Player Tip Series #1 – Technology at the Game Table

For over a month now, the posts on Thirdwalling have been dedicated to the Game Master – with the Tip Series on the Golden Rule and the sporadic other quick tips.  In this new series, we will be spending 4 weeks dedicated to the player – and making the play experience easier and more enjoyable by brining technology to the game table!

As a player – especially a first time player, or the first time playing with a new group – sitting down to the table for the first time can be a daunting thing.  But there is technology out there that can help us – as players – to be better equipped to gaming.  While this technology is by no means a requirement, over the course of these four weeks I – Bob Thirdwaller, devout player minimalist – will test out some software at the table to see if it benefits my play experience!

I make no secret of the fact that I don’t like technology at the game table.  Walls – literal and physical – are barriers to communication in business and in fun, and laptops, tablets and cell phones can be both literal and physical walls that keep the players detached from the game.  When I sit down to the table for a Pen and Paper game, I like to do it with Pen and Paper and little else.  In our very first player tip I discussed what I try to bring to the table as a player – and I considered that a comprehensive list for a long time.

Some time back, however, The Ginger bought me a Nook Tablet.  It’s one of the originals, that Barnes and Noble don’t even showcase on their website anymore, but I’ve been using it for a while to store eBooks and access files from my Google Docs.  As a part of the Thirdwalling project, in the early days of research for the project, I also used it to store my character sheets and game writeups as both a Player (in a Pathfinder game) and a Game Master (in Star Wars: The Role Playing Game and now Dresden Files RPG).

For this series, I’ll be doing everything on either that Nook device or my HTC Inspire  running Android 2.3.5 – because I’m too cheap to buy anything new.  All of the technology I’ll be using will work on those devices – but when possible I’ll try to find software that will run on any Android of Mac device.  Despite my preferences lying in the Android court, I won’t hold iPhones and iPads against you gamers out there!

Over the four weeks, we’ll discuss the following:

Part 1 – Cloud Storage – Using online file sharing sites for inventory management, character sheets and note taking.

Part 2 – Character Building Software – Testing 2-3 character builders and give thoughts on each.

Part 3 – Dice Rollers – Pros and Cons of some Dice Roller apps on the Android market.

Part 4 – Miniature Builders – Making your own tiles and minis.

So follow along as we dive into this controversial topic – and we’ll see if any of this software can convince me to make the phone and tablet a more regular participant at my game table!

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