Behind the Screen: GMing Online vs Face-to-Face

While the world as a whole quarantined in the spring of 2020 everyone had to make adjustments to their work lives –and social lives. Gaming stores shut their doors, leaving multitudes of gamers alone in the cold with only the electronic blue glow of their monitors to guide them to some semblance of a gaming society.

Where once we gathered around dining room tables, we now gather around the virtual table tops. Dice boxes and glittering math rocks are replaced with digital dice or web cams directed at our rolling areas. Sharing snacks has been replaced with sharing GIFs in chat channels. Stacks of books are now gigs of PDFs.

In a way, by stepping into our bubbles and warding off the virus, we’ve actually been able to expand our gaming groups however. Whereas prior to 2020 my gaming group consisted of the same half-dozen people I’ve played with for decades, now I’ve joined games with new friends that hail from around the world.

The resources available to GMs online are wonderous. Virtual Table Tops like Roll20o, Foundry, and Owlbear Rodeo compete for our patronage. Social applications like Discord and Zoom help us to connect with myriad cultures and possibilities. Virtual Gaming Conventions are even a thing, and I believe that they will be around for years to come, even after we are released from our confinement. The introverts and extroverts can now find common ground and cross-play.

I do miss the face to face games, the rituals of stopping for snacks and drinks to share, and actual maps with miniatures. Gone are the days of lugging around a bag of books, an armload of cases, and commuting to have fun.

We have faced the Monster, and survived. We are stronger for the experience and our gaming lives have leveled up. However if you’re still LFG from the comfort of your own home then I suggest checking out my availability at Start Playing Games.


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