out some of the options. I'm lucky to have a group of gamers nearby with our own club space, but I also have a brother I get to game with maybe only once a year -- this may help us reconnect more often.

M C MonkeyDew20 Dec 2013 6:43 a.m. PST

Interesting article. Thank you for posting it.

Who asked this joker20 Dec 2013 7:08 a.m. PST

Interesting article. Does Battle Chronicler have a dice roller now? The last time I looked at it, you had to do all game activity outside the software.

I used VASSAL. VASSAL works well for games like Impetus and others where the unit is an element and you don't have to worry about wheeling lots of elements in 1 formation. It is also good for games where you regulate movement with hexes or squares. For games like WRG, Chainmail and others, it is less useful since those are single figure elimination.

altfritz20 Dec 2013 7:19 a.m. PST

There is also Cyberboard. I noticed the other day that the Perfect Captain stuff seems to be available for Cyberboard. Myself, I've never figured out how to properly work it, nor Vassal, nor Berthier, but I really should.

Thanks for the article! I just gave it a quick skim through but I'll read it properly later.

haywire20 Dec 2013 7:52 a.m. PST

Neat. Will have to take a look at those later

WargamingAddict20 Dec 2013 8:37 a.m. PST

Thanks for al the comments.

Yes – I should have included VASSAL – I've used it and it can be used for wargames (although it's interface and design elements are not the easiest). I do like VASSAL for boardgames though.

Berthier is great to set up a campaign map and can handle hidden movement for players. And it is free – that makes it super. But it does only do campaign map movement really.

Battle Chronicler does not have a dice roller – but there are hundreds of free ones online.

Who asked this joker20 Dec 2013 10:50 a.m. PST

Does Battlegrounds Gaming Engine have a ruler or can it only play games with a grid regulated movement system? Also, can it handle wheeling groups of figures or is it like VASSAL in that respect?

I am happy to see that you find it easier than VASSAL. That, hopefully, means I won't have a tough time with the software. I did not find VASSAL so difficult, coming originally from a programming background.


Dynaman878920 Dec 2013 11:41 a.m. PST

Don't know if it was mentioned (can't get to article) but Roll20 allow wheeling units about.

I was trying to setup a generic vassal miniatures module (and had some slight success, look for the mincore vassal module) I found it would be easier to support Roll 20 and Battlegrounds Gaming engine since each of those allowing adding "minis" to the system on the fly. Vassal sort of does with the extensions but is is not quite elegant enough.

Badgers20 Dec 2013 11:48 a.m. PST

I'd much rather get the figures out – but that requires 100x the money and organization required compared to playing online. All my online wargaming (and roleplaying) is now done using Roll20 on a Google+ Hangout. Could hardly be simpler to get going.

WargamingAddict20 Dec 2013 11:48 a.m. PST

I just checked Battlegrounds – you can turn off the grid (and the snap-to-grid feature). So you can create wheel templates and wheel units freely.

And I can see how a programming background would make VASSAL easier…

Who asked this joker20 Dec 2013 2:36 p.m. PST

With vassal, I was able to play Ancient and Medieval Wargaming (Neal Thomas) without having to worry about individual stands. I had to create layers to blank out stands as they were destroyed. I had a numeric counter on the unit for tracking individual hits. It worked really well. It was tedious to setup but once the basics were in place, it worked fine.

So in Battlegrounds you can setup rulers as well? Or at least there is a function to measure distance moved?

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2013 2:56 p.m. PST

I tried using a virtual tabletop, but all my miniatures just fell on the floor…

Dynaman878920 Dec 2013 5:13 p.m. PST

> Or at least there is a function to measure distance moved?

Yes, you can right click and select "Move with ruler" and it will show how far you are moving. Roll 20 does this now as well.

Dynaman878920 Dec 2013 5:16 p.m. PST

Also – you forgot a reason to use VTT software, it is so easy to create after action report photos!

Who asked this joker20 Dec 2013 9:17 p.m. PST

Yes, you can right click and select "Move with ruler" and it will show how far you are moving. Roll 20 does this now as well.

Thanks! That actually sounds great! You can use a virtual ruler in VASSAL but it is really cumbersome. You can also use the LOS thread to do the same thing but there is a bug in that it only works correctly at normal zoom. Not zoomed out or in.

WargamingAddict21 Dec 2013 4:33 a.m. PST

Yes – Dynaman8789 is absolutely right! So much easier to make AAR reports with VT software.

LOL @Parzival.

Yes, the measure move and check LOS functions are great in Battlegrounds.

dutchy124121 Dec 2013 6:14 p.m. PST

Thank you for posting this article. I have been thinking about this recently, although up to now not done anything about it, mainly due to the fact I can't get Vassal working never mind about creating armies and terrain.

I tend to play more skirmish games when I do get an opponent, things like Chain of Command, Bolt Action, Saga. Can you recommend some software suitable for that type of game? With the proviso that it has to be idiot proof.

WargamingAddict21 Dec 2013 11:41 p.m. PST

Go with Roll20 dutchy1241.

It is free, browser based, and you can drag and drop terrain and minis from its own database. It searches the web for free art for you, so there is a huge amount of stuff you can use.

The interface for Roll20 is also very easy.

Bolt Action and Chain of Command are trickier because there is not much WW2 stuff out there – but you can buy token packs from places like RPGDRiveThru and use those.

heruca22 Jul 2016 11:17 a.m. PST

Hey there,

I'm the developer of Battlegrounds Gaming Engine.

Thanks for the mention, WargamingAddict.

I wanted to let you all know that you can currently get a Gamer-8 BGE Client license for just $17 USD, via this Kickstarter campaign, which ends in 4-5 days. This license allows you to host online games and have up to 7 players log in and play using just the free BGE Demo.

The KS campaign itself is for developing token content that most of you won't care about (aside from perhaps the Vietnam era tokens), but I am offering discounts on both BGE and BRPG (my other app, for playing RPGs) to help achieve higher funding than I would otherwise.

I also wanted to mention that BGE is currently having a "free use" promo for the duration of the KS campaign, so if anyone wants to take the program for a test drive and use the app fully unlocked for a while, now's your chance.

There's a video tutorial that walks you through the entire process of porting a game to BGE. The process is really quite simple, and BGE should prove to be an empowering toolkit for those who have had no luck trying to create their own game modules in other virtual tabletop apps.

By the way, to better support tabletop miniature wargames, the next release of BGE (v1.8) will let you move formations of units and wheel/pivot them very easily and with great precision. It is due for release in a week or two.

heruca31 Jul 2016 11:47 a.m. PST

I've posted a video that previews the new features that will be coming out in BRPG v1.9 and BGE v1.8. Check it out!

These software updates should be of particular interest to anyone wanting to use the programs for playing tabletop miniatures battles and skirmish games, due to the nature of the features being added. I'd be curious to get feedback from gamers that are well-versed in these types of games. I'm no expert, so I could really use some good advisors.

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