Greetings there dear iso-gamers! It’s been a while, how’ve you been?
Me? I doing OK, staying at home when I can, like everyone else. So I thought I’d touch base and let you all know how me and my regular gaming buddies are coping, and gaming, at a distance.
Yes it’s time for another WNW check-in.
So, how do we exactly play games together when we’re hours apart and what games have we been playing?
Aside from the various stand-alone board games that have a digital release such as Scythe, we have been using a couple of different programs.
First up is Universal Battle 2 (UB2) .
This is a nifty bit of programming that can be used within a browser as well as via an external application on smart devices or PC’s.
UB2 is how we have been, mostly, playing tabletop war games. The system can take a little bit to get used to but is very easy to navigate once you’ve got the basics down.
If you subscribe (a couple of bucks for a week or around $40 for a year) you get access to a library of war gaming “miniatures” with the ability to create your own via the in-game art studio.
There are no rules or anything of the sort, UB2 is simply a sandbox. You create a playing field, grab an army or skirmish warband / crew (it caters to both square and round based miniature games) and use the various measuring tools to move units around. There’s also an in-built dice system that can roll as many dice of whatever type, as you want with a single click.
It’s quite fluid and allows you to smash out a full sized war game, be it Ninth Age, AoS, 40k, or Kings of War in less time than it would physically.
In fact, I’m am currently participating in an international Kings of War tournament that is being run within UB2.
It’s free to access the basic kit so if you’re war gaming inclined, make sure to check it out. You can jump into open games and spectate as well, but be warned; if you aren’t on a chat service like Discord (or whatever the players are using) it can be incredibly boring to watch.
The other system we have recently been using is Tabletop Simulator (TTS). It was on sale a little while ago on Steam so most of the WNW crew picked it up.
TTS is another open platform that allows content creators to make just about any game they want.
There is a bit of a learning curve but once it’s installed and you get to grips with the general functions, it’s easy to setup a game.
Within the community workshop there is just about any game you can imagine available. So far we have had few rounds of classic games like: Chaos in the Old World, Boss Monster, Marvel Champions LCG, Gloomhaven, and Rising Sun.
There are also war games available but they require a bit more work to get going. Luckily the community is very active and new tools and widgets are being created constantly to help improve play-ability.
I find the dice much less skewy than those within UB2. You actually get to roll dice rather than click once and have numbers spit out at you. There’s just something about having a “handful” of dice rolling about and bouncing off one another that’s quite satisfying.
There’s also a jerk button. If things aren’t going your way, click the “Flip” button and away spin the table along with all its pieces. Always, ALWAYS fun to do at the end of a game.
Having a chat channel to speak with mates is recommended. We use Discord but there a numerous other platforms. Being able to slag, psych, bluff, and discuss strategies real time is half the fun. It also goes along way to replicate gaming in person.
I gotta say, without these two programs and friends to play them with, I’d probably be getting really down; this isolation has been tough. Hopefully you can jump on board and have your spirits lifted if you too are struggling with isolation.
Until next time, stay safe and we’ll see you once we’re allowed out.
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Ben has been playing Miniature War Games since before he could walk. One might even say it's in his blood. If it has small figures moving on a surface he's probably played it at one point or another. He's also an accomplished painter of said miniatures and enjoys both casual and tournament play.