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Subject: Our thoughts about TABLETOPIA: rss

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Common Man Games
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Hello and welcome to a discussion about Tabletopia and how we expect to see it will impact Police Precinct.

We as a company first started talking about this topic when we posted our last update for our Kickstarter UPLIFT (dated August 30th).

This post here on BGG will share a lot of the same information as that update did, just viewed through a slightly different lens due to the passage of time. Thus if you happen to have seen that update, be prepared for some overlap.

At that time, we were just beginning to conjure up a vision for what a platform like Tabletopia could do for us.

(it is, by the way, a platform where games can be placed and then played online)

In the days/weeks that have followed we went from hoping to someday get our games up on Tabletopia (and to be able to start seeing this vision play-out), to where we are now, which is...

Having one game up already and many more to come (we hope).

Police Precinct is that game!

First we want to say how fun it has been to be able to publish anything so quickly. In the world of cardboard, things just DO take longer, and a lot longer at that.

Beyond that, here are some of our other thoughts...

OUR VISION:

We see it as the future (or certainly that's the hope) for how we will be designing, developing, and play-testing our current and future games.

Now that we have Police Precinct up, we can begin to build a community of gamers that enjoy our games in an online setting. While this is going on Ole and I can design and develop expansions behind the scenes.

Also, others can join in on this process like Dave who has several new expansions and Lines who's working on the Mod-Board version of Police Precinct. That's just a couple examples, there are in fact MANY designers working right now on expansions for the game.

We also want to use it for new base-game versions (the dice version of Police Precinct, Cadets, etc., etc.).

An example of this is a new game upcoming called Police Precinct: Internal Affairs, which Don Riddle (the designer) and I have discussed would be perfect for Tabletopia. He and I played a ton of his game at Dice Tower Con earlier this summer.

BUT...

It's going to be hard to continue the fun we've been having playing this game due to the fact that we live thousands of miles apart. Yes, he can play with others on his end and likewise on my end, and we can meet through Skype to discuss, BUT...

Nothing beats sitting face-to-face with a game designer playing the game over and over!

Now, is Tableopia really a face-to-face experience?

Well...

Not exactly, but it's dang close!

So, why is it important to talk about the connection between Tabletopia and Police Precinct?

Because...

We would like to see as many of the fans of our games on Tableopia as possible, and not JUST because we like the idea of them (you) having fun playing games with old and new friends all over the world.

Of course that's AWESOME!

DUH

We also want this because, we want YOU to easily, and in a fun way, be a play-tester for all of these expansions we will be coming out with for Police Precinct!

The same goes for the new base-games that we have planned for Police Precinct!

And...

For all the new law and order games we'll be coming out with over time.

This will allow YOU to play a role in developing these games, and will allow you a way to test drive our games before you commit to buying them.

Now that's a Pretty nice combo!

Ssssooooooo...

There you have it! That's the scoop on Tableopia in conjunction with Police Precinct, and CMG, and YOU!
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Common Man Games
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By the way, here's the link to the moment in time that Police Precinct became an online game...

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tabletopia/tabletopia-t...

Also, just to mention...

We have said this before, and I'm sure we will say it many times in the future:

For Common Man Games, Tabletopia is NOT a replacement for publishing cardboard games, but simply a tool for doing it better!

meeplemeeplemeeplemeeplemeeple

And, let's not forget to say...

Thanks to all the folks at Tabletopia who have been awesome!!!

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Cody Heim
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I'm glad you found a great source to help in development. Personally I don't care for Tabletopia and their monetizing scheme. Tabletop Simulator on the other hand is my software of choice and I wish companies would at least consider them for another option to reach target audiences and for testing purposes.
 
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Common Man Games
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The "Official" List of Options:

TT: Tabletopia
Description: Launched on Kickstarter in August 2015, has assorted options from free to premium.
Link: www.tabletopia.com/
Funding from: Kickstarter and monthly subscription fees for premium games (has a free option too)

TS: Tabletop Simulator
Description: allows players to play and create tabletop games in a multiplayer physics sandbox
Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabletop_Simulator
For more info consult BGG user: Strumiker (reference post: https://boardgamegeek.com/article/20450500#20450500)
Funding from: Annual fees

BGE: Battlegrounds Gaming Engine
Description: a virtual tabletop for playing boardgames, wargames, card games, and dice games.
Link: http://www.battlegroundsgames.com/
For more info consult BGG user: heruca (reference post: https://boardgamegeek.com/article/20474268#20474268)
Funding from: One time cost

V: VASSAL
Description: The VASSAL Engine is a game engine for building and playing online adaptations of board games, tabletop games and card games. It allows users to play in real time over a live Internet connection, and also by email.
Link: http://www.vassalengine.org/
For more info consult BGG user: ??? (reference post: This one was mentioned over on KS)
Funding from: ???

