• December 2020 Meeting

    You are cordially invited to attend the next Mindbridge monthly meeting. As a response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Mindbridge will again be holding this month’s meeting online using Zoom. If you’ve never used Zoom before, we’d recommend checking out their support site’s Getting Started topic. Details of how to join the meeting will be shared via the Mindbridge Foundation Google Group.

    Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020
    Time: 6:oo PM

    Location: Online (Zoom)

November 2020 Minutes

  1. Call to Order
  2. Minutes – posted online, reading waived
  3. Treasurer’s Report only down $31.55 from last month
  4. Convention Reports Read More »
Posted in Minutes | Comments closed

Tabletop Simulater for Noobs

This is a big one folks. Tabletop Simulator is probably the #1 online board game platform. It has the highest number of available games. If you attend an online convention or event, you will almost assuredly need TTS to play the offered games.

TTS is offered through the STEAM platform. You will need to have STEAM to get to TTS. STEAM is free, but once you get to it, TTS will have a cost. At the time of this writing, TTS cost was $19.99, but it can be found at a discounted at different times.

Once you have TTS purchased, you can join in games hosted by other players, or can host games yourself. I have not yet found a game that costs extra once you get into TTS. To find your games, you will need to search the workshop. For the love of all that is holy, BOOKMARK THIS PAGE. You can navigate to it by going to the TTS page, and clicking on the workshop tab, but I can never remember how to find it. https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fsteamcommunity.com%2Fapp%2F286160%2Fworkshop%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR3nvfUSjLB-9tNQZ108wOgkIlDlkMePzuCfKPBeEvEfXP9qQfZ9vM832i4&h=AT0FvNPgn2wRBnkkVvk2tLJ-jBdzerxn755waiWhcGERuZ5tyUi4217jiE3VuZ1LaHxEZDEtfXwZXFTdZ_XKzFTQvLmUl31O5a_ok9BJH7LO4hgvvkwynx4xGwRaZOqHiQ

When you search here, a list of games will show up. You may find several versions of the game you are looking for because it is mostly community created content. If you can find one with good reviews, try it first. Otherwise you may have to just try them out and see what you get. You can also try to figure out if there is a version that has been created by the publisher and try that one first. It can be kind of hit and miss. If you find a good version, please make sure to give it a review so others will be able to find the good version.  Once you have found the version you like, click the green “plus” symbol to add it to your TTS account.

To access the game, you will launch TTS by clicking the green “play” button. Once it loads, you will have the choice to JOIN or CREATE a game. If you click JOIN, you will be prompted to find a server. Your game host will give you this information. When you find the server, click on it, and enter the password if your host has required one. The game will then load.

To CREATE a game, you will click CREATE. Then it will ask if you want single player, multiplayer or hotseat. Hotseat is what you will need if you have multiple people playing on one device that they hand back and forth. I won’t go further into hotseat at this time because I have not used it. Most of the time you will be choosing multiplayer.

It will then prompt you to create a server name, choose if you want to play with public, friends, or invite. You will probably want to choose public and give a password. That is the easiest way to have people find it. If you use Friends, you will have to have everyone friended in STEAM, and it doesn’t seem to always recognize them. I haven’t used invite, so refrain from commenting on it. Make sure to click your number of players and then you will click “Create Server” and TTS will open to the game selection page. All the games you have selected recently will show up on the front page. To find games you selected in the “workshop” click “workshop” on the left and those games will show up. Click on the game you want, and it will load. If you click public without a password, anyone can join you, which can be fun if you are looking to meet some new folks.

Once you get in, you will see the table set up. FIRST THING go to Options/Permissions and turn off table flip. Guaranteed, someone will want to see what it does. Hint: it flips the table and you have to start over. It is kind of cool, so let someone flip it at the end of the game.

I’m not going to go into an in-depth tutorial here. Menu/Help will give you most of the controls. Clicking on your name on the top right will give you the option to change your color, if another color is available. The other important feature is the rotation angle at the top. Some games will have pieces that may need to rotate and you can change the angle of rotation here.

