• Check out the Frosthaven Kickstarter

    Speaking of board games, the sequel to Gloomhaven, Frosthaven, is closing in on the final stretch of its Kickstarter. This game is a rather large investment, but it’s been well worth it for Gloomhaven, and so far I think Frosthaven is going to take it to the next level.

  • Playing Board Games Online

    Joe Masilotti:

    If you’re anything like me, you’ve been craving a good (in-person) board game night with your friends. To scratch my itch, I’ve moved all my board game sessions online. I’ve been playing with a few different groups through a variety of websites and apps. Here’s a roundup of which board game platforms are the best and how to get started.

    This guide is for anyone who wants to play board games online with your friends but isn’t sure where to start.

    A nice overview of some of the options out there for playing board games online with your regular gaming group. We’ve been doing this in my regular group for a few weeks now.

    In my experience, Zoom is the most consistent service and works on almost any device. One person in your group will need a paid subscription if you want to host an event longer than 40 minutes.

    Discord recently added screen sharing and video calls to their apps. If your playgroup already has accounts then you can use that to chat during your games.

    Zoom has been working well for our game nights. I’ve also been using it with other groups for various meetings. However, we’ve recently switched to using Discord for game nights. It’s easier to use push-to-talk and helps with some of the questionable audio setups we’ve encountered. Plus, eating and drinking at the game table is fairly normal, but when you have a mic picking up all the noises, it’s good to be muted by default at times.

    Playing board games on Tabletop Simulator has a bit of a learning curve. Even moving your pieces around the board can take a little getting used to. Also very few rules, if any, are enforced by the game. You are in charge of making sure everyone is playing correctly.

    Tabletop Simulator has been our primary mode of playing. The learning curve is real. And every game has a slightly different implementation, so at times you start all over with each game.

    One thing Joe doesn’t mention is the user-generated games via the Steam Workshop. These are free, community created implementations of games. In some cases they are even endorsed by the original game creator’s. Also, it’s possible to find scripted versions that do enforce rules and aid in game setup/teardown.

    We’ve played everything from Gloomhaven to Munchkin using Tabletop Simulator and it’s always been a fund experience.

  • Screen, the New Screenhero

    From Jahanzeb Sherwani (@jsherwani) Founder & CEO of Screen:

    TL;DR: Today, I’m launching Screen (https://screen.so), an app that lets you work together like you’re in the same room. Previously, I was co-founder/CEO of Screenhero (acquired by Slack in 2015), and led the team that built Slack Calls.

    Screen has a simple mission: make remote work simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

    I’ve been using Screen the past few weeks to do remote pairing with some of my teammates. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well things have worked. I’ve also started to see how much Slack has dropped the ball since aquiring Screenhero. There are serious short-comings in Slack’s built-in offering aside from the lack of support for multiplayer desktop control. Most notably, a 15 person limit on group calls.

    Today, we’re finally ready. We have a handful of private beta users that use the product daily. We also have interest in our paid plan (which helps us cross-subsidize keeping the standard plan free during the coronavirus outbreak).

    If you haven’t given Screen a try yet, I highly recommend it. For a product that has released early, it’s quite stable and usable. I have had some choppy video here and there, but the benefits have far outweighed any of the growing pains.

  • A quick look at Stimulus.js

    One of my least favorite things about web programming has always been JavaScript. For whatever reason, we’ve just never gotten along.

    I’ve been a huge fan of Ruby and Ruby on Rails. It’s been my dev environment of choice for years, and it’s where I feel most comfortable. Rails brought me to CoffeeScript, some of which I liked, but some of which I find far more trouble than it’s worth. More recently, Rails has introduced a new JavaScript framework to the world, Stimulus.

    Stimulus is the antithesis of what most JavaScript frameworks strive for. It’s simple and designed to enhance, rather than replace. This is definitely more my style.

    So, whether you use Rails or not doesn’t matter, if you’re looking for a simple JavaScript framework check out Stimulus.

  • Welcome to Dicebag.com

    As has become fairly customary every few years, I restart this blog in attempt to spur some sort of creativity, productivity, or just kill some time. This seems like a great time to get things going again.

    Previously, I’ve always thought to focus this blog on technology-related topics. However, this time around I’m thinking I will expand the scope a bit more.

    With that out of the way, it’s time to get to work!

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