Gaming Via Skype?

Anyone else done this? Tonight, a buddy of ours couldn’t make our Serenity game (snowpocalypse has him pinned down on the other side of the

city!) so we skyped him in.

I was a bit worried, but it totally worked. Like, 100%. In fact, it was kind of cool because the way the story shook out, he was in a totally different place than the other characters and was communicating with them via a comm link.

So have other people had good experiences with this?

12 thoughts on “Gaming Via Skype?

  1. The guys that do the Critical Hits and Major Spoilers podcasts always Skype in one of their hosts and it seems to work pretty well for them. Occasionally, they’ll lose the link to Matthew, but it’s quickly re-established.

  2. I’ve done it quite a bit. Skype isn’t always that stable, otherwise it does work pretty well. I like having the option, as either GM or player, of texting private messages as necessary. For some games, it works better if used in conjunction with map & tokens software (e.g. For tactical D&D combat).

    Since most of my regular gaming group is in Elgin, and I sometimes also play with some folks I know in Oregon, Skype has been a game-saver.

  3. A guy in my group uses Skype and other on-line tools to run games with another group, and he seems to really enjoy it. I’ve started playing around with it to see if I can put togewther a game with some of my far-flung old gaming buddies. And, yes, Scott, not only are they older than you, some of them are older than me!

    Those of you who use it, is it purely audio, or do you also use the video chat?

  4. A couple of guys from the Story-Games/Praxis forums and myself have been playtesting our games over Skype for a few months now. It’s worked out pretty well so far. We’ve had the occasional trouble, such as Skype calls beings dropped often during some sessions, and the occasional challenge in finding viable tools for sharing information online that don’t have a steep learning curve.

    All things considered, though, I think it’s been very successful. Skype gaming is definitely a viable option for gamers who don’t have a regular face to face gaming group due to scheduling constraints or geographical difficulties. Skype gaming eliminates the geographical barrier to play. It also eliminates travel times, often easing scheduling constraints.

    There are potential drawbacks too; but in my experience they are generally easily overcome.

    So for me, Skype gaming is definitely a good thing.

  5. Video uses up too much of my computer’s resources, Joe. It starts out fine, but things start slowing down after a while and crashes are more likely, so generally I go with just audio.

    Some of my gaming friends are in their 50’s. Do I hear 60?

  6. What kind fo on-line tools do people use in conjunction witgh their games?

    (Jankers, do a podcast!)

  7. We actually made an attempt at covering technology in gaming a few months ago in episode #68 (I think). Given that tech changes so rapidly and people find new uses for things so quickly, it will probably be worth revisiting in the future.

  8. As I understand it there’s some programs that let you have a sort of virtual table, but I’ve never seen any of them in action. Anyone know them?

    I should add, a buddy of mine just played D&D with the stats projected up on a screen by some kind of program. It sounded pretty boss.

  9. The ones we’ve been using are the free downloads at The GM uses MapTool to create the maps, the players can customize their own icons, and the GM does the same for the NPC’s. Then we all sign on to the server and we have ourselves a virtual tabletop. The GM can black out the map, slowly revealing things as the players discover them, and he can give the players direct control of manipulating their icons on the map if he wants. There’s also nice little features that help you keep track of player’s hp’s, special abilities, their field of vision based on their light source, dice rolls, etc.

    There’s another one out there I know of called ScreenMonkey, but I haven’t had the opportunity to give that one a try yet.

  10. My gaming group has been using Skype for several years now for voice in MMO’s and for RPG gaming. Our group is spread all over the US with some people in Seattle, Chicago and New Hampshire. Skype works well despite the occasional connection drop outs and poor voice quality.
    As far as table top software goes we’ve been using RPTools ( ). It gives you a virtual table top that the GM can use to create maps, import in objects like chests, tables, and a slew of other items to dress up your maps or import maps created in Campaign Cartographer.
    There’s an icon generating tool for your characters and let’s you include the stats for the character or monster from D&D 3.5/4.0. You can also edit the stats included so you can use the program for just about any RPG.

    The program also has a feature that allows you to designate line of site so walls are opaque and something they call “Fog of War” so your vision range is limited to the light given off by a light source.

    On the player side it has a die rolling feature that can diaplay the results for everyone to see and to create macros to allow more complex rolls with calculations like adding several rolls for damage together in the case of multiple dice from spells or sneak attack. Conditional statements in the macros can be added to perform functions based on rolls as well.

  11. Aw, yeah, playing via Skype is great. It’s a lot easier to get a group together when you’ve got the whole freaking world to draw from. Just make sure to get the player with the most stable connection to host the call.

    For virtual tabletop tools, I’ve actually found that Google Docs (of all freaking things) is pretty much the lowest-hassle option available. Nobody has to download anything or register with any new services, everybody can collaborate live and upload images and stuff; it’s great. The “Drawing” option in Docs is perfect for maps, whether they’re loosely-drawn Fate maps or grid-based D&D maps. It’s really simple to scan and upload existing maps, too.

    Oh, and while Skype does have a dice plugin, it’s not very good, so my crew uses this thing. It’s good for stuff like Fiasco where, after rolling, you throw dice around like tokens.

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