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Live from the Castle! Streaming Your Tabletop Game

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 25, 2018 4:14:23 PM / by Dan Pisarski

Dan Pisarski

Tabletop gaming - especially Role Playing Games -  is experiencing a serious resurgence - and more and more people want to share their games  with players and audiences around the world by live streaming. As a child of the 80’s,  playing Dungeons and Dragons around my kitchen table, I lived for the adventures, challenges, battles, and camaraderie with my fellow PCs (that's Player Characters for the uninitiated). Tabletop Gaming? OK, the term itself is pretty obvious - literally anything you play on a tabletop. But the term covers a lot: from “traditional” board games (such as Monopoly), to strategic board games (like Risk, or Settlers of Catan), to “pen and paper” role playing games (such as my favorite, Dungeons and Dragons), to collectible card games (such as Magic: The Gathering or Pokémon), or really, any card game (Poker, Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens). 

twitch magic

What has helped catapult tabletop games back into the spotlight?  Social media platforms like Twitch, YouTube and Facebook have made it much easier for fans of the old classic games and the new generation of roll playing games to connect and share. It's almost a “Golden Age” of tabletop with some of the best games ever released to the market available now. Players are are building dynamic, engaged communities around these specialized games and social media platforms are making it easier to gather, share experiences, and compete on a larger scale using live video!

It used to be that you’d find like-minded gamers hanging out at the local hobby or gaming shop. They’d be talking about the games they were playing at home and in most cases, hanging out at the shop playing games. Today social media platforms have become “that place” where our universal interest and love of tabletop gaming converge – even if the stream still originates from that local game shop.

Gaming

Nottingham seems to be at the centre of the resurgence - the city is home to several board game cafes and companies, including Games Workshop.

 

Sharing with Live Video

Today, there’s a lot of excitement today around live streaming tabletop gaming. It is easy to see why - it’s a form of entertainment that can be fun not just for the player, but for an audience too. Streaming your game can be as easy as using a webcam and free software on your trusty laptop. In some ways, the most important goal here is to get streaming and not think you need a ton of gear to get started. Most of the social online platforms today have very easy, built-in ways to stream from your webcam to the platform.

 

Getting Started

magic gatheringUsing a webcam to stream a game from your home seems pretty straightforward. The web cam is a great entry in, but limitations start to unravel as you become more serious about live streaming. For example, your webcam is probably designed to focus on one subject only (you… usually staring right back at it!) and not designed to take in a large tabletop with beautiful maps and carefully painted miniatures. Being tailored to focus on one subject, also means it’s not geared to take in a whole room filled with multiple players. If you find you just can’t get the “shot” you want from your webcam, it might be time to look at some simple ways to get a full production look - without a big budget or crew. We have a great guide available that shows you exactly what you need to get better quality live streams with just 3 elements.

 

Multicam Tabletop Game DiagramLevel Up - Multiple cameras, remote players, and graphics? You can do it!

It is easy to incrementally add new elements to enhance your live streams as your experience grows - but again, without breaking the bank or needing a dedicated production crew. What is really great about live streaming a tabletop game is the interaction. Check out the guide for more cool tips, products and ideas to take things to the next level.

Get Out of the Dungeon!

Before you know it, you could have a kit that fits in one reasonably sized bag that lets you shoot wherever the game is, in great visual quality and with awesome audio. Why not live stream from a "game night" at a local bar? Mobile live streams of your games really up the engagement factor for your audience and can be a lot of fun too. Just make sure your have enough bandwidth so you always have enough connectivity to go live from anywhere. 

Oh and one more thing...  February is officially Dungeon Master Appreciation Month. But why wait? Show your love now by live streaming the next campaign!

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Topics: How To

Dan Pisarski

Written by Dan Pisarski

Dan Pisarski is an engineering leader in the online, video, and broadcast industries with over 20 years’ experience. With a broad background in software and hardware design, product development, research and analysis and quality assurance, Dan understands how to take complex technology solutions from inception to delivery and beyond. As a tech visionary, Dan is a recurring contributor to articles and white papers communicating both practical know-how and forward-thinking knowledge to help bring the live video industry to the next level. Dan is also a frequent presenter sharing his technological expertise at industry conferences around the country with sessions ranging from open-source solutions to bringing linear channel infrastructure online for OTT services.