Enough prep! This post covers our first gaming session. In this post, I’ll discuss:
- Checking your EpicTable version
- Dealing with hidden opponents
- Tracking initiative without an initiative tracker
Before we go any farther, I have an award to pass out. My friend and EpicTable booth cohort, Jeremy, wins the award for “Most Out-of-Date EpicTable Installation”! While the rest of us were on beta 14, Jeremy was on beta 1. To put that in perspective, we were showing something between beta 10 and beta 11 at Gen Con. So this was way out of date. It had me reeling to see problems of a sort I hadn’t seen in months.
Now, this wasn’t entirely Jeremy’s fault. Beyond the fact that the bugs in beta 1 were, after all, my bugs, Jeremy actually had installed beta 14.
Here’s what had happened. Back around beta 4 or beta 6, the installer technology I was using wasn’t letting me do what I wanted to do, so I switched. I also made EpicTable 64-bit compatible. This was a change that the auto-updater couldn’t accommodate (the first in a series of such changes, which eventually led me to turn off auto-updates until I can replace the third party component I’d been using). As a result, everyone was instructed to uninstall and then install the latest EpicTable. I believe that was the only upgrade which required an uninstall. Since then, my instructions always tell you to just run the new installer.
Jeremy had missed a couple upgrades, so he also missed the bit about uninstalling his beta-1. This lead to his having both beta 1 and beta 14, and the shortcut he was using to launch EpicTable was launching beta 1. After my near heart failure at “beta 14” behaving like beta 1, we moved past that.
The moral of this story is: make sure you have just one version of EpicTable installed, and that it’s the one you think it is.
By default, EpicTable is installed in C:\Program Files\EpicTable. This is the case for both 32-bit and 64-bit machines. Early betas were installed under C:\Program Files (x86)\EpicTable on 64-bit machines. If you have this directory, just get rid of it.
I know some people who have installed EpicTable outside of C:\Program Files\EpicTable. That’s fine—just don’t get yourself confused as to which version you’re running if you end up with multiple versions on your machine.
Checking Your EpicTable Version
Inside EpicTable, you can check the version through the About EpicTable… item on the application menu. (That’s the little round button at the upper-left.)
From Explorer, you can select EpicTable.exe in C:\Program Files\EpicTable, (watch out—Windows, by default, hides file extensions, so you won’t see “EpicTable.exe”, just “EpicTable”), right-clicking and selecting “Properties” and then the “Details” tab.
Dealing with Hidden Opponents
One of the first combat encounters we had was in the cactus forest mentioned in the last post. In this encounter, we have an opponent that no one is very likely to see. There are all sorts of feature requests out there for handling scenarios like this—all variants of hiding and revealing tokens and other objects. I don’t have anything against these features. I plan to implement hide/reveal, but I haven’t yet, so what’s a GM to do? Well, it’s actually pretty effective to just create a private character, and then later drag them from the character gallery to the map. I know, it’s low tech, but it worked well for us. Of course, you have to deal with the fact that different characters see different things and now all the players see the new opponent, but I’ve never really had groups with much trouble separating player knowledge from character knowledge.
Tracking Initiative without an Initiative Tracker
This one was actually an innovation of one of the beta testers. I really want to add an initiative tracker (though that’s probably not making it into the 1.0 release). However, this works so well that it’s changed my thinking a bit—not about whether I want an initiative tracker, but about what I think an initiative tracker should be like. Because the tabletops and maps let you do essentially anything you’d do on a physical tabletop, one of the beta testers started dragging down additional tokens to the map—somewhere visible but away from the action—and using a coin or map pin to track whose turn it was. It’s ingenious in its simplicity. Here’s a screenshot of the “initiative tracker” we were using.
True, there’s a lot more that an initiative tracker can and should do, but I thought this was pretty clever. It certainly does the job. It’s kind of like Paizo’s Combat Pad, which lets you move wet-erase widgets around on a magnetized pad.
In addition to the map pin to tracking who’s turn it is, we’ve also used things like red stones to track wounds, and talked about other objects to track various conditions. It’s something my group intends to use until there’s an initiative tracker built in to EpicTable.
One thing this has taught me is that it’s really nice to have an initiative tracker that’s much more low-profile than what I’d been envisioning. I’d always assumed I’d leverage the portrait bar, but since using this, I want something much smaller and something I can move around freely and reorient with respect to horizontal vs. vertical.
This is one of a series of posts about the Legacy of Fire campaign I’m running for my old gaming group on EpicTable. For the background on this series, check out the original EpicTable Legacy of Fire post, or you can access the entire EpicTable Legacy of Fire series, where I’ll be discussing our game, how I prep, how I run the game, and all the interesting things we run into using EpicTable.