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Common Man Games
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Strumiker wrote:
I'm glad you found a great source to help in development. Personally I don't care for Tabletopia and their monetizing scheme. Tabletop Simulator on the other hand is my software of choice and I wish companies would at least consider them for another option to reach target audiences and for testing purposes.


Hey Cody!

Your post is a great one!

I / CMG are very excited about Tabletopia, but...

We don't think there is no possibility of working with other platforms.

To the contrary.

I would love it if this thread became (among other things) a place to talk about the options.

I started a list (above) that can be added to as folks weigh in here.

We see Tabletopia as a great way to accomplish what we want.

That said, if there are other great ways to do that, we will likely use them too.

If it turns out like that, then these platforms might be much like social media options such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Meaning that we would use all of them, with each having it's own particular strengths.

We are, by the way, new to this. Thus, there's plenty to learn along the way.

meeplemeeplemeeplemeeplemeeple
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Torben
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I've been using Tabletop Simulator for quite some time, but Tabletopia is far superior in basically every aspect. Where Tabletop Simulator feels like an experiment or a toy, Tabletopia feels like the definitive solution for immersive online board gaming.
And in fact, their business model is what allows it to become a serious tool for designers and players and guarantee that the experience is always first-hand and as intended by publishers. In my opinion there is no other way than either a subscription model or a pay-per-game to get this kind of quality content. Tabletop Simulator will never reach this if they stay with the pay-once-for-everything approach.

I am so glad that Tabletopia gets a lot of support currently from all sorts of directions and that you guys are part of this movement.
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Common Man Games
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Dienes wrote:
I've been using Tabletop Simulator for quite some time, but Tabletopia is far superior in basically every aspect. Where Tabletop Simulator feels like an experiment or a toy, Tabletopia feels like the definitive solution for immersive online board gaming.
And in fact, their business model is what allows it to become a serious tool for designers and players and guarantee that the experience is always first-hand and as intended by publishers. In my opinion there is no other way than either a subscription model or a pay-per-game to get this kind of quality content. Tabletop Simulator will never reach this if they stay with the pay-once-for-everything approach.

I am so glad that Tabletopia gets a lot of support currently from all sorts of directions and that you guys are part of this movement.


That's a very informed and thoughtful post Torben!

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I can concur that Tabletopia has long term plans to just keep getting better and better (adding new things and perfecting what they have). That will take man-hours and plenty of them.
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David
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I understand people valuate digital content very differently and have a different perception of the subscription based model. Coming from a guy who has used Tabletop Sim 500+ hours, I'd like to share the way I value Tabletopia while figuring out whether I should back them (and I did for the $100 gamer tier):

For the price of a AAA big box board game (or modern video game) I get access to a full digital library of games for a YEAR.

For the price of one additional game I can have the ability to invite all my friends, family, and as a broadcaster any viewer I want to join me in playing. They don't need to install software or pay a dime.

Everyone in the board game economy wins. Designers & Publishers get paid so they can make more great games. Us gamers get access to a huge library of games and players.

Transparent and interactive staff. I really like that the staff is open to feedback to make their service even better. The volume and quality of Kickstarter comments and feedback, along with the feature additions during the pre-closed beta process, really built my confidence as a KS "investor".

Finally, they have shown a commitment to develop Tabletopia into a full fledged board gaming service. They could have easily just have a framework where designers dump their games digitally and run. Instead they're trying to find ways to keep members engaged and interested. Like our digital designer game days. I really appreciate that.
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Hernan Ruiz Camauer
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I'd like to propose that Battlegrounds Gaming Engine (aka BGE) be one of the platforms officially supported by CMG to play Police Precinct on.

Xaintrix wrote:
For the price of a AAA big box board game (or modern video game) I get access to a full digital library of games for a YEAR.

For the price of one additional game I can have the ability to invite all my friends, family, and as a broadcaster any viewer I want to join me in playing. They don't need to install software or pay a dime.


