July 20–24, 2015
Portland, OR

Rolling dice alone: Board games with remote friends

Tim Nugent (Lonely Coffee)
5:00pm–5:40pm Wednesday, 07/22/2015
Design D139/140
Average rating: ****.
(4.62, 13 ratings)
Slides:   external link

Prerequisite Knowledge

None, knowing how cards and dice work would be a boon.


Board games are hard at the best of times – you have to find a bunch of friends who have the free time to play, find a game everyone is happy to play, and make sure the game can be played in the time you’ve all got free. When friends leave the state you live in and move elsewhere, things get even harder!

Last year, I presented “My Friends Keep Leaving and it is Ruining Board Games Day”, where I summarised the state of telepresence board gaming: highlighting the problems involved in it, and reporting on some of the efforts in progress to make it better.

In this year’s follow-up session (no prior knowledge or attendance needed), I will:

  • provide an update on the state of telepresence board gaming (spoiler: it hasn’t really changed much);
  • demonstrate and discuss a VERY work in progress system I have been developing over the past year which explores telepresence board gaming for the grid and dice based Zombicide game;
  • explores, in detail, the technological challenges of telepresence gaming, including: replicating the camaraderie and excitement of in-person gaming, keeping board games in sync when playing remotely, create and shuffle random elements, such as card decks, and how to play effectively without investing a fortune in a multi-camera environment.

Attendees will get a detailed understanding of the current state of tele-presence board gaming, with a deep-dive of the specific issues (which are deeply relevant to many forms of remote collaboration, not just board gaming), and an overview of one potential solution in-development by the presenter. Learn how you can help, what needs work, and why you should care about remote collaboration through gaming.

Photo of Tim Nugent

Tim Nugent

Lonely Coffee

Tim Nugent pretends to be a mobile app developer, game designer, PhD student and now he even pretends to be an author (he co-wrote the latest update to “Learning Cocoa with Objective-C”, “Swift Development with Cocoa”, and the upcoming “Kerbal Book” for O’Reilly). When he isn’t busy avoiding being found out as a fraud, he spends most of his time designing and creating little apps and games he won’t let anyone see. Tim spent a disproportionately long time writing this tiny little bio, most of which was trying to stick a witty sci-fi reference in, before he simply gave up. Tim can be found as @The_McJones on Twitter. He is, obviously, an avid board game player.