Was: Party at the new house.
🏠 I’m at the apartment trying out the new fancy coffee machine (on default settings it makes… coffee!) Today is yet another pool party with all the daughters. One of them has a recent birthday, and then is going to college in (or near?) Chicago…Indiana…Gary?
I booted up Tabletop Simulator, intended to be a virtual mobile space in which to play tabletop games. It’s well-integrated into the Steam Workshop and there are numerous freely available play-sets for games, some of which look invented and some of which are imports of known tabletop games.
(Are these games authorized by their creators? Do they need to be authorized? Wikipedia notes a notable number of [available] items are adaptations of existing games, including unlicensed derivatives of copyrighted works.. Sadly the only version of Munchkin I could find (so far) is in Russian.)
I had thought Tabletop was merely a physics engine with a bunch of basic game boards and pieces, but objects can bounce about a bit much (at least in full physics mode.) I had a hard time properly placing a Go stone or a chesspiece in proper place. But Tabletop allows for automated snapping to points (to keep things neat) or automated die-rolling sums. Champions players rejoice!
I’ve also found it’s not too difficult to break the game a bit. One of the achievements is to spawn so many poker chips, which I tried doing by creating tall stacks and replicating them with the infinity bag (you put a thing in the infinity bag, and you can pull out as many of that thing as you want). Eventually I made stacks tall enough that they couldn’t sit, and they’d perpetually fall off the table. (Things that fall off get respawned above the table, like over-enthusiastic dice throws, will respawn above the table). Also I found that you can put an infinity bag inside an infinity bag. And you can put an infinity bag loaded with infinity bags inside an infinity bag. And you can put infinity bags loaded with infinity-bag-loaded infinity bags inside an infinity bag… Wait…something’s going on here…
Anyhow, this may be a perfectly suitable environment to create a first distribution of Fleet & Federation. Since the sim includes scripting to perform game functions (e.g. computing the team Ratings and drawing the appropriate number of Complications.) It will also help me nail down the sequence of events necessary to make the game go. If I can compose the rules so that a computer can understand them, it shouldn’t be difficult to derive from that rules a human could understand.
Then I only need to get people to want to play it.
Afterthought: It turns out there are tabletop gamers worldwide, but like the crazy-but-fun French games that never got out to the US that I enjoyed in my twenties (All due thanks to a an immigrant from France and fellow gamer), many of the big US games never get out to Europe (and even less, Eastern Europe). There’s also crazy shipping costs. So yeah, the demand for bootleg games is from those nations that have to suffer imports from here. Most of my favorite IRL tabletop games have a Tabletop counterpart.
Of course, this may very well kill the Tabletop DLC market.