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Separate Together - Remote Board Gaming
Now, that many of us no longer meet in person, many face-to-face games groups have stopped meeting and have gone online. Of course, online isn't the same as "in real life", so I want to use this article to look at how my virtual board gaming experience compares to playing with people sitting around a real table.
So there are technical pros and cons to consider, but ultimately no virtual game can ever replace the things that we get from seeing someone sitting across the table from us. Even a video call is unable to convey all the nuances our brains automatically pick up when we see someone in real life."
You nailed what is, to me, the number one biggest drawback of remote synch gaming. This is the thing that extends certain games by a lot of time, and other games by very little. If you need a holistic view of cards, text, etc of an entire game state to make decisions, remote gaming is going to extend game length a lot. If it's a lot of encapsulated decisions, it isn't going to hurt your time or the quality of your play that much.
That said, the biggest thing that is a huge plus to me of doing remote gaming is that I get to play the games I like with like-minded people. I only get a lot of play of the games that my partner likes and that local groups of friends can tolerate in terms of game theme and complexity. Being able to remote game brings together more complexity and interaction heavy people to play in a, nevertheless, very uncompetitive environment. I don't like going to open game nights, so this is a great alternative to stuff that just wouldn't fly with people I know. Tabletop simulator, in particular, has been a huge plus to my gaming life, I hope I'll be able to continue it after the worst of the pandemic passes.
My biggest issue with it is that it is difficult for me to be mentally away from the family when I am physically with the family. Everybody is good about it, but I'm still there. Both the home and the gaming experience are less for it. So for me personally the problem isn't distance from my opponents, it's proximity to others.
About 90% of our play has been Rallyman and it's strong enough to carry it, but I am making it a point to go after other games in the coming week or two to get some variety.
I also plan to get a game of Leaving Earth up and running in Vassal, with anyone else that wants to play. It may end up just being me and I'm fine with that.