Affinity Publisher and Tabletop Simulator: A dream combo for prototyping board games!

What are Affinity Publisher and Tabletop Simulator?

Affinity Publisher is part of the Serif Affinity suite, a competitor of Adobe and similar graphic design tools. Publisher is the direct rival to Adobe InDesign and helps with creating printing ready files – like magazines, flyers or other ad-material. But it also can be used to create board game rules, booklets and cards, as it is designed to handle exact sizes including print margins, bleeding and converting the output to manufacturing ready PDFs. The main reason for choosing Affinity Publisher is the very low one-time price compared to Adobe products (around 80 Euro for a standalone license of Publisher, with sometimes 50% off during special promotions and a complete pack including Photo and Designer, also helpful programs on their own).

Tabletop Simulator (TTS) is a tool to create and play board games in a virtual environment similar to sitting around a table. If you are familiar with 3D-shooter-games, you will directly know half of the controls. There are many competitors out there, but TTS is the current standard product that allows for most customization and has the biggest user base (see also the article about Tabletopia vs. Tabletop Simulator). The only downside is a one time payment of around 20 Euro/USD (sometimes 50% off during holidays and even cheaper in a 4 player license pack to gift to friends).

How to create cards with Affinity Publisher

First of all, you have to create the master page. This includes setting up the document to the exact card size you need. For example, make the document size 63 mm x 88 mm @ 300 dpi. Most manufacturers need a bleed of 3-5 mm (overprint in case there is some shifting within the printer) and a safe area (margin inside the card) of 3-5 mm. You will get all of these from your manufacturer. For importing cards into Tabletop Simulator, we do not need any bleed, but even if you include it right from the start, Publisher allows to not export the bleed area with a simple checkmark.

It is recommended to create different Master Pages for each different card design. If you have multiple card designs with a lot of cards, it might be helpful to create multiple documents, one for each card design.

As soon as the base sizes are set, import the base image for your card design into the master page (the background image) and at text boxes on top of the master page with all the different texts you want to have on top of the picture design. Set all font names, font sizes and sample text to your card with the most text and arrange everything as needed.

If you should have multiple cards with recurring text or images, you can copy these parts to different master pages: For example, if you often have cards with either a fire or a water symbol, this could be a Master Page named “Water”, which allows to easily make this a “water card” by simply assigning the Water master page to the page later on.

Now create as many pages as you have cards, assign all the master pages appropriately and change the text on each page to the card content (could also be automated using Affinity Data Merge Manager by importing from a CSV/Excel file, but I wanted to manually create each card).

Exporting Cards

As soon as you have all cards ready as single pages, you can already export them. You can easily export them as single JPG or PNG files to use with the Game Crafter (include bleed and full resolution JPG or use PNG) or export them as a PDF with each card on a page for manufacturers (make sure to set the correct PDF CMYK color space before exporting). Or export the cards as JPG with no bleed as “Screenshots” or to import to Tabletopia.

To export the cards for Tabletop Simulator, we need them as JPGs (make sure to use RGB, as CMYK-JPGs will crash TTS and will be a lot larger). Use the full resolution for now and export all cards into a sub-folder of your choice. Simply type any name and Publisher will automatically name all files the same with the number of the card as a suffix (…_1, …_2, and so on).

Tabletop Simulator card imports

TTS uses a special format to import cards with all cards per deck in a single file. This file can hold a maximum of 10 cards in 7 rows, so overall 10 cards per file (Tip: If your deck has more than 70 cards, simply merge multiple decks). Also, the whole file should only have a maximum of 4096×4096 pixels, otherwise TTS cannot handle the file anymore.

This means, we need to decide first, which resolution and how many cards we need. In my case, the cards have small text on them, so I decided to use the highest possible resolution with the most cards possible. If your game only has pictures, you can also use smaller resolutions.

Create a new Affinity Publisher file

If you used the Poker Size example, the exported JPG cards should have a standard pixel size of 745 px by 1040 px. If you use the full size, you can only put 5 x 745 cards side by side until you reach the limit of TTS (in this case 3725 pixels) with 3 rows of cards. As we want to import all 70 cards in one file, use a smaller resolution as you like, as long as the aspect ration of the cards stays the same and you can fit 10 cards side by side (so a maximum of 408 pixels on card width, which would result in 570 pixels height). In that case, we would set the width of the file to 4080 px and the height to 3990 px (7 rows x 570 pixels) @ 300 dpi. No bleed or margins are required on this file, turn off facing pages. Save this file as something like “TTS_Autofill” or similar.