Some of my general observations. There is a rules menu, but very rarely have I actually seen the rules there. Most of the time you will see them on the board, and you have to click on them to see them. There isn’t really any consistency on how you view the rules. Some you can right click and go to a page, some you have to hover over them and click “alt” (which works to enlarge almost every game piece on the board and probably one of the most used key commands).  Clicking shift and dragging over objects will select several items at a time. If you have to draw cards, right click and go to the hand icon and choose the number of cards, or click and pull a card quickly. If you go too slow, you’ll pull the whole deck, so right clicking is usally the best option.

The graphics are good, but connectivity can be a problem. In some games, I have glitch problems pulling items out of bags. Not sure why, but bags can kick me out of the game. It’s easy to get back in, but if this happens to you, just have someone else pull your items from you unless you want a great exercise in frustration.

TTS has a chat function, but not voice or video, so you will need another platform of your choice for that. Once you have it all set up, it is a platform that can give you a lot of options and a lot of fun. But it does take some time to set up, so make sure that you are prepared going into a game so that others don’t have to wait on you. To set up STEAM and TTS can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, and it’s really annoying to have to wait for someone to set up when you are ready to game. I’ve never heard anyone grumble, because, let’s face it, we’ve all been there in the last year, but it is frustrating when you are ready to play and have to wait. Especially if you aren’t able to finish the game because of it.

So get it set up and check out the next convention. There are a lot, and most are free. Keep on gaming until we can get back to in person games again!

Posted in Games | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

October 2020 Minutes

Mindbridge Meeting Minutes Wednesday October 7, 2020 at 7 PM

  1. Call to Order
  2. Minutes – reading waived
  3. Treasurer’s Report
  4. Convention Reports Read More »
Posted in Minutes | Comments closed

A Basic Introduction To STEAM For Non-video Game Gamers

Video gamers have known about STEAM for quite a while. It was created to make updating games easier. As it has grown it has come to include much more for the gaming community. I first learned about STEAM when I found out about the Jackbox Games (Quiplash in particular). You will need steam for some board games and most commonly for board gamers, for Tabletop Simulator (hereby abbreviated as TTS).

The first step you will need to take is to download STEAM to your device. (https://store.steampowered.com/) This might take a while, so make sure you do this well ahead of your planned play session. Downloading STEAM itself does not cost anything, but once you get it downloaded, access to most games and TTS have costs associated with them, and everyone playing will be required to have paid access to the game.

Once you have downloaded STEAM, you will set up an account with a username and password. This username and password can also be used online in your browser to navigate the STEAM store and your account settings.

In the STEAM store you can browse the many titles of video games and board games available. You can browse through their “Free to Play” area. I have found most of the free titles to be video games. Searching for “Board Games” will get you a list of games available on the STEAM platform. The “big one” that you’ll want to look for is Tabletop Simulator. I’ll stop there with that, because I will be devoting an entire upcoming post on TTS. I really enjoy playing the Jackbox games through STEAM and highly recommend them. I have also played “Lords of Waterdeep” which seems to run pretty well. As with any online game, your computer system and wireless connection will play a large part in the type of experience you have.

There is a community section where you can find discussions and a marketplace, but again, I have found them to me mostly of use to the video game community, and have not used them at all in my online board game journey.

It is helpful if you are friends with the gamers you expect to be playing with, but I have found connecting with friends a clunky and annoying task. Once done, however, it is easy to connect with them for games.  To connect with a friend, go to your username tab, and click friends. Then click add a friend in the left menu. You will get a code that you can give your friend or you can enter the code that they give you. Sometimes it works, sometimes it takes a couple of tries. There is also a link that you can copy and send to them. Again, I have had mixed experiences with that.

That’s about all I have to say about STEAM itself. As a boardgamer I use it about 90% for TTS, and 10% for Jackbox games and that’s about it.  Your mileage may vary. It is 100% necessary for TTS though, as TTS is only available through STEAM.

Please feel free to comment, discuss and share your experiences with steam in the comments, but please also be nice. There are a lot of people trying to learn these platforms and your help and advice are welcome, but not your scorn or disrespect. I don’t claim to be an expert, and only talk about that which I am familiar with. Thank you.

Posted in Games | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed