My siblings have been begging me to play Tabletop Simulator for ages. I never understood why because we have a large amount of board games at home already, as well as multiple decks of cards. We have Cards against Humanity, the basic pack, and I’m considering buying some expansion packs because of how much awful fun we’ve had playing that game. Tabletop Simulator seems like the sort of thing one would try if all your friends lived in a different country and you desperately wanted to play games together.
That’s exactly what it is.
Tabletop Simulator is a way to play various tabletop games in a virtual environment. It does succeed in doing that, but Tabletop Simulator is the sort of not exactly well polished game you expect it to be. While playing it feels like you’ve stumbled across something like Pretend You’re Xyzzy (warning, probably NSFW), the Cards Against Humanity clone. Nothing feels official. Everything feels ripped off. You feel like you’re doing something illegal. Are you? Maybe. Is someone potentially losing money because of this? Also maybe.
The rough around the edges is made even more obvious by the fact that most of Tabletop Simulator’s content is based on the Steam Workshop. There’s a huge amount of games and resources for you to use, which could come from anywhere. That being said, there is a HUGE amount of very good content, including the entirety of Dungeons and Dragons. So if you ever want to play Dungeons and Dragons but don’t have any real life friends who are interested, you could almost certainly get a bunch of friends online together and play it via Tabletop Simulator. If that’s nor your cup of tea, then Pathfinder and many, many more games are available.
There’s also plenty of rips of popular games like the aforementioned Cards Against Humanity, variations of UNO and pretty much anything you can think of. There are also a lot of unique and original games as well. You just need to have a look. On top of all that, there is also a lot of strange things. Like semi-functional LEGO and Connect One.
There are places where Tabletop Simulator shines, and places where it falls down. The biggest issue really how you control the game. The controls feel awkward and tedious.
I think the biggest problem is just seeing things in general. Dealing cards in particular can be a pain, since the cards in your hand can be either too large and in the way or too small to look at. Playing Uno was awkward as heck with large cards and too little space in your hand, but Exploding Kittens, the cards were all far too small to actually read. Cards and pieces also have the annoying habit of spinning around, and even though you can rotate them by hovering over them and holding E, it’s just awkward. Really, ‘just awkward’ describes the whole control system in general.
Oh, and you have to be very careful who you give permissions to. Table flipping is fun the first time. And sometimes the second time. But since it completely ruins anything you’re doing and only the host can revert it… well, just don’t be a dick about it, okay?
But despite its faults, Tabletop Simulator has oh so much potential.
Tabletop Simulator gets the job done, even if it is incredibly rough around the edges.