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Tabletopia for Playtesting or Part of Kickstarter

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jonathanflike
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Hello everyone,

It's been a while since I've posted an update, but I've been swamped with game design and working with some artists I've hired for my game. I should probably just blog an update. Anyway, I want to expand my playtesting a bit, and I figured something like Tabletopia might make it easy to have players from where ever to play test the game and give me their feedback. I also noticed a Kickstarter not too long ago that actually had an open Tabletopia game that people could try before funding the game. Has anyone had any experience with Tabletopia? I know there s this weird turf watr between that and tabletop simulator, but not sure what that's about. In regards to Tabletopia, what are the pluses or minuses, your impressions of it, limitations of it etc. Also, do you feel there is value to an open Tabletopia game on your Kickstarter as opposed to a Print and Play (my game is a card game) or would you recommend both?

Best,
-Jonathan Flike

harmon89
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I'm very interested in

I'm very interested in people's responses to this as well. I'm currently finalizing a game on Tabletopia that I plan to launch on Kickstarter next month. I think it could be nice to give potential backers an opportunity to sort of test out the game to get familiar with the game a bit before backing, and it is certainly less work on their part than a print and play.

Tabletopia seems to be ideal for this sort of thing because it doesn't require players to actually own Tabletopia, unlike Tabletop Simulator. The downside to Tabletopia is that there are a lot less players using it. For playtesting with as many people as possible or as an option to Kickstarter backers I think Tabletopia would be ideal.

Also if you go to steam TTS has a much better user rating, but I'm not really sure why...

questccg
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TableTop Simulator vs TableTopia

I believe the "turf" war is that both products do the same thing: allow you to play games on a computer.

I think the issue is that TableTop Simulator is a hosting platform that you BUY from "Steam" and then you can PURCHASE "DLC" (Downloadable Content) for different games. I have seen games like Scythe and Viticulture which can be each purchased and subsequently played. I am guessing that ALL players NEED to first purchase the hosting platform and then the games you want to play.

Tabletopia is a web-based offering. As a publisher or game designer, you PAY in order for your game to be listed in the game available to play. You are allowed one (1) FREE game to be hosted, otherwise you must upgrade to a paid monthly subscription. There is also a pricing scheme for "players" too which starts off a FREE for 2 simultaneous game sessions. And you can upgrade for additional features too...

Which is the LESS expensive option? Truth be told IDK...

Tabletopia's top tier is $9.99/mth. And for designers or publishers it can be up to $19.99/mth.

TableTop Simulator costs ~$18 for one player. A four (4) player pack cost ~$55... DLCs vary per game and I guess again all players need to buy and download the DLC if you want to play together.

Personally if as I designer or publisher, I have to PAY to allow people to play my game... this is a losing proposition. On the other hand if DLCs allow me to earn some money when players BUY them; this is a more attractive option (In my book anyways).

So Tabletopia is FREE for players and allow two (2) concurrent games sessions to be active (at any time). A designer or publisher may put one (1) game on this platform for FREE too.

TableTop Simulator each player must PAY for their own copy of the platform... I'm guessing producing of DLCs is FREE also... But then again players must PAY to purchase DLCs and each player must have their own copy of the DLC.

Right now I'm just comparing the BASIC offerings. It seems to me like Tabletopia might be the less expensive solution... but with time, and a monthly upgrade it could be more expensive seeing as TableTop Simulator is a one-shot payment.

Anyways this was just a comparison and explanation over the "turf war" that is happening between these two (2) products.

If you ASK ME "TableTop Simulator" allows designers and publishers to make money SELLING DLCs. "Tabletopia" at the high-end CHARGES designers and publishers to use premium features. If you were a designer or publisher, I think the better option would be "TableTop Simulator".

But it's NOT FREE! So I'll leave it at that... And let the readers make up their own minds...

jonathanflike
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Ah I see.

Thanks for the explanation to the turf war Quest, I learned a lot haha. I'm still wondering if this is a thing I should eventually put on the Kickstarter or not. Would you do something like that for a future game you'd work on? Would you put Tradeworlds on it or is there something you don't like about it?

jonathanflike
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Tabletopia Experience

Harmon, how has your experience with Tabletopia been? Is it easy to manage, what are the pluses and minuses of using it? Anything I should be prepared for before starting an account and putting a game on there?

questccg
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We plan to deploy on Tabletopia

jonathanflike wrote:
Thanks for the explanation to the turf war Quest, I learned a lot haha. I'm still wondering if this is a thing I should eventually put on the Kickstarter or not. Would you do something like that for a future game you'd work on? Would you put Tradeworlds on it or is there something you don't like about it?

Okay a couple of things...