Now select the “Data Merge Layout Tool” (should be on the left toolbar in Publisher) and create a box that covers the whole document size (4080 px by 3990 px). In the top toolbar, set the following settings:

Gutter 0px, Rows 7, Columns 10, Record Offset 0. The cell width: 408 px and cell height: 570 px should be automatically filled to this (if not, check your document or data merge layout sizes).

Within the Data Merge Layout Layer, we create one picture frame on the very top left in the exact size of one cell (408 px by 570 px). This should replicate the frame automatically to all other cells (visible in the preview on the left).

We need to leave Affinity Publisher for a moment and create a CSV-file (comma separated values file) of all the card pictures we exported earlier. As we only need to import one picture per line and no other values, we simply need to create the full path to each picture in every line, nothing else. To create such a file, you can use the following command in a cmd-window on Windows (after navigating to the correct folder with “cd C:\Foldername”):

dir /B /S > C:\AllCards.csv

After you created the file, open it with a text-editor (for example Notepad) and add a first line named “@PicLink” (You can name that whatever you like, but the @ needs to be there as a reference name for the column). You can also manually create such a csv-file by simply adding all card picture paths and the Column Name yourself. I just found that it is easier to get all the picture paths easier this way. Depending on your sort order in Windows you also might want to manually get the pictures named _1, _2, and so on to the front of the file (sometimes they are sorted together with _11, _12, …).

Sample File content:

C:\Game Folder\ExportedCards\ActionCards_1.jpg
C:\Game Folder\ExportedCards\ActionCards_2.jpg
C:\Game Folder\ExportedCards\ActionCards_3.jpg
C:\Game Folder\ExportedCards\ActionCards_4.jpg

Now go back to Affinity, click on “Document > Data Merge Manager” and select the “Add Data Merge Source” icon (looking like a new sheet of paper in the lower left corner). Select your newly generated CSV file, then select the checkbox next to “Preview with record” and close it for now or move it to the side.

Then click on “View > Studios > Fields” (on PC/Windows, Mac seems to have that under “Windows” or similar). This will open a new window with the available fields. Select the picture frame layer within your data merge layer and then double-click on the “Fields > Date Merge – Your.csv > PicLink” line. This will link the picture frame layer with the PicLink reference from the CSV.

By now you already should see a preview of your first card populated in all of the cells! Congratulations! If not, make sure that you followed all steps above. Publisher should automatically put the cards in into the correct size, even if you exported them at a higher resolution earlier, as long as the ratio fits. If something looks off (for example some larger white lines appear), you need to recalculate your pixel sizes or check if the picture frame is exactly positioned.

The final step is to go back to the “Data Merge Manager” (under “Document”) and click on “Generate”. This will take a moment and generate the complete new file. This file can be exported as a JPG. Keep the exact size, but you can play around with the JPG quality (in most cases, 70-80% is fine and reduces file size massively, in some cases you can even go down to 50%, depending on how small your text is and how the graphics look like). Simply discard this new file as soon as you have exported it, you can generate a new one whenever you like.


Whenever you change any of the cards, simply export the cards into the same directory (using the same export name without numbers will simply overwrite the existing files), then load the TTS_Autofill file, open the Data Merge Manager and click on Generate. As long as you do not change the JPG location, it will grab the correct files and generate your TTS file automatically. If you add or remove cards, simply add/remove them in the CSV file.

Within TTS, you can simply load the file as a card deck, specify the number of cards and click on import. Just make sure the back image has the same pixel sizes as one of your front images.


If you add more than 70 pictures in the CSV file, Publisher will simply create multiple pages after you generate the TTS file. You can export all pages at the same time and then import all files as a separate deck.

You can also point to non-existing files in the CSV file (for example “C:\Empty.jpg”) and Publisher will ignore this file, but keep the spot empty. With this you can easily fill complete decks of cards and then resume with the second deck of cards at the correct position.

