Vox Populi Forum
My thinking (captured in stream of consciousness to share for anyone who wants to follow along)
It didn't seem to make any point to re-purchase voice over internet. One would have to run something like Skype or Discordia. (I prefer Skype because I have it and the calls are nice and clear. And, Skype to Skype is freebie.) Skype also has built in screen share but ... I wasn't crazy about the results.
Losing your Content:
From what I can tell, you build the maps and such on your end and the tool takes care of distributing them to the players and handling the "this is secret" this is not.
It looked like you could make a few maps in your editor of choice, export them to JPG or PNG and share them using this tool. Same with "hand-outs". I'm not sure where the "note card" entries are stored but likely on your machine but not in Text.
Chat would only be required if you wanted to use the dice rolling or secret messages. There was a shortcut for dice so you could throw it on your tool bar if you needed. I agree ... typing the content back and forth = non-starter.
There was an option to just put the dice on the "virtual" table and you could pick them up to roll them. But, it seemed more fiddly than just clicking on chat button (or letting people roll their own dice).
Host your Own:
One of the tools looked like you could host your own but everyone would need to configure their firewalls to let the traffic through. While most could do that, others would not.
Epic Table caught my eye over the others because it seemed the easiest to configure / use. A few of the other tools allowed you to build a full SRD in XML PDQ as a POC IFL'd. (System Resource Document in eXtensible Markup Language Pretty Darn Quick as a Proof of Concept if you Liked.)
In short, too much work to start.
Stuff you need:
The player "tokens" in the initial install were pretty limited. But, I can make up a dozen or so (just squares with "piture" in them. I was not a fan of the top down figures ... just a picture and name would work.)
The drawing editor seems to not like to draw filled squares ... that is odd. But, you can lay images on the map which looks like a square. The squiggly lines = okay but most things are square or round. There is a scaling issue. I pulled in a map I made in Hexographer and the thing was huge. It was tiny but packed with info. Picture scaling is an issue. It seemed like a quick learning curve to know how to make the image. (I throw them in Power Point because I have it and grab them bit by bit from there.
No Character Sheet
The other tools seemed to spend a lot of attention on character sheet. The pro = you got a lot of information in the character sheet at your disposal. The con = you have to enter the data and fight the tool that says you are +3 not +4 on Winky Skill X. It looked like you could load a "note card" with text. (Not sure if you can share but looked cool.)
What is it missing?
No cards built in. Other tools had cards built in (like playing cards / tarot). I read in the blog, that playing cards was on the list for version 2 scheduled for whenever. Of course, one could simply create images of cards and pop them in as needed ... not sure if that is the same.
Windows Only. Seemed like relatively low hardware requirements but no Mac. No Android. No phone. I'm okay with that.
No independent group of artists make stuff to sell as part of the game.
Kitchen table license - I don't think I can set it up and let you run the game. I'm not sure if I can set the game up and hand Ref role to someone else. (Seems like one could but haven't tried it.) But, I can send you "resources" like maps and tokens and you drop them in your resource folder and then you can use them. Same with, say Tony's Supers ... he can share the resources.
In short, does it do the following things?
Displays Multiple Maps.
Referee Map and Player Map.
Lets players move their "dudes" on the map.
Lets players connect with limited pain.
Up to 10 players? (Okay 4 more like it but may get a few more)
Low set-up pain level for Ref.
Sounds would be great but not must have.
Easy to make maps and tokens.
Saves games so don't have to rebuild.
Majority of stuff can be used with limited conversion. (No reason to re-make maps)
Other good things:
"Tear Off Player Screen" to put on Tony's big television for large groups.
Looks like you can play off line but obviously can't share.
Low System minimums.
Grids (but they all have that).
Once you join game, it stays (so Red's Cutlass would be there every time I log in).
Looks like new stuff coming in the pipeline. (Some seemed more fancy than practical.) And the word on blog was no charge to upgrade to version 2. (Not that anyone cares about the bucks but nice to know one isn't getting nickel and dimed).
That's my thinking.
Somewhere Else Conrad
I trust you -- we're engineers -- red (posted: 11/20/2017)