We (my Publisher) decided that they would put "TradeWorlds" on Tabletopia provided the social goal was met. I can't remember what the social goal was (like thumb up an image on BGG or x Facebook friends, etc.) So they are going to put the game eventually once all the artwork is finished. We are still in the process of finishing artwork...

Learning about the "turf war" and the business models, there is ONE (1) clear thing that stands out: it COSTS game publisher to use Tabletopia.

That I don't like... And meanwhile you have TableTop Simulator which is the OPPOSITE: publishers can make money selling the DLCs.

But as I said before TableTopia is FREE for most gamers and publishers. Or until you want a 2nd game on their platform and then it's $9/mth.

So personally I would CHOOSE the platform that allows me to MAKE money rather than PAY money.

However the point that still remains is that Tabletopia for most gamers will be FREE... It's HARD to compete against "FREE".

harmon89
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Personally I found putting up

Personally I found putting up a game is relatively easy. It took me about 4 hours to put up my game, but I think if I was putting up the same game again, knowing what I know now, I could do it in 1-2 hours. I say make an account and try it out! It's completely free for your first game so you really have nothing to lose.

The only real issue I had with Tabletopia is that sometimes when I try to grab a card from a deck it tries to grab the whole deck. Aside from that slight annoyance, things seem to run smoothly and intuitively.

Also, I think Tabletopia *looks* better than Tabletop Simulator from what I've seen. I'm haven't tested out Tabletop Simulator so just going off youtube videos I've seen.

The main think I like about Tabletopia is that it's free for anyone to help playtest or try my game.If your goal is to making money from an online version of the game Tabletop Simulator seems like the better option. If your goal is to playtest and give Kickstarter backers a taste of your game I think Tabletopia is better.

jonathanflike
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Thanks!

harmon89 wrote:
Personally I found putting up a game is relatively easy. It took me about 4 hours to put up my game, but I think if I was putting up the same game again, knowing what I know now, I could do it in 1-2 hours. I say make an account and try it out! It's completely free for your first game so you really have nothing to lose.

The only real issue I had with Tabletopia is that sometimes when I try to grab a card from a deck it tries to grab the whole deck. Aside from that slight annoyance, things seem to run smoothly and intuitively.

Also, I think Tabletopia *looks* better than Tabletop Simulator from what I've seen. I'm haven't tested out Tabletop Simulator so just going off youtube videos I've seen.

The main think I like about Tabletopia is that it's free for anyone to help playtest or try my game.If your goal is to making money from an online version of the game Tabletop Simulator seems like the better option. If your goal is to playtest and give Kickstarter backers a taste of your game I think Tabletopia is better.

Thank you so much for the insight, I'll go ahead and give it a try. It couldn't hurt and perhaps giving the payers an option between print and play and Tabletopia is a good thing.

questccg
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Plain shame

harmon89 wrote:
The main think I like about Tabletopia is that it's free for anyone to help playtest or try my game.

As long as you ONLY have ONE (1) game. Once you have a 2nd game, you need to update your Plan to $9/mth. That's what I don't like about Tabletopia. They would be better off with some "micro-transaction" fee structure for each game played. Like you get $9-worth of credits and some games cost more to play, other cost less. Then the gamers pay for the use of the platform.

It makes way more sense than having the CREATORS have to pay to put out their game... If you know what I mean?!

harmon89 wrote:
If your goal is to making money from an online version of the game Tabletop Simulator seems like the better option.

We are in a business where it is HARD to make money. I personally feel if an option such as TableTop Simulator gives you the chance to make a little extra money, no harm with that. I don't think it is meant to be a cash grab either!

harmon89 wrote:
If your goal is to playtest and give Kickstarter backers a taste of your game I think Tabletopia is better.

But realize that when you have your 2nd game, YOU as the creator will have to PAY MONEY so that OTHER people can play FREE...

Ridiculous...

harmon89
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Yeah, I wish the creators

Yeah, I wish the creators weren't the ones bearing the cost on Tabletopia, but that's the way it is unfortunately. In the future I will probably also use Tabletop Simulator and reserve Tabletopia to use for playtesting my most current game so that I don't have to pay the $9 fee every month.

Personally I see pros and cons to both. In the long run TTS is cheaper for a designer who has multiple games on the platform at once. Tabletopia is more accessible to ALL players.

And I certainly don't thing there is wrong for your motivation for using TTS is to make money. Though, I'd be curious to know how successful it has been for people.

questccg
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I agree

@harmon89: you are correct.

As far as success is concerned. Stonemaier games has both Scythe and Viticulture on TTS. Scythe is priced at $7 USD. But you can play from 2 to 5 players. So for a 5 player game, it's $35 USD... (~$8 USD for TTS).

It's still less expensive than owning a PHYSICAL copy of the game.

And for each player it's $15 USD if you want to OWN and play Scythe... Pretty inexpensive if you ask me.

