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A guide to virtual paper TCG gaming

As COVID-19 makes its way across the world, it is affecting and changing our everyday lives in many ways. Our hearts go out to all the people, businesses and communities who are affected by this global pandemic. Here is a way to tackle this new environment and get playing remotely!

Requirements:

  • Wifi connection – min requirement 5-10mbps

  • Smartphone or external webcam – to film/stream the top down view

  • Laptopto view your opponent’s boardstate

  • Light source(s) – for your opponent to see your board (be careful of glare)

  • Table & chair – to be comfortably set up!

  • Some kind of top-down rig – to hold your phone or webcam above the table/desk (we have a lot of examples here)

  • Recommended: Headset with mic – to be able to hear and speak to your opponent

    Depending on which setup you chose to use: You may need both a phone (or tablet, or webcam) and a laptop / desktop. Your phone will be used as a “top-down” camera while your laptop screen will enable you to view your opponent’s Battlefield.

    Remember to mute one of your two devices to avoid audio feedback / reverb!

    Make sure your devices are charged! Video calling drains the battery so maybe plan to have your devices plugged-in.

    I’m going to show you a few ways you can set up your space for virtual TCG game-play, but you may need to make your own adjustments too as there is no one-size-fits all solution.

Recommended conf-call platforms:

logo_google hangouts

GOOGLE HANGOUTS MEET – requires 1 player to have a G-Suite license. We will supply these during organized play hosted by the store.
Click HERE for Android or HERE for i-Phone devices

logo_ms teams

MS TEAMS – requires 1 player to have an MS Office license
Click HERE for download options.

logo_zoom

ZOOM – requires an account and is chargeable after 40mins if there are more than 2 participants.
Click HERE for download options.

There are many more conf-call platforms too:

  • Skype, BlueJeans, Discord, UberConference, & more

Which conf-call system you choose use will depend on a few factors: If you just want to play 1v1 with a friend, you could very easily use Skype. If you’re playing multi-player games Commander (recommended no more than 4 per pod), you’ll need an option like BlueJeans, Google Meet, MS Teams.

I personally love Google Meet because its easy to set-up and use, but you may want to research and see what works for you and your friends. 

For more information about activities organised by Battlezone, check out out FB page!

Tips for successful gaming video-calls:

Become familiar with the conference-call service Conference call services vary. Each service can offer different features and tools, particularly interactive features such as hand raising, polling, whiteboards and more. Before you begin a conference call, spend some time researching the service and learning its features. Many services allow an operator to sit in on the call to make sure things run smoothly. Also, it is a wise idea to go over certain commands and features at the beginning of a conference call to ensure that everyone on the call can participate.

Be punctual Just like any other in-store activity, it is important that you arrive early. Dial into the call a few minutes early. If you wait until the last minute, you may encounter technology issues that can take time to fix. Being punctual to your games is also another way you can be prepared and ready to participate – it’s also respectful of your opponent!

Be aware of your location Your location is critical during a conf-call. If you are in a loud area, you may have a difficult time hearing the conversation over the phone line. Additionally, you will want to seclude yourself from others. Also, if you use a microphone or speakerphone, be aware of its location and surroundings. You want the device close enough that it picks up your voice but far enough that it won’t pick up every little sound you make. Additionally, be aware of lighting.

[Source: https://www.business.com/articles/10-tips-for-a-successful-conference-call/]

Camera rigs: DIY Examples by some of our friends

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SPOTTED! Our home-grown YouTuber Dante ‘The Snake’ MTG Games – Like & Subscribe!

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Desired result:

  1. The cards are clearly visible. Though you might not be able to read them, you should be able to recognise them and always ask your opponent if in doubt.

  2. All areas of the Battlefield are visible. While the use of dice is great, this solution is effective! Maybe even have a small whiteboard?

  3. When you are playing, announce your steps and plays verbally, this will make things clearer in the absence of visual clues.
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Conclusion:

I feel it’s worth noting that there is no ‘right’ way to do this, only the best way for you. The idea if for it to be convenient, quick and easy for you to be able to pursue your hobbies and keep in touch with your friends and fellow gamers.

There are solutions for all price ranges and levels of aptitude. You could spend a lot of money on a professional grade setup – or – you could use a cardboard box!

If you are under 18, remember to ask for help from an adult in your household to use any power tools, glue or knives, or make any online purchases. Note that home delivery services may be slower than usual in the coming weeks.

Remember this isn’t a permanent solution, but it will help pass the time and make self-isolation that much more bearable – with your friends and hobbies by your side 🙂

Reminder of our Code of Conduct:

Remember just because we’re not at the store, doesn’t mean the basics should not be respected.
Be a good sport – and friendly company for your opponent!

PUT FUN FIRST – Competition is a part of our games, but win or lose, we keep it friendly, respectful, and fun.

WELCOME EVERYONE – Our community includes a range of diverse people. No matter who sits down at the table with us, we make them feel welcome.

KEEP IT CLEAN – We’re all caretakers of the game experience, and that includes the spaces we play in. Each of us should help maintain a clean and safe environment for all.

FOLLOW THE RULES – We uphold all event and games rules in order to create an experience everyone can enjoy. If you have a rules question, simply call a Judge or contact a staff member. 

THANK YOU FOR STAYING HOME & STAYING SAFE

Special thanks to those who helped me prepare this guide:
Tech support by Emir, Sebastian, Saagar. Mishal & MoMo for their help and advice.
DanteTheSnake, Glen & Paul, Nadim & AbdulHaseeb & more for their inspirational web-cam rigs!

Disclaimer:
All other images found browsing the internet, which may be subject to copyright.


Meanwhile in case you miss us and being at the store you can visit us in 360 by clicking HERE! 🙂

Looking forward to seeing you all very soon!

APPENDIX: a few more examples

Here you’ll find more variety of examples from the web, most of these can be ordered from Amazon or other sites like Ali Baba, noon, etc

But to be honest I firmly believe that any of us can make a home-made rig without having to buy anything.
Time to get creative 🙂

Camera rigs: cool examples from the web...

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Examples from in-store at BZ & a MagicFest in Japan 🙂

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