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"Skype Gamers - How Can We Help You?" Topic

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07 Jan 2017 11:10 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Crossposted to Solo Wargamers board

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian07 Jan 2017 11:08 p.m. PST

I know we have a number of members who are in remote places without local gamers, and use Skype as a tool for playing games. And Editor Julia and I have used Skype for wargaming.

How do Skype gamers find each other? Would be it useful to have some kind of gamer connection forum on TMP, so you can find each other?

What unique challenges do you find when using Skype for gaming? Are you using laptops, or separate cams? Is anyone perma-mounting cams around their wargaming table?

Tell me more. grin

Personal logo T Callahan Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2017 11:59 p.m. PST

I have used Board Game Geek to find other gamers for online play. I use Skype to play World in Flames with Vassal.


45thdiv08 Jan 2017 3:19 a.m. PST

You could add a check box in the profile that could be checked if a Skype gamer and then we could use it to search.

raylev308 Jan 2017 5:30 a.m. PST

I'd like some insight into how to game using Skype.. I'm assigned to southern Germany where there are darn few gamers, and even fewer English speakers.

Winston Smith08 Jan 2017 6:13 a.m. PST

Bill, when I think of skyping, all I see is some clown with a bad haircut pretending to be a reporter.
If I click on a link and it brings up a guy sitting behind a computer i immediately click it off.
What does this have to do with sports, news?

CPBelt08 Jan 2017 7:13 a.m. PST

I think Winston is confusing Skype with youtube? We use Skype to keep in touch with family far away and our son while he is traveling. I know there are Skype and Google+ RPG groups. BoardGameGeek is active like Terry says. I haven't jumped into it yet but have been thinking of what Terry is doing for board gaming.

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP08 Jan 2017 7:27 a.m. PST

We use Skype when we play D&D to include players that were local and now in far flung places.
I also use it to play Dawn Patrol online. Some of those games have gone up to 18 players.
The biggest challenge is call quality, occasional drops, and having to call each person in.
Someone in the group tested another service this weekend and reported it worked quite well. Can't recall what it was though.

Grelber08 Jan 2017 8:45 a.m. PST

If you are maintaining any sort of a list, time zone would be an important entry: raylev3 is, what, nine hours off Colorado time, such match-ups would take some arranging.


Dale Hurtt08 Jan 2017 8:49 a.m. PST

So, I recently played three games of Tin Soldiers in Action over Skype, two of which I blogged.



I simply used Skype on my iPad, as it is easy to move around. Attempts to point cameras, etc. gets harder with larger, heavier computers. The downside to a tablet, however, is that it is a bit fussier to use other applications at the same time, such as an online die roller.

Tin Soldiers in Action is pretty ideal for Skype gaming because it is played on a square grid. Games sound much like when we were kids playing Battleship. "I am moving my infantry brigade in C3 to C4 and then firing on your infantry in Hook's Farm at D4." The last game I played was audio only.

When we play, both players have miniatures for both sides and a board. All moves, casualties, etc. are synchronized, so communication is key. Sometimes you get it wrong, or the cat jumps up on your opponent's table and you need to reset a bit, but it works out great. Trust is key.

Games with certain mechanics, such as a shared deck of cards, requires that one player control that component. Trust is key as there is no way to share that responsibility. Tools like Vassal, RPTools, or RollD20 could help, but you need someone with programming skills to develop them if your game's needs are unique.

There is a group on Facebook that also does webcam wargaming. One session was one player had the board, all of the miniatures, etc. and a mobile camera, but he was not a player. The players were Skyping and would ask the cameraman to show the situation, report if unit A was in firing range of B, etc. They would then issue the orders and the cameraman would execute them, showing the results. Very much going for the feel of being a Commander and not the Hand of God. But like most umpired games, you have to have someone willing to do it. It is a lot of work and essentially their joy is providing a unique experience for the players.

Personal logo T Callahan Supporting Member of TMP08 Jan 2017 10:46 a.m. PST

"What unique challenges do you find when using Skype for gaming? Are you using laptops, or separate cams? Is anyone perma-mounting cams around their wargaming table?"

Probably the biggest challenge is the time zone issue. North America, not including the Alaska TZ, crosses five time zones. So there is a 5 hour difference between the easternmost and western most zones. Our group covers three zones with players living the Eastern, Central and Mountain TZ. We start at 6:30pm and end at 10:00pm Central. You can see how the times get involved for the three zones.

When using Vassal we don't use cams as one person must have a premium account for three or more people to use cams in a group call. Additionally the cam screens take up too much space on the monitor covering the maps. We are very happy with Skype over all, the quality has gotten better over the past five years that we have been playing.


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