Campaign Games through Zoom
So, this was a question that I posed on The Dice Tower Facebook group, Board Game Geek forums, and Board Game Geek Facebook group, what are games that are campaign style that would play well through Zoom? The reason for this is that we’re about wrapped up with Gloomhaven, one scenario left in the expansion, and yes there are side scenarios, but we won’t be playing those, at least right now. So I started thinking, what is the next big game we’re that we’re going to play and how are we going to play it. And with that I mean, we are finish up Gloomhaven outside wearing masks, and that’s not a long term plan for Minnesota with winter coming up, so we’ll be moving back to Zoom, what will work.
I got a few good ideas that I hadn’t thought of, and I came up with a few of my own, so for those who maybe have missed the bigger gaming via Zoom or are tired of just playing games like Scattergories, Codenames, or other more party style games via Zoom, here are some ideas that I was given and were given to me.
Now, this is a game that I was recommended and there is only one way to make this work and that’s playing it through the app. Everyone can connect to the same game and you just sit down and play it all together remotely on your device while chatting via Zoom. This is actually a really good one for a lot of people because all it requires is that you have a camera pointed at a board on a table or anything like that, this is done purely with digital gaming. Now, I have played through all but 1 game of this in the physical form, and one of the other people who I play with has played through it all, so it wasn’t the game for us, but for a lot of people, this is going to be a really good option.
Now, Gloomhaven can work two ways, if you are playing it with people near you, you can drop off their character and show the game on the board so that people can play with their own physical thing, one person will just have the duty of moving everything and doing all of that house keeping, which could be a lot. Though, with the Gloomhaven Helper App, someone else could be in charge of monster initiative and what the monsters are doing, so not the worst option and personally, I like playing with the physical components better than option two which is play it through the mod on Tabletop Simulator. Now, the base game is scripted, which means it helps with set-up, but there is still a lot of book keeping and if it seemed like a lot on the physical version, it is slower on the Tabletop Simulator version. This, obviously, also wasn’t an option for my group because that’s the game we’re literally finishing.
Pandemic Legacy Season 0, 1, and 2
Now, this one shows up and from here on out, you’re going to need a camera on the table. But Pandemic is a great game because there is no hidden information in the game. You play with the location cards out in front of you, so you can plan and worth together, your character is also open information as to what they can do. The only thing someone might need is a sheet of what the actions are that they can take, and that’s something that the person who owns the game can write up and add to as more actions are unlocked. Like Gloomhaven and basically anything that requires a camera pointed a the table, one person is going to have to do all the book keeping, but with Pandemic, that isn’t too hard, fairly often when playing Pandemic Legacy Season 1 & 2 with four players one person would be moving more of the pawns anyways just because of how it was positioned on the table. This again, though, for my group, falls into the category of games that won’t work as well because two of us have played them before, and I’ve played Season 1 twice now. And while none of us have played Season 0, that is one that I want to play with the people we played Seasons 1 & 2 with.
Folklore: The Affliction
This is one that I had recommend and I hadn’t thought of, but it’s actually one that wouldn’t be too difficult to do. Folklore is an RPG type of game in a box. You roll dice for your attacks, have a character sheet, and go through stories and scenarios. What I hadn’t thought about was the fact that beyond needing your own set of dice, which everyone in my gaming group has because they are all RPGer’s and of course they have at least one set of dice, I think one only one who doesn’t have at least five sets of dice is playing in my D&D campaign, and he probably has two sets of dice. But this one all you need is a camera pointed at a board, and sure, there are items and stats and things to track, but that’s like a regular RPG, so that can be done between sessions via e-mail or text messages without much trouble as players level up their characters. And, again, technically there is no or very little hidden information so that isn’t an issue with the game. Definitely one for people who want more of a pen and paper RPG feel. Might be one for my group.
Now, I own this game, and I am excited to play it, I just don’t know a ton about it. But according to one person in our group who has the game as well, this is one where there is no hidden information in it, the god cards and their powers are out there. This is game that I hope would work well, my concern about this one is that because it has a 3D tree element you would need to know fairly well what is on all sides of the tree as things rotate and it changes. That for me would be the biggest challenge, granted, it wouldn’t be an issue for me because I have the tree in front of me, so I could see all sides at once, but for other people it might be a bigger deal if they get distracted or lose track of what is on what side and what is rotating which way. This one definitely interests me, but I’d want to play it in person a couple of times first so that everyone knew what was going on, it seems less intuitive than some others.
Now, I’m sure there are more but this is the last one that I’m going to talk about. In Tainted Grail you are exploring a large, about 50 hour, campaign as you explore through the lands of Avalon, journey to Kamelot, and keep Menhir lit to fight back the wyrdness that threatens to overtake the land. This is one that I’m definitely interested in trying, it’s already in my Top 10 games, and I’ve made it part of the way through, but to restart with more players seems like a lot of fun, though challenging in some other ways. This game would work if you could get the players their characters. They’d need both their character, the basic cards for their character and class and the upgrade cards as well. Items could be sent via text or e-mail between sessions. This is really such an exploration game, I think it would work well, the person who owns the game would just be reading the passages, which I actually like not the person who is doing the action reading the passages because it feels like there is more mystery in the choices. This is one that is definitely in consideration for our group as well, it’s one that I am enjoying already and I’m confident that our group would enjoy as well.
Now, I’m sure there are many a campaign game that I missed. Some of them, like Arkham Horror: The Card Game, could work as well, but people would probably need their own set of the base game to make it work. Forgotten Waters is another one that can work well, which I failed to mention, but see on my shelf, and because of when it got released, around May this year, I know they have focused on supporting it in a way that it can be played with more people. I’m hesitant to use that for my group, because I know my wife is interested in it, so I want to leave that free to play with her as well. Which would you try? Have you considered doing a bigger campaign game via Zoom, besides something like D&D?