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Tabletop Simulator. What’s Good

So say I was buying this to solo a hard maths space game, what other board games have great recreations on TTS?

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I can only remember trying:
Kingdom Death: Monster (buggy, fiddly, eventually gave up on it, but a good way to try it cheaply)
Mage Knight Board Game (Vassal is better)
Pax Pamir 2 (Vassal is better)
Glory to Rome (simple, seems to work, not had a chance to play a game with it yet)

I bought it, flipped the table and have since had less than 0 free time to see what you can do with it.

I do know, however, there are some people who have created Empire Builder and some of the other crayon rail games in the workshop; I’ve been meaning to check those out.

TI:4 is really good on TTS, and even has a dedicated and really active Discord and community.

AEGIS is good too.

That’s all I’ve touched.

There’s a very good version of Gloomhaven on it, with Issac’s permission, and there are some good Formula D tracks too.

Many of the best games don’t try anything complicated, they merely give you the board(s) and the pieces, perhaps a script that lets you choose the number of players and lays out the board for you and the physics engine does the rest. Of course that means you need the rulebook and the same discipline to follow them as you would if it were a physical game, it’s surprising how much harder it seems to be in virtual space! Most games with minis replace them with standees too. There are some attempts at deeper scripting (Imperial Assault, I’m looking at you) which if the script goes wrong breaks your game. Avoid these, go for a less convenient version that lets you take over manually in the event of an error.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll download a couple of versions of the game you want to play, delete all the scripts, wish they did something better and scan in your own assets to replace them. Unless it’s a deck of cards, it takes about 2 minutes. Nothing is locked unless they’ve tried to script a game, (and those are few and far between) the download really is just a bunch of scanned in stuff laid out ready to start a game in nearly every download, not a lot to go wrong really.

Just to test, I grabbed a random game from my shelf to find a copy of on the workshop:

The game I grabbed was Mice and Mystics, and my search turns up this:

There seems to be three English versions available, I’ll grab all three of those, a couple of packs of paper figures, I’ll grab those. You can see, some cheeky so and so has also uploaded the rules. Most of these uploads are tolerated because they withold the rulebooks, meaning you really need the game to play them. You can of course find pdf’s and load them into your game, but that, for me is a step too far into the grey area, my personal choice is to stick to games I own and can use my rulebooks for.

Loading the “Clean Setup” version, we find:

Some of the tokens are distinctly lower quality than others. I would probably replace the Elite Rat Warrior texture with my own scan, but plenty of people wouldn’t bother.

Apart from that horrible grid, this looks fine. No need to look at the others. Let’s fix the grid first:
Options > Grid: Deselect “Show Lines”

That done, we can see we have flat counters for your mini’s. Let’s import those standees we downloaded:

Hmm… I’m probably going to stick with the counters. Some games you get fantastic fully 3d modelled mini’s. These are flat, so useless from above:

I’m calling that done. Delete the unused standees and invite the players! 5 minutes tops.

That is how simple and easy it can be. The problems always come when someone has tried to script something to make setup or busywork more convenient and it goes wrong.

But without scripting, the interface is horrible!

Of course, this just leads me back to using Vassal instead (where “scripting” is reliable and far more extensive).

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WASD to move your camera around, shift + nums to set your own custom cameras. Click and drag to move physical stuff, r to shuffle a deck and f to turn a card over… what more could you really get from scripting?

Just to take one example:
End of turn in Mage Knight. Do I prefer to:
A) click a button
Drag a card left
Drag a card left
Drag a card from a deck to fill the newly empty slot
Drag a card left
Drag a card left
Drag a card from a deck to fill the newly empty slot
Pick up and shake a die, put it down
Pick up and shake a die, put it down
Pick up and shake a die, put it down
Pick up and shake a die, put it down
Flip over a board
Drag every card in my hand, discard, and board to deck, pick up and shake the deck, put it down
Drag a couple of tokens back off some cards
Probably some more stuff I forgot…
All while fannying about panning and zooming all over the place.

Automation is soooo important to me when a cursor is my only means of manipulating a game.

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I guess I’m just not looking to turn a board game into a video game, I like how close to replicating the tactile nature of games that TTS gives you, especially in VR. I like the suspense of drawing a card, positioning it in your tray and turning it over. I like the “fannying about” - that’s not to say that I don’t completely understand your point, if that’s what mage knight does after each turn then I completely understand the desire.

Worth pointing out though that you, (presumably because you didn’t know) have drawn out your TTS list into the longest, most obscure way of doing things, using novelty features like “shake to randomise” rather than the normal way of doing things - using keyboard shortcuts and bounding boxes, which (and I’m not familiar with Mage knight) I think could cut your list into about 4 entries.
For example, I think if your cards are all being dragged left, you could select them all and drag them left in one go, cutting three entries. I think you could roll all your dice in one go at the press of a button, cutting another three entries, and all of the shaking. If you’re using your set up cameras, why would you be panning and zooming “all over the place”.

However, it’s still more than “press a button”, I agree! I suppose in Vassel, you press your button, then do all the panning and zooming to see all the results of the things it’s just done?

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Well, for me dragging a bounding box is an extra step, and a potentially fiddly one, so it’s not much of a saving for a lot of cases. I’m sure I could get more proficient if I learned all the keyboard shortcuts and set up camera angles, but really I think I merged as many steps as I duplicated, and I didn’t deliberately choose any obscure or long methods - just the ones I default to because I don’t know any better (and a single drag 2-4 times is more immediate to me than lining up the camera just right, dragging a bounding box, and dragging as a group).

Vassal is just as fiddly without automation, that much is true. For me, the two main advantages are more and better automation and the ability to keep (nearly) everything in view without panning and zooming.

This isn’t a pissing match between two engines though - if you prefer the 3D interface, there’s no competition, and the same is true if you prefer a 2D one. I only wanted to say that for me, a high level of automation is essential to my enjoyment, otherwise I get annoyed with the limitations of the interface - you can do a lot more a lot faster with two hands in real space.

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Sorry if that came across snarkily, it was not intentional - straight back from an energetic holiday (4x4 off road camping trek) and went protesting and I’m very tired and all “debated” out! No bad feelings here and nothing inferred was meant!


Spent some cash, had a go, and all seems quite intuitive.

Mainly using it for leaving Earth. Isn’t there a kingdom death recreation? That sounds mad.

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Having had a play I can confirm it is a virtual tabletop. Little automation, but I think that’s part of the charm. :grinning:

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