Online Play

Dice Masters is best in-person, no question, but since it is still a rather young game, not everyone has a regular scene in their area. Even for those who do, it can be fun to play people from other regions to experience a wider variety of playstyle and general team meta. This page is to collect the knowledge on how to play Dice Masters with another person via video chat.

Software

Really, pretty much any video chat software will do - the only major requirement is that both people have the same application. That said, there are a few choices that tend to be more common:

Google Hangouts - this one is probably the most popular, partially because of the ubiquity of Google but also because it easily allows for spectators since more than 2 people can join.

Skype - this is another popular program that most people have and is very easy to use.

Facebook Messenger - since often times people are arranging their online games via Facebook Groups, sometimes it's easiest to just stay in the Facebook ecosystem and use their video chat platform.

Setup

This is typically the most intimidating part of people who are thinking of dipping a toe into playing online. How do I do it? Do I need to drop three figures on an elaborate setup of complicated equipment? The short answer: no.

The simple

The very simplest way I've found to play is just a tablet device with a rear facing camera and a case that allows you to sit it at a slight angle (which is most cases). Set it on the table just as you would if you were about to surf the net or write a message, then put your playmat behind it. When you play, you'll be able to see your opponents mat on the screen in front of you, and you'll just have to reach around the table to roll your dice on your mat.

With this setup, you will probably have to move your dice around when you attack so that your opponent can better see which dice you are attacking with. Overall, though, a super simple way to try out online play, and almost everybody whom you would play against will be patient and helpful, especially if you tell them it's your first time.

The advanced simple

This is one step above the simplest approach. It is still super simple, but solves most of the slight annoyances of the above setup (like having to reach around your tablet). The main catch is that this approach requires Google Hangouts or some program that allows more than two video sources.

Set up your mat on your desired surface, and then take your smart phone and position it above the mat pointing down. This is the only "advanced" part of this setup, as you'll need some way to do this. I do it by using a wire box shelf from Target - I just put the wire box over the mat and put the phone on top, with the camera pointing through a hole. You can also do it with a mount of some kind, or maybe by just setting the phone on a stack of your other board games.

Of course, you still need to see your opponent's board - that's where Hangouts comes in. You just connect to the video share via one of the other screens you have lying around: tablet, laptop, desktop, whatever. Just make sure you mute both the audio and video on this screen so you don't create a feedback loop that will ruin everyone's day!

While the Rube Goldberg setup certainly works, I eventually one of these to make it easier. For $11, it's a pretty easy and low cost way to play online and works great: Universal Cell Phone Holder.

Here's the full setup (without the phone in the holder, 'cuz I needed it to take the picture!)
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The medium

This one is typically the easiest to use and makes the most sense as you're playing, but it requires the investment of a web cam. That's not a huge cost, but if you're just starting out you'll probably want to try one of the methods above to see if this whole thing is for you. Once you're hooked, then you can invest in a decent webcam.

Setup is pretty simple, just point your webcam at your mat and you're pretty much ready to go!

Webcams such as the Logitech C270 hit a nice balance between cost and quality of video. Due to many internet connections, you will need to describe what faces all the dice are on anyway, so having the newest 4k UltraHD 3D professional camera doesn't do any good if your upload (and your opponent's download) can't maintain the image.

This Desk Clamp Mount was recommended by one of the Double Burst guys as a good, cheap option to hold your webcam.

The advanced

This level is mostly for power users, so I won't go into detail here. If you want to learn, you'll just have to seek out an expert and become their apprentice. For the average user, this level really isn't necessary, this is more for people who might want to record the match for later viewing, or for a TO or store running a Twitch stream or something in which they want to put up graphics with life totals and teams and such. You can see an example of this on Zack and James's YouTube channel.

Tips and Tricks

-- Level Up: it's always easy to see the individual stats on dice, so some people arrange their characters in three rows in their field zone:
Top Row = Lvl 3 characters
Middle Row = Lvl 2 characters
Bottom Row = Lvl 1 characters and sidekicks

-- Picture (or link) is worth 1000 words: even with the best cameras, it can be difficult to see the text on the cards. Sending your team in advance can help avoid constant questions like "What globals do you have again?" or "Which Cosmic Cube is that?" You can create your team on Retrobox or Dice Masters Decks and send the link, or you could just take a closeup picture of your team and send that.

-- Bring BAC up: have extra colors of Basic Action dice on hand, in case you want to buy your opponent's BACs.

Join us!

Other resources:

True Mister Six's blog post detailing his setup.
The Double Burst team discussed this on their podcast.
DM Armada's "How to Play Dice Masters Online" YouTube video.

Whatever level you are at, playing online is tons of fun. You get to actually meet and play with people who you may have seen online, and you get exposed to new and creative teams and play-styles. Come join us!

Here are some of the ways you can connect with other users looking to play online games:
Discord chat
Dice Masters Online Facebook Group
Dice Masters Unlimited
PDC Slack
Dice Masters with Zack and James

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