Son #3, 11yo, has shown an interest in Dungeons and Dragons, so I’ve busted out my old 3.5 edition books and started a campaign for him and his friends.
It’s been ages since I’ve played D&D (or any role-playing game) and I’m enjoying getting back into it, but I’m also impressed with the current crop of online tools for gaming. Last time I tried to run a game, I ran it online since the players were in several different time zones, and it was managed as a mash-up of forum software, a wiki, and some custom stuff for dice rolling and character sheets all held together with string and bubble gum.
I was quite proud of the character sheets at the time, and the dice roller is still online but seems to be broken. I’ll get around to fixing it one of these days.
So far my favourite online resources have been:
GM Binder for keeping notes. I love Markdown as a simple formatting language and GM Binder combines Markdown with some serious styling to make all your pages look like the good old fashion printed rule books.
Roll20. I know this site is capable of a whole lot more than what I’m using it for right now, but I just love the ability to upload (or draw) maps in the online tool, apply a Fog of War, and log the players into a second computer (I’ve been using my tablet from work for this) for the player map. I can progressively reveal the areas to them and it’s so easy to use.
Mapgen4. I used this to generate the world map for the campaign. I love the style it renders the maps and even though I’ve now got the map I want to use, I could happily sit for ages randomly generating new maps just to look at them.
Fantasy City Generator. Maybe I’m being lazy here, but this tool is great for banging out quick and usable town or city maps. Once again, I could play with this for ages just having fun with all the settings, and seeing what it comes up with.
I think I’ve played Catan once before, and I need to play it a few more times to get good at it. I was clearly playing with people who knew it much better than I did because they all rushed directly to the finish line while I was still figuring out what bricks and sheep were good for. Still a fun game.
Terraforming Mars takes strategy to a whole other level. I think I’ve played this one three times before and this was the first time I managed to get some decent tiles out on the board. Once again, my lack of experience with this game showed when everyone else finished with roughly double the victory points I did, but I still enjoyed it.