Hosting Tabletop Game Nights During COVID Complete With Sound Effects

Hosting Tabletop Game Nights During COVID Complete With Sound Effects

As we approach a year of the virus, I missed having my monthly game nights.  I have done a few virtual sessions of Cartographers, in which I used my phone as a camera for the components, and then each participant was able to use their own print-and-play copy of the maps.  It actually worked surpisingly well.

Another one we played was Escape From The Aliens In Outer Space.  This was a little more challenging, but everyone printed out their own deck of cards and maps to use.  Then, when choosing roles, I just showed them to the camera and had each person look.  Once we got into the groove, things worked quite well.

After a lull of these sessions, I was feeling the itch and wanted a little more immersive experience.  Parsely and some software from Rogue Amoeba fit the bill.

Since my fellow gamers hadn't played Parsely yet, I began with Action Castle.  Prior to the actual game night, I set up Farrago with Sets for each location on the map.

I populated each Set with appropriate sound effects and soundtracks.

My Dungeon Set includes sound effects from Diablo, Chasm, and Zelda.

So as the game progesses, I can launch some appropriate background music.  Then, I have sounds for each type of scenario:

  • swoosh sounds for when they foolisly try to hit the ghost with a club
  • scary Diablo sounds for when the enter the dungeon
  • Diablo loot sound for when the ghost drops the crown
  • fire sound effects for when they light the candle

So simple stuff like this works well.  But without the paired Loopback app, this doesn't work that well since you can't easily play all the sounds and have them sound good over the Internet.  Loopback lets you link sounds and apps as an output.  This means my friends on the other end of the virtual meeting can hear my voice as well as the sound effects I am playing directly over their speakers.

My soundboard linking to a single output so virtual attendees can hear me and my sounds with clarity.

So how did it pan out?  It was challenging to operate the soundboard, keep track of where they are in the book and what page to turn to.  It takes a bit of practice to know what sounds to play and some brain power to click buttons and be the story teller at the same time.  If I were to do it again, I'd probably reduce the amount of sound bytes and just use a single Set.

Here's my audio set for EFTAIOS, complete with alien death rattles, Solid Snake insults, and Star Fox sound snippets.