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Dungeons of Doria: Prototype Unboxing

Another prototype unboxing? Didn’t we do that already? Yes, correct, there already was one some time ago. However, that was for the prototype produced by GameCrafter for the initial review-copies before the Kickstarter.

This current prototype on the other hand was created by Hopes Games for checking all materials, card thickness and if the print templates provided work as expected for Hopes.

There are a few small issues with the card prints and leftover guidelines, but overall the prototype looks great! There are two major things though:

  • The size of the box and the plastic tray that has been created are just too small to host the content of everything after it has been punched out
  • The plastic standees that have been delivered are too narrow for the standees to fit.

Both issues are being worked on to see if we need to increase box size or simply change the plastic tray.

Here is a full unboxing of the prototype:

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Dungeons of Doria: Kickstarter on 01 August

Dungeons of Doria will be crowdfunded via Kickstarter on 01 August 2022!
Subscribe to the Kickstarter page now to get notified when it goes live.

If you want to discuss the game, ask questions or even influence what the game should include additionally to what is already planned, head over to one of the following options:
Board Game Geek Forum, Facebook Group “Explore the Dungeons of Doria” or on the DoD Discord Server

There are multiple reviews online to get more information on how the game plays and what others think about Dungeons of Doria:

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Dungeons of Doria: Prototype Pictures

Just before the weekend I surprisingly received the prototype version from The GameCrafter, faster than expected. The website stated a manufacturing and delivery time of over a month, but apparently a few other orders were skipped or canceled.

Overall, the Prototype looks great and feels like a final board game. Game Crafter uses laser cutting for many things, so these components have some black soot around the edges that needs to be wiped off with a wet cloth – definitely some extra work, but not too bad. The box itself has a slight green color touch (not as visible in the below photo, can only be seen in daylight). Other than that, all components came out as expected and have great colors.

A few of the cards, standees and tokens have a small drift on front and back, but all is within usual parameters and does not look too off. Unfortunately, GameCrafter does not have the correct card size (we need Euro Mini for most cards, GameCrafter only offers US Mini). The US Mini cards are a bit smaller and therefore the cards look a bit like cut off at top and bottom, but all is visible and definitely usable for a prototype.

After a few smaller corrections and improvements, I will order two additional copies and send them out to the first reviewers. If you have any preferred reviewers that definitely should have a look at the game, let me know on one of these channels: sign up for the newsletter (you can also reply to the newsletter emails), like the Facebook Page (comment one of the posts or write via messenger) or give feedback on BGG or Discord.

Following you can see all images I made while unpacking the prototype and packing everything together after I cleaned all parts from the soot. Directly below you can see a few photos of the game and scenes like playing the game, further down in the second gallery you can see photos of all components (click on pictures for bigger versions).

The game box

The box with the prototype front and side art
Contents of the box as delivered by GameCrafter

The game scenes

All components

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Dungeons of Doria: “Grim Reaper” Scenario 1

Even though I am showing Scenario 1 of the Campaign “Grim Reaper” here, the spoilers are minimal, as most of the scenario are random and could work out totally different for you. The main spoiler here is the following, but also part of the scenario description before you even start the scenario (so you will know all this as soon as you read the scenario description):

Trapped when entering this dungeon, you are now being hunted by the Grim Reaper itself – it is slowly coming for the slowest character, moving at a steady pace of 5 squares per round. The Grim Reaper is depicted by a Poltergeist figurine, so if a Poltergeist monster is drawn, no Poltergeist is added as usual, but the Grim Reaper has an extra activation. Grim is not directly deadly, but with 4 damage that ignores armor, he can be a real problem quickly. As the last Room Tile, the one with a ladder is used – as soon this room is reached, the characters can try to escape using the old and wiggly ladder. The Grim Reaper starts on the same tile as the characters (the black figurine on the picture below). As characters we chose the Shield-Maiden (purple), Mage (blue), Adventurer (white) and Huntress (orange).

As we needed to move quickly and escape the reaper, the Adventurer quickly opened a door, revealing a room with large pillars, populated by a Gargoyle and 2 Mummies. The Gargoyle also showed that it was a Teleporter, glitching away 4 squares after every attack. Lucky for us, the Mage had a spell that specifically targets undead monsters – hopefully taking care of the Mummies quickly. The Adventurer (as quick as he was) could not really do anything (with weapons that could not penetrate any of their armor), so he focused on the treasure chests still available in the first room.

