Electronic v. table-top games?



NearbyGamers General
no tags
2007-03-21 19:31:43

I've noticed that a number of tags are being created that specifically refer to electronic gaming, mostly of the MMO variety. Now perhaps this is a silly question, but why? My impression was that the tool was designed with table-top and board games primarily in mind, and a "locater" service makes a lot of sense to me for those kind of games. But does it really matter if there are a lot of MMO players nearby? Are people really looking to get a local "gaming group" together for World of Warcraft? (And I'm not trying to dis WoW or other MMOs; I'm an active player of those games. I just don't understand why this kind of a tool would be particularly useful in that regard.)

Is this yet another situation where there is confusion about the "gamer" term being overloaded by both electronic and pen/paper/board varieties? And what is the intended primary focus of this tool? I can't find it in the About page.

(Yeah, I'm quite well aware this can be a "holy war" kind of subject. I guess I just want to know what the site defines as "gamer" and what kinds of games are appropriate to have in our profiles.)


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inveterate gamer; prolific GM; world designer
2007-03-21 21:05:35


It does seem odd to list internet games on a site intended for finding nearby gamers. But users are going to do what users are going to do, and it'd be rather a lot of work to control them without restricting their ability to tag obscure RPGs cardgames, boardgames, and wargames.

Besides, what harm does it do?


2007-03-22 00:14:12

No real harm, I suppose. Just self-generated agitation. But I reserve the right to throw a conniption fit if some day in the future, the only "gamer" that show up on the map near me are all console gamers... :-)


inveterate gamer; prolific GM; world designer
2007-03-22 00:16:07

Console gamers? Looxury!

Have a look what shows up on the map within an hour's drive of my location.


world+mechanic = game
2007-03-22 00:53:13

Well, that's a good question. We're kind of hurting for a mission statement. I figured our goal was to create a comprehensive network of all face-to-face game players in the world in order to simplify the organization of face-to-face games (thereby encouraging face-to-face games throughout the world).

If that's our mission statement, everything beyond the map, tags, and email messaging system is irrelevant beyond it's ability to lure in more face-to-face gamers. I mean, the forums are cool, but all they are is a carrot for more gamers under that mission statement.

If you look at it that way, MMORPG players are a symbiote at best and a parasite at worst. Either they're piggybacking off of our biomass and infrastructure to create their own colocated network while occasionally attracting someone who's also interested in face to face games (or someone who becomes interested in face to face games after reading our tags/posts), or they're actively encouraging people not to play face to face games, which runs directly against our purposes.

However, if our goal is the organization, development, and improvement of games, our mission statement doesn't require us to kick out any gamers of any sort. It may be a kind of lofty and unwieldy mission statement (are you ready for the soccer players and poker players?), but it's more fitting for what we're doing with the video games on here.

We could restrict ourselves to roleplaying games, but we obviously have some spillover into boardgames already. Maybe we'd be bigots if we erased the video game tags?

Well, what's more important to you all? The players or the games?

Have You Hugged Your GM Lately?
2007-03-22 11:14:24

Well, I for one play video games socially, and with new people whenever I can manage it. For me, there's no difference between playing a simple tabletop wargame and (for example) a passaround game of Advance Wars on the GBA (except Advance Wars doesn't require any board setup and I don't have to go diving under the couch after a missing counter or a dropped d6).

Also, my current tabletop RPG campaign is peopled almost entirely by people who used to consider themselves only hardcore console gamers.

Games are games, and I think video gaming is frequently a lot more social than folks give it credit for. The reported incidence of "Wii Parties" may help increase the visibility of this.

- S. John Ross

Indie RPGer and Board Wargamer.
2007-03-22 16:11:55

I don't see it as a problem really and I think that if there is any sort of restrictions put in place it will cause more animosity than actually resolve anything.

The tags are designed in such a way that people are going to use them for games they are interested in. If someone's not particularly into console gaming or doesn't feel that their interest warrants registering on a particular tag then those tags are simply not going to be an issue for that person. Besides, I think this site is about community, we're a community of people who like games, no matter their form. Live and let live, eh? John

The gamer that runs this site
2007-03-22 16:27:48

Early on, we had a lot of WoW players because two of the friends that I got to test early-on told their guildmates to sign up. I figured it didn't really matter, that they were just missing the point -- that NearbyGamers is for the games you need a real, live human across the table to play.

They don’t hurt anything, and they’re now well-outnumbered by tabletop gamers. I’m focusing on and catering to tabletop gamers, but I’m not going to try to ban computer gaming because I think it's just be needlessly picking a fight.

I think a mission statement is definitely needed in the first section on the about page. Right now the closest thing I have to a mission statement is this line from my announcement on my personal blog:

It’s for people who play RPGs, CCGs, TCGs, wargames, board games — basically any game where you need to have a live human on the other side of a table if you want to play.

