A Heroic Death is one of our more complex games in terms of moving parts – it has superpowers and hidden identities and specific locations. So we never thought it would be a candidate for online play during coronavirus lockdown.
How wrong we were!
Eve Bennett successfully ran A Heroic Death with her friends spread across three cities, two in France and one in the UK (and with seven different nationalities, so a real international mix).
Technical stuff – Zoom, Slack and a dedicated app
“Similarly to what someone described in a previous blog of yours, we used Zoom, but we used the breakout rooms function to represent the different rooms in the superheroes’ base (according to the plan provided with the game).
“So players could go to different rooms to have private conversations. For the items and abilities, my partner (who’s handily a software engineer) created an app that functioned as a virtual wallet for each player (see photo).
“We also set up a private channel on Slack (see example below) for each player with them and us, the two hosts, which they used to tell us when they wanted to move to a different room or use an item or ability or get stuff from, or leave stuff in, one of the bedrooms.
“Here’s the document that we sent to the players to explain all the virtual game mechanics in full.” (Note – this is an MS Word document that will download if you click on it.)
I believe that Zoom’s breakout rooms function is only available with the paid version – but if you are technically minded there are other options such as Discord.
So how did it go?
“It was a really great evening and everyone has been telling us how much they loved it and how it was the most fun they’d had in weeks.
“However, it was pretty hectic for us hosts, even with two of us! It’s a shame that the players had to rely on us to move them to different rooms as it was hard to keep on top of that as well as the items, abilities, hangover cures, etc. But we managed, more or less!”
Eve did later say that if she were doing it again she would set the game space up using lots of Google Hangouts (as Peal described previously) as using Zoom meant that the hosts had to move everyone in and out of the breakout rooms.
“In this photo you can see all the participants. You can probably guess who’s who, but just in case, from left to right…
- Top row: Hosts 1 & 2 (we went for a Red Dwarf reference as the Host is supposed to be a hologram!), Miguel (in his cleaning supplies cupboard), InvisoGirl.
- Second row: Shaman, Puss, Bloody Mary (actual bloody mary made with passata as she couldn’t find tomato juice not pictured), Ice Queen.
- Third row: Masked Crusader, WhizzoGirl (who kept styling her hair and reapplying makeup throughout), Doctor Robot (Head and) Neck, S.
- Bottom row: The Russian, Captain Amazing! (underpants over tights not pictured, but we did catch a glimpse at one point!).
“I’d told everyone not to worry too much about costumes, but as you can see they made an amazing effort in the circumstances!
“So thank you very much to all at Freeform Games for keeping us thoroughly entertained for an evening (and longer in the case of us hosts)!”