The whole group moved quickly into the new room to escape the reaper and killed the two Mummies. To possibly move further ahead of the Grim Reaper, the Mage opened another door – revealing a dead end with two Orcs. Nowhere to go here, so the group decided to ignore the Orcs for now and open another door to move ahead.

The Shield-Maiden opened the door and revealed a large room, expanding onto 4 Room Tiles (needed to rotate the dungeon a bit to fit better)! This large room showed a Vampire, 2 Goblins, a Skeleton and a Mercenary – and 2 Poltergeists, translating into an instant double activation for the Grim Reaper. Luckily the Huntress rolled a good defense both times.

The group decided to run and ignore the monsters, moving past them, then barricading within the room with the long corner. The Skeleton and the Goblin were quickly taken out, but the rest of the monsters were resisting defeat. So the group decided to open the next room and move on quickly before the Grim Reaper comes closer. This new room revealed only one other exit – hopefully the ladder out of this dungeon is close! The room was only occupied by a Slimecrawler, and the Adventurer took care of that easily.

With the Huntress being the fastest, she opened the next door to see where the dungeon leads us – only to reveal another dead end! Oh no, we are trapped now, with the Grim Reaper and all monsters coming for us! Our wager to run from the monsters did not pay off, now we need to fend them off and still find the exit…

Within the dead end, another Slimecrawler and a Goblin Archer waited for us. Two characters ran into the room to take care of these, while the rest took care of the upcoming horde running behind us. The plan is to lure the Grim Reaper in and then run around the well to find the exit ladder – and take care of a few monsters on the way if possible.

Unfortunately, while searching for treasure, the Adventurer triggered a Water Pit trap – directly loosing a few hit points due to drowning. As the Adventurer is not able to come out of the pit easily, the rest of the group comes into the same room to barricade against the monsters coming closer.

Again, the group decides it is better to simply run instead of taking care of all the monsters including the Grim Reaper. The Adventurer climbed out of the water pit himself without any help, so all are free to move out of the room.

The Huntress is quick enough and decides to attack an Orc. She is successful, but while defeating the Orc, she also triggered a Teleport Trap!

Her skills against magic traps are not high enough, so she is teleported onto another room tile and 2 additional monsters spawn. A Dark Mage and a Skeleton. The Dark Mage also is a Necromancer, directly spawning another Skeleton.

With the group being separated, we hold on to the plan and run as fast as we can to the Huntress. The Shield-Maiden blocks an attack from the Grim Reaper and then runs as fast as she can.

The Huntress ignores the Skeletons, and as the Dark Mage (using long-distance lightning attacks) moved away, the way is free to re-unite with the group. Unfortunately, this also allows both the Skeletons and the Dark Mage to attack the group, but with the attacks being distributed over the whole group, we manage to get away with a few bruises only.

With the Reaper directly behind us, we move around all the monsters and try to find the exit quickly – we do not see a chance of defeating all of them before the group is roasted by the Dark Mages lightning.

The Adventurer is the fastest, opening a new door, finally revealing the exit ladder – and a Troll Spearthrower and a Goblin Archer standing guard. We all move as close to the exit ladder as we can, possibly escaping the dungeon before the monsters are activated again.

Unfortunately, the Huntress is missing 1 Action Point to get out by herself, but with a little trick and some help from the Adventurer, she is able to make it within this round still. However, that means, the Adventurer has to climb out last, being attacked by most monsters near the exit. As the Adventurer has a lot of armor, the group decides to move out and use this plan.

The Shield-Maiden and Mage easily climbed out, rolling both successes on their target roll. Before the Huntress can try, the monsters attack, doing heavy damage on both the Adventurer and the Huntress. The Huntress then quickly escapes with the help of the Adventurer.

The Adventurer also tries to climb out – but only rolls a 4 and a 1 – overall 5, where a 10 was required. Unfortunately, the Adventurer is so badly wounded by now, that he passes out and becomes unconscious with the next initiative. The monsters get him and the scenario is lost, losing one character of the group. Running from the monsters was a gamble that did not pay out – without the dead end in the last room, we may have made it out pretty unscathed, but the random dungeon was the Adventurers death…

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Dungeons of Doria: November 2021 Update

In the last update we could see all the artwork for the characters. By now, a lot of additional artwork has been started, with more and more illustrations trickling in for the monsters of the game:

However, the remaining monsters will take until end of the year at least to be finished. This means, we still have to live a bit with weird monster shadows for some of them in the upcoming releases.

