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.
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.
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.
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.
Are you using G+ to game? How about sharing in the comments, how you have organized your game?
Darken others' doors: