More Gaming with Google+

As readers of this blog already know, I like Play by e-Mail games and have found them much easier to run since the advent of Gmail. A few weeks ago, I transformed a game slated to be run as a PBeM into a game run via Google+ and my initial feeling is that I will not be going back to mail for the foreseeable future.

The first post

Positive Points:

So far, the positive points outweigh the negative ones.

  • I can keep all the posts related to the game in one circle which is shared only with the players, so I do not really have to go hunting through archives with search terms and filters to find things. Everything is kept in posting order and everything is tied together already by being in the circle.
  • Each scene can have its own separate thread. The scene is set in the initial post, complete with links, images, video, or whatever else might be required. Actions within the scene are all posted as comments on that initial post.
  • Unlike e-mail, comments on scene posts can be edited to reflect corrections and clarifications after the fact, which makes later reading, sharing, and repurposing much, much easier.
  • Notifications can be handled by the players to ensure they are aware of new posts in a timely fashion, on whatever devices they desire.
  • There is no associated build-up of old posts and files in our e-mail accounts.
  • Sharing the game posts with other people or players, or not sharing them, is easy, and can be changed at will.

Negative Points:

The negative points are few, but worth mentioning.

  • New posts in the game’s circle do not trigger notifications unless the players’ names are included in the post. This is not a big deal, but it must be done every time to ensure the players know a new scene has begun.
  • Players will not get notifications of comments added to a scene post unless they are +’d or until they themselves add a comment. This is also not a big deal, but again, it is a feature each time the initial comments begin to be added to a scene post. The GM does not know if a player’s lack of reply is because they do not know there is a response needed, or if they have chosen not to reply at that time.
  • Limited formatting and linking options in comments.
  • As this is a free service from Google, there is the possibility of losing the data at some point in the future, or having to rescue it within a specific window of time if the service is cancelled. If the game goes on for years like its predecessor, this could eventually be a problem.

Bonus Point:

The great extra feature of Google+ is the option of hosting a hangout, of course. For my groups of players, the time differences play hob with us actually making use of one, but as a potential perk, hangouts are very attractive for special scenes and dramatic conclusions.

Your Points?

Are you using G+ to game? How about sharing in the comments, how you have organized your game?

6 Responses to “More Gaming with Google+”
  1. I play in play by forum game online, and a lot of what you’re talking about looks the same. Because the forum is hosted by a gaming society that all the players are paid members of we never need to worry to much about losing the game data. it could happen, but we would likely get a lot of notice. One of the advantages to doing it your way is that seems easier to to not only set new scenes quicker, but also easier to control who sees the posts. It’s definitely something that I’ll be looking at with regards to play by post kind of games

    • Runeslinger says:

      Yes, it bears a lot of similarity with forum gaming, but with slightly easier modes of access. The lack of formatting options available in a forum can be noticeable at times, but the absence of banners and sigs and so on is appreciated.

  2. Stan Shinn says:

    Good write-up!

    Note that with Google+ you can use *bold*, _italic_, and -strikethroughs- by adding *’s, _’s and -‘s around words. I’m not sure I would need much other formatting (though blockquotes would be nice for PbP games).

    • Runeslinger says:

      Thanks for dropping by~

      I didn’t know about the italics and strikethrough options; thanks for sharing. I have been using bold like it was going out of style…which it now is as a result. 😉

      I would like more link options and an image option in comments, but I don’t miss it that much. Your tips will certainly help spice things up~

  3. anarkeith says:

    Cool idea! I floated the idea of live play in a G+ Hangout with one of my groups to help the two gents driving 45 min each way to make my game. Not much interest though.

    This could be a cool format for us though, since we only play once a month, and some players would like to go a bit more.

    • Runeslinger says:

      I have noticed a similar amount of reluctance to try Hangouts as I get when I propose playing in a text-based format. I guess it’s that whole fear of change thing, or in the case of Hangouts, fear of who might overhear their genocidal subterranean marauding..?

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