As one illustrator was not enough to tackle all the item illustrations in a reasonable time-frame (overall, around 300+ small illustrations were needed!), I employed two additional illustrators to get everything done. Here is a small mix showing all artists (Eric Quigley, Nicoleta Stavarache, Jes Cole):

Item Collection
Selection of the 300+ illustrations being created

While they look all a bit different, this is not a huge problem, as most of these will be shrinked down to fit small Euro Mini Cards and color corrected by myself to fit a general similar theme. The ones I like the most however will also go into the rule and campaign booklets as a bigger version.

Additionally, the map of Doria has been completed. Parts of the full map will be used within each of the campaigns, showing the locations visited:

Current map for the campaign “Power of the Elements”, showing the locations of the 8 scenarios. The order of scenarios 3.A-D can be freely selected by the players.

All of that together (maps, monsters, item illustrations) is going into the first official and complete prototype print run (though still lacking a few illustrations) . This will be ordered on Game Crafter, a Print-on-Demand-Service for board games. One full game will cost around 240 USD plus shipping, but is worth it to have a test-prototype to show around and possibly send to reviewers. More prototype copies will be printed later either by another manufacturing company or by Game Crafter depending on how the first looks like.

While GameCrafter has an extensive array of board game components (more than any other of the comparable services), a few of the components had to be tailored a bit more to Game Crafter, which took some time. But the result is a much more refined version of Dungeons of Doria, with new Character Mats, Score Pads for the Campaign and Character Sheets and especially a more “boardgamey” feeling Character Sheet (compared to the old, RPG-style one). The old character sheet (full page including cards and attributes) will still be offered as a download, but the complete game will come with the smaller ScorePad-version that removes the need to note down HP and similar things and allows to track them with tokens instead:

I really cannot wait to get the printed prototype, work out the last minimal problems and then order the final prototypes for the reviewers to send around!

And for anyone eager to try out the game: There will be a Christmas present in the December newsletter, so make sure you are subscribed!

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Dungeons of Doria: Current status

Dungeons of Doria is nearly ready to go – and still so far away. This week, the last of the character illustrations was finished (see all characters at the bottom of the page). The rules are mostly done (only small corrections needed), playtests are mostly done (the blind playtest groups need to finish their campaigns, which just takes time – especially when you cannot meet in person) and the digital releases are ready to be published (both Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator). So, what is still missing?

Character Standees for the digital releases

Just the artwork for monsters (starting this week) and the artwork for weapon- and armor-items. All of the monsters and items have a silhouette representation already in the game for the prototype (see pictures below). This means there is some representation to recognize the monster or item – but it does not look great. Getting 18 Monsters and 240 items illustrated just will take some more time. I do expect most of these to be ready for the Kickstarter, but the next steps have to work without the finished artwork.

All standees within the game (Tabletop Simulator) as of now

The main task ahead: a nice looking prototype has to be printed that can be sent to reviewers. The main files are ready for printing, but obviously I just want to wait on a bit more artwork for additional monsters to come in (currently 18 out of 19 have a black silhouette, see above picture). Most likely the printing process will start within the next 2 months, as soon as a nice looking box (another action item) has been designed and I have a decision on the printing manufacturer.

Unfinished (left) vs. finished (right) item artwork

As soon as a few prototypes are ready to be sent out, I will send them out to reviewers as a Kickstarter preview game. Before any of these reviews/previews (which will also take some time due to the type of the game) can go online, the Kickstarter page also needs to be prepared and approved by Kickstarter. When all of the above are ready, the digital releases will go online for EVERYONE to test the game – including a few single scenarios and a campaign sample, all available within Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator.

Full Game in Tabletopia

At the same time I will use the digital releases or one of the prototypes to create some small learning videos to show off the features in more detail.

There is still a lot to do, but I already have a few people on board helping out with smaller things. Still, this is mainly work on my shoulders. Most of this will be work “behind the scenes” and nothing major besides some artwork to show off for the next months. But I am still working on it and the road map is getting closer to the finish line!