Any suggestions for what more to include or emphasize?

chronic game designer
2007-03-22 19:55:20

My two bits in opposition to the notion that MMO's and other video games are irrelevant.

Yes, the site is meant as a way to find people in your neighborhood with whom to play scrabble and d20 and GURPS and lawn darts and stuff.

However, it's also about finding people with similar interests. Scenareo:

  1. Fred lives in Bedrock. He plays ping pong, d20, and City of Heroes.
  2. Barney also lives in Bedrock. He plays GURPS, City of Heroes, and Shadowrun.
  3. The two meet through the site and play CoH together.
  4. Later, Fred is interested in starting up a d20 Modern game and invites Barney to join, which he does.
  5. Mission accomplished.

— i can still kill you with my brain
world+mechanic = game
2007-03-24 01:17:48

Well, it's like my brother always tells me: "Bad organizations look for heretics...good organizations look for converts."

Have You Hugged Your GM Lately?
2007-03-25 17:15:43

That's a very groovy quote :)

world+mechanic = game
2007-03-26 00:03:28

Well, you can message him and tell him. He's listed on Hawaii as Palm Dogg or some such.

2007-04-02 14:38:16

I don't like weighing in on things when what I have to say has already been said, but I think I'm going to throw my two cents into this one. Yes, this site is primarily aimed towards table-top games, including boardgames, role playing games, collectible card games, and the like. However, I would also like to point out that electronic games have a very physical social side. Does the term "LAN Party" ring a bell?

I guess I see this site as bringing people within a close physical proximity together. If I look on my map and see that there are quite a few players that play Unreal Tournament (or in general, any first person shooter) I would like to get a LAN party together. Everyone brings over their computers, and we spend the next dozen hours of our lives killing each other. In terms of MMO's (oh how I love my WoW), if I saw enough people in the Chicago-land vicinity that played, I'd want to throw a little get together. Maybe a night at the bars, or whatever. I think it would be fun to meet the people behind the pixels.

In the end, I feel that 'gamers' applies equally to both traditional gamers and e-gamers. Whether it is a LAN Party or a D&D Party, it is still a collection of people of similar interests enjoying a game together.


Indie RPGer and Board Wargamer.
2007-04-02 15:11:19

There is also the growth in electronic gaming tables which aren't a game per se, rather they are like online shared areas in which to play tabletop games. These include Fantasy Grounds as well as Battlegrounds for RPGs and VASSAL for wargames. The growth of the internet is blurring the old distinctions between purely tabletop and electronic gaming, so lets go with the flow eh? John

Rules-lite tabletop RPGs played over the internet
2007-11-14 02:12:58

I've been getting into using the internet to play tabletop RPGs lately. There are some interesting aps out there, especially OpenRPG, which is the one my group has chosen to use. This will be my first experience with GMing a internet based RPG campaign, so the pros and cons remain to be seen. In any case, it was great to find a way to GM a campaign for my friends who live in different states. This seems like a good way for gaming groups to keep playing despite geographical distances. I've been thinking about getting in touch with some old RPG buddies who moved away as well.

In fact, I've been posting around to some people here to see if they would be interested. I hope they don't think I mean MMORPG when I talk about an "online RPG campaign"...

— Rules-lite tabletop RPGs played over the internet
The Arcadian Guild
2007-12-06 08:49:31

The MMO players will find themselves easily enough, they do not have to physically move from their chair!

Stand up, walk around, actually have to drive and do something physical? Not for an MMO game player, thus you need not worry about only finding them listed in here...they do not care where someone else is, only if they are causing a slow down in the system. They hate the jittery video or other interrupts that causes.

Video is all that system is all about, not character portrayal or defining moral moments. Its all about the LOOK.

The rest are into POWER, and again, do not care what the 'real' people look, smell or taste like...only that they are a source of item/energy/whatever they need to get the next level/stat/munchkin thingy. These same players do not care where anyone is either.

Because I'm Snarky...
2007-12-08 01:59:23

I think I'll pass along the wise counsel given to me while in the 39th level of Garzharf's lair.


For he shall only get more powerful. *sigh* of course I didn't care about death back then, so here goes.

I play(ed) MMO's, MUD's, and the like. I also play(ed) board games, from strategy to traditional. I've even been known to play sports every now and then. I do care where the people I'm playing with are from because gaming parties are fun, regardless of the game, and finding a good partner in one game can quite easily find you a good partner for another.

Having thrown LAN parties in excess of 30 people in one house, and tried to get people to come play Munchkin over dinner, I can say that the former actually led to more people playing board games. I've "forced" friends (by playing it in front of them) from other areas of my life to play board games, and they found out they had a blast. I enjoy randomly going through the tags and seeing what might interest me, just as I'm sure MMO players on here might do.

No reason to call MMO players all lazy and fat power mongers unless you don't actually want them to take an interest in another system.

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