In the case of BGE, for the one-time (not yearly) price of a filler game, you can play just about any game listed here on BGG if the game publisher supports the platform and allows a port to be released for it, or you can create your own port if you have access to scanned or downloaded graphics to represent the game board and components (as long as you don't share your game conversion).

Said port can then be played by up to 16 participants online in real time (no play-by-mail yet with BGE). Yes, everyone needs to install the software (really, it's just unzipping a downloaded file). On the plus side, you're not constrained to playing in a browser, with all the limitations and compatability issues that entails. And although BGE is a commercially sold program, only one person in the gaming group needs to have a license. Everyone else can potentially play using just the free BGE Demo.

I would offer to create a digital conversion of Police Precinct myself, free of charge, but I'm fully-booked for months. However, there are several BGE users who would probably jump at the chance if given CMG's blessing and access to the game's graphical assets. Just give the word and I'll find you a volunteer.

Game publishers should also know that their game's digital conversions can either be free downloads, or commercially sold to BGE users.

BGE currently only has 5 commercial game conversions (scroll down to the Game Boxes section) available for it, and around 19 free games, but I'd love to see those numbers grow significantly in the next year or two.

Anyone curious about how easy it is to create your own game conversions in BGE should watch this tutorial video. There's no programming or scripting involved, and no XML editing.
 
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Common Man Games
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heruca wrote:
Just give the word and I'll find you a volunteer.


Hey Herman!

I just might do that!!!

For now I think we (CMG) want to focus on one platform and try to do it right (to be involved and focused).

Let's see how that goes and possibly add more over time.

This is a great thread for learning about the options.

Thanks for posting and adding another to the list!

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Common Man Games
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Xaintrix wrote:

Everyone in the board game economy wins.


I agree!

Thanks David!!!

meeplemeeplemeeplemeeplemeeple

From our standpoint as the publisher...

We see it as an affordable way to engage with a community of gamers that can help us build better games.

Design

Development

Testing

All that good stuff!

I can't imagine that it will ever be a true source of income for us, but more of a tool to help us do what we do better and faster.

That's the long-term goal anyway.



In order to have something great you need to have a flow of funds coming in by some means. That's my thinking. Tabletopia needs that to stay on top of things and evolve to become the best it can be. I see no end to what it can strive to do. We (CMG) hope to be along for the ride and to help in any way we can.

My hope is that by all of us working together to create a great experience for the gamer, it will feel like a true bargain and like something they feel proud to support.
 
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Common Man Games
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We just created a thread that is dedicated to allowing folks to "Sign-up" to play...

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1444417/sign-play-police-pr...

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Common Man Games
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Check out this Press Release...

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1528045/common-man-brings-o...

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George P.E., PMP, DM
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We've been using TTS (or TS as you listed) for a few months for internal playtesting. This last Saturday, I playtested another BGG member's game in his TT. It wasn't as polished as TS, and he had one minor physics complaint about cards not lining up. Since it's still in beta phase, I gave that a pass.

To me, the biggest benefit over TS is that I didn't need a copy of TT to participate in his digital playtest. The ability to better communicate if I also have TT is an incentive for me to get TT, and I think I will. Seeing you and others using TT for development is also encouraging me to get it.
 
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Common Man Games
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Hey George!

Thanks for the feedback!!!

It's going to be really interesting to see how all of this plays out over time. I think we all will benefit and MUCH to look forward to!

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Matt A.
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Picked up the physical game a week or so ago. Saw I could also play it on Tabletopia so I joined (free account). Played through a solo game, 2 characters, to learn the game during downtime at work. It worked great for me. Took a little bit to figure out how to manipulate the tokens and cards...moving decks, placing a card on bottom of deck, etc. Played my first physical game last night and had a good time. Had to put it on hold until this evening. Things are looking favorable for a victory.

I guess my only gripe about Tabletopia is the method of payment for a paid account. They want a CC number. If a seller doesn't accept Paypal, Amazon or Google payments I'm not buying. Those three are not infallible but are pretty secure and do keep my CC info exposure to a minimum.
 
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Common Man Games
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schism70 wrote:
Paypal, Amazon or Google payments --- Those three are not infallible but are pretty secure and do keep my CC info exposure to a minimum.


I also like Paypal and believe it to be VERY secure.

Maybe they will add that option at some point.

 
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