Here is an overview of all the 8 characters:

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Tabletopia vs. Tabletop Simulator

Even before the ongoing pandemic I already used Tabletop Simulator (TTS) quite a lot, as I thought that this is a great way to quickly start a game with friends that are not local and still sit a round a table. After porting Dungeons of Doria into TTS I realized, that this is a great tool for prototyping and selecting the right components for your board game. If it is not a component in TTS already, do not use it – as a printer/manufacturer will also have problems with it…!

But up until then, I used TTS just for a bit of playing with remote friends and for quickly showing new designs. Shortly after, Tabletopia showed up, and I also started playing around with this tool and created my game there too. But since the pandemic started, all my game rounds (except for the ones with my wife and son) completely transferred to TTS. Why TTS and not Tabletopia? And why do I still update both TTS and Tabletopia, even though I like TTS more? Here is why:

First of all, TTS is (in my eyes) the better tool. It has more features, there is no limit in where or how much you upload and you can play anything you like with your group. But TTS has one small downside: It is a program for Steam that you have to buy for around 20 USD. And that is a high hurdle for people that just want to play a game from time to time – or even worse, just want to test your game design quickly. That is definitely the biggest plus for Tabletopia: Anyone with a browser can use it, and as long as you publish your game design not as a premium setup, everyone can use it without any cost. To use premium game setups, Tabletopia users have to pay around 5 USD a month. So, let’s say the cost is roughly comparable if you want to use it more often and with more games – though Tabletopia is a subscription model and that might end up higher than TTS after a few months.

But what about the other features?

Games offering

For the players the main differences will be how many games you can play. TTS for sure has a lot more games than Tabletopia, but most of them are created by fans as (in many cases) unofficial mods. This does not have to be a bad thing in general. But there are two problems: If you search for a game, you might find 10 different versions from different people with different features or in different quality. And when you found a good version, it would be best to quickly save it to your local saves, as this Mod might get pulled from the Steam Workshop as soon as a company does not like people playing the game on TTS. My personal opinion on this: Let people play and test it remotely – if they like it, they will also buy the real version. TTS also has nicer special paid/DLC releases of some board games from some publishers (for example Scythe and Zombicide), but on that front, TTS will get more expensive really fast, as every additional game costs money (though only one time and only for the owner). This only is worth it, if you really like a specific game and therefore play it a lot also in TTS. My recommendation to the makers of TTS – for these games, maybe an option like Tabletopias to pay a small monthly fee for all “professional made games” might be better?

So you can see where this leads: Tabletopia has better games, all professionally made by the authors or publishers themselves. You don’t have to search for the correct version, you don’t have to upload it yourself and if it is a premium setup, each creator/publisher will also receive a bit of money from Tabletopia (if you play it and have also a premium subscription). That might be the general reason, why Tabletopia is more preferred by bigger publishers.

Creating games: Steam Workshop vs. Tabletopia Workshop

TTS uses the Steam Workshop by default. While Steam is a downside for many people, it is a BIG plus for TTS creators: Just upload all of your designs files to the Steam Cloud of your account – you have a few Gigabytes at minimum (I believe 20 GB). That is a lot, even if you used some of that space already for game saves or video uploads in Steam. And if you don’t want to use Steam Cloud, just use your own webhosting space!

Tabletopia limits you in size on the free account with only 200 MB. If you only have very small card games, this should be enough to publish maybe 2 games easily including a few setups. But if you have a bigger game with a lot of cards, figurines and tiles, these 200 MB will get small fast. And setups also apparently cost you some space. I say apparently, as Tabletopia is very limited in showing you how much space you have used. You will get a warning when you approach or went over the 200 MB, but there is no way to find out, what the big consumers in your game are at the moment. You can easily extend this to 1 or even 5 GB, but that will cost you monthly subscription money. Money that you most likely don’t have before your game is published.

And then there is the publishing time in Tabletopia. Whenever you upload something, it goes into a queue. In general that is fine, and premium users are preferred. But sometimes, especially weekends, this queue is overwhelmed, and this one small update of one card in your game can take a lot of time until it is really included in your game setup. Definitely make sure to update everything a few days before a playtesting session and do not make any last minute changes! TTS is much better and faster about these things.

