I’m frequently far out of town and away from my gaming group, but I’d like to start familiarizing them with Domains at War by playing it with them as a wargame via the internet.
Have any of you attempted this, and if so, what programs did you use?
I initially tried using Gametable, because it supports hexes and pogs, but unfortunately their hexgrid can’t be rotated (D@W assumes you’ll have one of the hexes points facing north, while gametable assumes you want a face angled north) and rotating a pog for the all-important facing rules is tedious.
I used Roll20 to work up an example battle I did as part of reviewing the product - the hex grid can be rotated. Token rotation didn’t seem to be onerous, click, reveal a control peg, rotate.
Copypasting the army tokens out of the units/terrain PDF shouldn’t be a big deal either. In fact, Roll20’s layers would let you place the terrain without impacting the units.
You can see what it looked like here: http://crowbarandbrick.blogspot.com/2013/05/autarchs-domains-at-war-battle.html
I’d made custom units off of MIL-STD-2525B, mainly because I’m an intense freaking dweeb sometimes.
Yeah. I used to use Gametable, and it was a good product for the age it came from.
But it’s, well, old, and it’s showing its age.
The only reason I would use Gametable again, now that we have roll20 available to us, is if I needed it to work offline for some reason.
I should add that the gaming group I’m a player in (not ACKS, sadly) uses Roll20 with Skype for the audio, we don’t do video.
They both seem to work pretty well, considering the DM is in Washington state, I’m in the midwest, and the other two players are in Germany and Serbia, respectively, with an occasional Norwegian. The German in particular has somewhat crappy internet service, as long as his brother isn’t torrenting we’ve never had an issue.
I’d expect an all-North-American group could add video without an issue. I’ve not used the Google+ Hangouts plugin, nor whatever Roll20 uses internally.
Give me a week or two and I’ll bet I’ll come up with a background image for Roll20 that shows a green field with the different deployment options…
My game group uses Roll20 + Skype audio for our ACKS campaign as well.
We have had good luck with Skype, but adding in video risks an added hit to the group connectivity for something not actually necessary to play.
We’re all NortAm and have never had any manner of luck with video :\
I stand corrected.
That’s kind of a bummer; I’ve been under the impression while playing that missing the visual cues from a player or DM talking is a bit of an overall loss.
On the advice of you guys, I played around with Roll20 a bit today.
It seems pretty nice! A bit of setup, and it could function very well as a virtual tabletop for the D@W wargame.
Now for the “Fun” of converting all the tokens from Domains at War complete into individual JPEGs so they can be uploaded and actually used.
when you are done, would you be kind enough to share those online somewhere?
As long as Alex says it’s alright; given that the Complete set of D@W is differentiated from the normal one solely by the addition of those minis, distributing a more convenient form of those minis online might be considered harmful.
i hadn’t thought of that. of course, everything only with alex’s permission/approval.
Hmm. D@W comes with rectangular units, which I initially thought would contrast in an ugly way with the hexes, but I’ve decided is actually a brilliant way of making front, back, and sides visually distinct. With square or hex tokens, you’d have to squint and see which way the spears were facing; with rectangles, you just look for the long side.
Unfortunately, Roll20 really likes taking up all possible space, so it automatically rescales rectangles into squares, giving all my cavalry long horses.
Posted question on their forum and got an answer in less than five minutes. Fantastic!
I should be able to get most of the tokens uploaded tommorow, and then have screencaps of my group’s practice battles up Saturday maybe.
Is it possible to upload the counters in a low-res format that only works with the Roll20 system but isn’t going to be a free/pirated way to avoid actually paying for the product?
Doubtful - it’s just PNGs and such.
That being said, Autarch can publish the tokens on Roll20 as a pay-for product.
I would happily pay twice to do it the legit way.
Oh, nice! I’ll arrange for us to do that. Thanks for letting me know.
I’d suggest MapTool, actually. Especially since it has associated tools for making your own tokens/pogs.
Add in Skype or your vchat of choice, and it works fairly well for the type of thing that it sounds like you want to do with it.
Has a little bit of a learning curve, but it’s pretty amazing stuff, all told.
I actually had a quite satisfying experience using R20 to simulate a battle with a player last night. Tragically, I forgot to take screencaps.
Rotating units was easy. Battlefield was slightly problematic because Alex’s board has half-hexes on both sides, which gametable seemed reluctant to do. I mostly ignored it, on the grounds that if the starting areas were sliightly off this would change very, very little.
We used the marker to mark which units were shield-walling or disordered.
Battle recap: We did the opening scenario, me as the beastmen, Sarusama as the human forces. We revealed fog of war to discover both forces had decided to put their heavy units (Cataphracts and ogres) on the left side of the map, while using the bulk of the army off to the right as a distraction.
My orc crossbowmen took a pummelling and eventually fled, but only after serving their purpose and giving the orc and ogre chieftans time to close with their heavy melee. I managed to near-annihilate two of his cavalry units without taking damage to my ogres before we had to abandon the game early because my Dark Heresy group decided to spontaneously convene since everyone was online.
I’m sure Saru will post his full review here in a moment, but now that I’ve played the first half of a battle twice, I feel confident in saying that D@W:B is a neat system. It runs quickly once you get the hang of it (Esp. compared to, say, the 40k tabletop, where every attack involves rolling accuracy, toughness, armor, morale, reflex saves, stick-to-it-iveness…) and does a good job of emphasizing that an army can be extremely powerful numerically, but have glaring tactical weaknesses that’re easily exploited. I think my players that enjoy wargames are going to have a good time with this.
The ones that don’t enjoy wargames are weak, and deserve only suffering.