I learned about while talking to another game designer. Tabletopia allows you to sandbox playtest board games in a 3D environment. It is a website that you and others can visit to share a gaming experience. You can sign up for a free account to get started. The interface was not hard to learn and after a couple hours, I had imported all the graphics and pieces of the game.

What impresses me the most is how easy it is to use. You can see everyone's virtual hand (mouse cursor). When you interact with a game element (like a Meeple) everyone can see you lift it off the board. The placement system is very accurate and natural feeling. When I place a piece down it goes right where I want it to; I never had to fight with it. You can even stack pieces and they interact brilliantly. For example, I put two meeples on a game card. When I picked up the card the meeple stayed on the card. You can even snatch pieces out of other people's virtual hands!

Tabletopia does not know any rules. The players that connect must already know how the game is played. You the player must keep track of scores and other particulars. This worked out great for teaching the game and seeing how other people interact (sometimes incorrectly) with the pieces.

The Meeples and Game Die were standard object available. I had to import the Game Character tokens as transparent PNG files so that they don't appear square. I was surprised to find that there was no standard coin. Do other games on their platform really not use one? In the end, I created a custom graphic for the coin, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

To make the game look more professional on Tabletopia you need to add a nice thumbnail. The standard formula is a thumbnail of the box with the background filled from the game itself. Since I have not received the prototype yet I don't have a box to photograph.

I found the website and was able to create a 3D render of the box (see picture). This gave me a rough outline. I opened this in Photoshop and manipulated the box art on top of it (to be trapezoid like the render).  This worked amazingly well.

In the future, tabletopia will support voice chat, but for now we all connect with Discord to talk to each other. Send me a message if you want to help playtest! I look forward to playing the game with you.


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