Card creation differences

Card deck creation has its downsides on both tools. I think Tabletopia is much better, if you only need to change single cards from time to time, as you can update the card, publish it and update all setups – done! But if you need to exchange the whole deck? This is a nightmare!

Therefore I still tend to like the TTS Deck creation a bit more. Yes, you have to create a big picture with all your cards first. But changing one or all cards in this picture is up to you, and you can just easily create new decks with a new picture. But having this “update item in all your mods” feature from Taletopia would be a dream in TTS.

Things that Tabletopia does right

Standees in Tabletopia always face the users eye. While it can be distracting and unusual at first, it allows you to see figurines always from the front. But apparently there is no feature to turn it off. So if you need figurines facing a direction, you’ll have a problem in Tabletopia. I also like how Tabletopia handles adding cards back to a card deck: When you hover over the deck, it will highlight the deck in orange to show you the card will now be added on top. TTS also does this, but does not show it. Throwing a card in TTS between two piles you will never know where it ends up – and in the virtual world, it is harder to aim…

I absolutely love the Magnetic Maps feature in Tabletopia a lot. With this you can create tiles, boards or anything else and influence the location and orientation of items on top of it. TTS has a very similar feature, but within TTS you have to create it on the tile itself within the game. In Tabletopia this is a much better process by creating it in your graphic tool one time and then upload it as many times you want. TTS asks you to redo it every time you update your tiles or re-create them.

Naming of items and other virtual tools

Tabletopia allows naming of items when you upload them – but this is never shown again. This is due to the fact that Tabletopia calls itself a “Gaming Sandbox” – play like in real life! TTS on the other hand (sometimes also called a sandbox) is much more an extension of a real table into the virtual world. TTS allows naming items, so when you hover over them, you see the name. You can even name all the cards in your deck and then search the deck to find a specific item easily. Tabletopia leaves you with exactly what you would do in real life: Search through the whole deck until you find the item. Even if you did not name the cards, going through a whole deck with TTS search is so much easier…

The only thing I am missing here in TTS too: Bulk naming cards or items while importing them. There are a few options with scripting, but this should be somehow included in the base import functionality (through a text file or similar).

Speaking of scripting: This is the one big point for TTS. Tabletopia does not offer anything to script. In TTS, you can create your own dice rollers, character sheets, even automate game setup and anything can be influenced. You could even create a game that basically plays itself (but who would want that?). And yes, while the scripting language is horrible and you need to be a programmer to really create something nice, it is a cool add on that Tabletopia does not offer and is really helpful in creating more advanced game functionality.

But there are more things that you can do in TTS: Make a item more transparent quickly to see what is underneath? Change the color? Or simply copy and paste items to get more of the same type if you run out? All possible in TTS and Tabletopia leaves you hanging with the feature of “feeling like a real game”.

User interface – easy vs. overwhelming

But all of that also has a (for myself minimal) cost: The user interface of Tabletopia is much more tidy and has a lot less distractions than TTS. You can do less in Tabletopia – but what it can do, it can do in a good way. For example counters: Right click it and select how much you want to add or subtract from the counter. Cards: Draw 1, 3 or 10? Right click and select the amount. All of these things are also possible in TTS, but less out of the box and Games must implement a few of these via scripting themselves. I am missing this radial right click tool from Tabletopia in TTS – but the advanced tool and features I miss much more in Tabletopia.

The conclusion

For me as a designer, TTS is the much better solution, allowing a lot more flexibility in designing components and even uploading as much content as you like. As a publisher, I can understand why Tabletopia is preferred, but would recommend for all the publishers out there: Also create your game for TTS and ask Berserk (the TTS makers) to change their model so you like it more (I imagine something like a category “Games created by the publishers/designers for 2 USD a month” or similar).

As a gamer: I still prefer TTS for all the content I made myself. And I love checking out games in the workshop before I buy them. For me this is like hearing a song on the radio: If I like it, I will buy the CD. So, my recommendation to publishers would be: Let players test it out and make sure the best version is out there by creating it yourself (instead of the multiple copies by several users created to just be able to play the game remotely).

