Using technology. Texting during gameplay.

A post over at Gnomestew got me thinking more about this issue. It’s pretty hard now not to have players looking at their phones during gameplay. Maybe they are bored or the story isn’t focused on their character; maybe they are just conditioned to continually check their devices. For younger players, multi-tasking with a smart phone is almost reflexive, but it can be distracting to gameplay, slow things down or work against the immersive experience of gaming.

We’ve always used post it notes during play: players send me spells they are casting, players talk to each other without the group knowing, I send players privileged info etc. Would text messaging facilitate these communications or does it take players out of the game? I’m thinking of trying it but feel that once I let that genie out of the bottle I won’t be able to put it back.

Interested in others thoughts and/or experiences with this.

4 Replies to “Using technology. Texting during gameplay.”

  1. I find typing on a mobile keyboard annoying. Or a tablet one for that matter. I only send a handful of text messages a year, so I’d hate to have to send multiple ones to actually play. On the plus side, people wouldn’t then have to try and read by, awful, handwriting.

    I find tablets can be useful for storing rulebooks on, but I do prefer printed if possible – it seems easier to flick through the pages.

  2. I would be really reticent to try this. I use notes and post-its as I can hop from written messages to quick diagrams and back on a scrap of paper. With a text style message I would find it slower to produce the messages and I would find them more restrictive.

    As I am typing this though I am thinking that it could be cool in specific genres of games. If you are playing in a modern setting, maybe something Sherlock inspired then sending players messages as and when their characters get the messages then that could be cool.

  3. I would be more inclined to run a PBFM (Facebook Messenger) rather than PBT.

    Logistically I could copy and paste prepared texts into the message more easily, add images and maps and include more people into the conversations if needed. I could also send and receive messages from any device. I have one of those swanky new laptops that is both laptop and tablet and I have a wireless keyboard/mouse and a 34″ screen plugged into it for when I am at my desk. The point is that what ever I am using I would have the entire history available to look back on. Texts tend to be held just on the one device.

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