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Critical Mass for Virtual Tabletops and Online Conventions?

Technology for running traditional tabletop RPG games using online software has been around for a few years now, but I’ve noticed we seem to be reaching something akin to Critical Mass in the use of these tools to supplement face-to-face gaming. For example, this weekend in my game group we’re using Google+ to video conference in a distant player while the rest of our group game meets around a physical table. Kickstarter and online ‘virtual’ conventions also point to the surging interest in online virtual tabletops.

Kickstarter

There’s been a lot of buzz on Kickstarter regarding two very similar new tools: TabletopForge and Roll20. Both have had very succesful Kickstarters. Of the two, I’m more familiar with TabletopForge which has the promise of being perpetually free, with features like 3 D dice rolling in the works. Their Kickstarter metrics were as follows:

Roll20
1,580 BACKERS
$39,651 PLEDGED OF $5,000 GOAL

TabletopForge
1,926 BACKERS
$44,413 PLEDGED OF $5,000 GOAL

Virtual Conventions

Now comes online ‘virtual’ conventions. Of the five below, Indie+ and Aethercon seems to be the best organized and offers dozens of games over several days.

  1. Indie+ July 9th - 15th, 2012
  2. Fantasy Grounds Virtual Gaming Convention July 20-22, 2012
  3. Concurrent Aug. 15-18, 2012
  4. MonkeyCon October 19th and 20th
  5. Aethercon Nov. 16-18, 2012

Have VTTs (virtual table tops) come of age? What has been your experience with virtual table tops? Are these tools beneficial to your game group?

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