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Dungeons of Doria: Kickstarter für Dungeon Tiles

Der erste Kickstarter für Dungeons of Doria ist nun freigeschaltet und live: Kickstarter: Dungeon Tiles for P&P and VTT

Man kann im Kickstarter 48 Dungeon Room Tiles erwerben, die man entweder für offline Dungeons selbst ausdrucken kann (Print&Play) oder in virtuellen Tabletop-Systemen nutzen kann (z.B. Roll20 oder Astral-Tabletop).

Man kann die einzelnen Room-Tiles entweder direkt als einen fertigen Dungeon “zusammenpuzzeln” oder einfach als zufälligen Dungeon nutzen, indem man das ganze als Random-Deck nutzt.

Alternativ kann man auch die Map-Assets erwerben, um komplett eigene Räume und Dungeons zu erstellen:

Mehr Informationen findet ihr im Kickstarter-Projekt.

Der Kickstarter richtet sich vor allem an Fantasy-Rollenspieler, die oft in Dungeons unterwegs sind. Dennoch unterstützt man dabei auch das bald kommende Brettspiel Dungeons of Doria, denn alle erreichten Ziele und Fundings gehen direkt in neues passendes Artwork!

Das ganze kann außerdem als Auftakt gesehen werden, denn mindestens ein weiterer Kickstarter mit passenden Print&Play Helden und Monstern wird folgen – mit der Möglichkeit, das aussehen der Helden und Monster zu bestimmen, die später in das Brettspiel übernommen werden.

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Dungeons of Doria: Zeitungsartikel Offenbach-Post 18 Nov 2019

Leider komme ich erst jetzt dazu, endlich mal alles zu sortieren und einzupflegen. Im letzten November (2019) war DreieichCon und ich war vor Ort mit zwei Spielrunden “Dungeons of Doria”. Während einer der Spielrunden hat die Offenbach Post ein paar Fragen gestellt, aber dass wir dann gleich als Aufhänger an den Anfang des Artikels und auf die Titelseite kommen hätte ich nicht gedacht!

Titelseite der Offenbach Post vom Montag, 18. November 2019

Die Situation wird brenzlig im dunklen Verlies: Die Monster werden gefährlich, aber die Gruppe rund um den Tisch in der Stadtbücherei will sich den Schatz nicht durch die Lappen gehen lassen.

Magier Julian Menz (13) nutzt seine Zauberkräfte und wirft einen Feuerball: Gefahr gebannt. Leider hat er dabei den Barbaren von Kevin Pelikan verletzt. „Das macht nichts, ich habe noch 13 Leben“, sagt dieser.

Schon seit dreieinhalb Stunden brütet die siebenköpfige Spielgruppe über den Abenteuern der „Dungeons of Doria“ von Spielleiter Viktor Ahrens. Mit Julian Menz und Jonas Rein (15) sitzen zwei Teenager aus Gießen am Tisch, der Spielleiter kommt aus dem Rodgau und ist seit vielen Jahren aktiver Besucher der Dreieichcon. Für den Offenbacher Kevin Pelikan ist das Rollenspieltreffen in Dreieich hingegen eine Premiere: „Es ist großartig, hier zusammen zu sitzen. Wir wissen nie, was passiert, decken zufällig Karten auf und entwickeln die nächste Strategie, um die Schätze zu heben und die Monster zu bekämpfen“, erläutert er seine Begeisterung am Rollenspiel.

Aus dem Artikel der Offenbach Post, auch online verfügbar (op-online)

Ich hatte sehr viel Spass beim “leiten” der beiden Runden und zuzusehen, wie die Gruppen die Szenarien lösen ist immer wieder faszinierend. Jede Gruppe geht etwas anders vor, und es ist immer wieder spannend, ob sie es rechtzeitig und heil schaffen. Vor allem fand ich es toll, auch mal jüngere Spieler dabei zu haben. Dungeons of Doria bekommt damit die Altersfreigabe 12+ von mir 😉 Wer jetzt Lust hat, das ganze auch mal zu testen oder das Spiel irgendwann haben möchte, kann hier aktuelle Runden und Möglichkeiten finden und sich unter in den Newsletter eintragen.

Ausserdem hier noch ein Foto mit freundlicher Genehmigung aus der Galerie des DreieichCon-Fotografen Roger Murmann.

Foto von Roger Murmann

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