But Tabletopia is still FREE to play (and also has both Scythe and Viticulture too!)

harmon89
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Just a quick update on my

Just a quick update on my Tabletopia experience. This evening I exceeded the limit of my free account, so that's something else to keep in mind. You get 1 free game, but you still have to keep it under the limit for your account.

I've just purchased TTS so now I can more accurately compare the two. :-)

Rick L
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The experience

Keep in mind too that the game play experience is, in my opinion, far less fun using these simulators than playing the actual physical game. While they are very helpful for play testing, do you want potential backers trying out a somewhat tedious interface virtual version of your game right before deciding whether to back it on a Kickstarter?

Playing online virtual games doesn't completely rob the games of fun, but it does alter the overall experience of the game.

Just a factor to consider.

krone9
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agree with that - I tried

agree with that - I tried both and honestly thought they were rubbish. Boardgames are not designed to be played on a computer and vice versa

in terms of setup - both reasonable to use from what I remember, I just wasn't that happy with the end product

so haven't used since - your mileage may vary of course

joebergmann
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Giving it a try soon...

I am going to launch a Kickstarter for my City Park game November 6th. For the lead-up to the launch I have prepared a Tabletopia version of the game. My attitude is that it is advertising. It gives people a chance to try the game for free and actually (sort of) get a feel for it. I think that is worth the $10 a month, but we will see... :)

JohnBrieger
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Going to disagree with Quest on this one

Going to disagree with Quest on this one – I think if you are trying to grow a fan base by putting up a digital version of the game, Tabletopia is the better option, due to it being free to play vs Tabletop Simulator requiring each player to have a copy.

Charging creators for the use of the platform makes tons of sense for Tabletop as a model.

Think of putting your game on Tabletopia as part of your marketing / promotion budget. In addition to your social media promotions, buying ad space, you're providing an easy way for people to try the game and hopefully convert into customers.

I think the goal of putting the game up on Tabletopia isn't to make money selling your DLC or premium content, but to drive people to your campaign / to buy a physical copy.

RE: Playtesting
That said, I don't like digital platforms for playtesting – as they make it significantly more difficult and sometimes impossible to capture experiential data like player reactions, offhand comments/ table talk / body language. They also provide extremely different interface and affordances to playing a physical copy of the game, so you can't test your learnability, total playing time, or usability at all either.

inmysights
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Tabletop Simulator

I Kickstarted Tabletop Simulator. I tried and tried to deal the developers to work with me on how it would work after the kickstarter was over, and we was able to finally get to play with it. These people were outright horrible to deal with. I gave them my piece of mind and have never looked back at that piece of software that I was so anxiously hoping would be amazing. I have Tabletopia but seem to never be able to get to play with anyone.

questccg
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Ridiculous

JohnBrieger wrote:
...Charging creators for the use of the platform makes tons of sense for Tabletop as a model...

@John: I completely disagree with this. And I've personally experienced it first hand at a job I once held.

Let me explain... and then you can criticize.

I was working for a Large Bank. They had spawned the IDEA of hosting a B2B Platform for the Bank's business customers. But their model was totally flawed. Much like Tabletopia, their idea was to CHARGE people to sell product on their B2B site while the Bank would make money on each transaction. It was so flawed of an idea - not because people did not try. But because the basic principle of charge both Customers AND Supplier to use your "platform" is absurd.

Without Suppliers the B2B would have NOTHING TO SELL. It's the exact same deal with Tabletopia. Without US as designers uploading all our content to their "platform", they would have NOTHING to OFFER gamers except maybe outdated games like Chess or Checkers...

What makes Tabletopia interesting is that you can PLAY all of the NEW and more recent games (ergo the Suppliers are bringing GAMERS to the table).

And you still believe it is logical to CHARGE them???

Needless to say the B2B failed and I lost my job... Not because of me but because the Bank shifted the purpose of the B2B and decided to outsource all of the Technical work to a Third-Party in the USA.

But bottom line, that business failed because it was "burning the candle at both ends". Sure add a MARKUP to items sold and the consumer naturally pay based on his purchases... Or maybe allocate a "transaction" fee per order of $0.99 or something like that. The users are SAVING MONEY by using the B2B platform because prices were negotiated and the Bank was offering discounts to the BUYERS.

I'm sorry but I have lived through this ... and it was the death of their business. No way that a SUPPLIER should be both offering the OPTIONS to the consumer and that he should be charged for offering it.

To me (IMHO) it makes no sense...

But you are entitled to your opinion...!

Note: It was so stupid because they wanted even to CHARGE per Megabyte of "space" used by the SUPPLIERS to upload images for their catalog... So to recap: Transaction Fee, Consumer Markup, Supplier Fee and Per MB Images Fee... Talk about trying to suck the life out of everyone!

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