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Tabletop Forge: A New Google+ Gaming App

posted Wednesday, May 23rd 2012 by Jonathan Drain
News, Reviews & Culture

I’ve talked about gaming with Google+ before. Now, a new app is revolutionizing how tabletop games are played on Google+.

Tabletop Forge is a virtual tabletop app that integrates with Google+ “Hangout” video chat system. In addition to seeing and hearing your fellow players live, Tabletop Forge lets you draw on a battle map, place miniatures, roll dice, and type in text if voice chat isn’t your thing.

This is much better than standard Google+, where we didn’t even have a way to roll dice.

Read on to see how this digital game table compares to the competition.

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Why Every Group Should Play Maid RPG, Once

posted Friday, May 11th 2012 by Jonathan Drain
News, Reviews & Culture

Two weekends ago I flew across the pond to Chicago to attend Anime Central, the third largest Japanese animation convention in the US. The convention has a surprisingly large tabletop games presence, with a whole corridor of conference rooms booked out for everything from Pathfinder RPG to Magic: the Gathering.

There’s a fair amount of overlap between fans of anime and tabletop RPGs, and nowhere is that overlap more direct than Maid: The Role-Playing Game. Japan has produced its own tabletop roleplaying games since at least as far back as the 1980s, but in 2008, Maid RPG was the first of those to see an official English translation.

It’s cartoonish, unpredictable, and sometimes—if you use the optional rules originally published in an expansion book—downright lewd. Critics have dubbed it “a joke RPG” and even the translator called Maid RPG a “goddamn weird game”.

And after some friends online convinced me to run a game over Google+, I wholeheartedly recommend that every D&D player and RPG designer play this game, at least once. Read on to find out why.

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