Conclave: A Multiplayer Asynchronous RPG That Brings Your Tabletop Anywhere

Geek Culture Kickstarter

Image by Natania Barron — Screen shot of Conclave by 10 x 10 Room

Our D&D group has been playing together for almost three years, and one of the hardest things for all of us is scratching the itch between Wednesday sessions. We’ve tried a lot of solutions over the years, mostly in the realm of text-based asynchronous forum style. But it’s usually hard for us to keep track and, more often than not, I’m the one who falls off the map by virtue of simply forgetting. Kind of amusing considering my first foray in to RPGs of any sort was text-based.

Anyway, when Michael (my husband and fellow GeekDad) told the group about Conclave by 10 x 10 Room, a web-based visual approach to asynchronous RPGs, my interest was piqued. Extra bonus? It works from any web capable device. Particularly appealing since I’m pretty busy these days with a four month old and six year old, and sitting down at the computer for any duration (especially reliably) is hard to come by.

My first impression was not surprising. I’m a visual person, and I was really impressed by the art in the game–it got me excited to play right away. They’re allowing beta play during the Kickstarter, and I really wasn’t expecting too much. It’s rare that you get a chance to play a game before the fundraising is over, and in this case it really helped us, as a group, see how great a tool it is. Having that extra visual edge made a huge difference for me initially, but it’s really the feeling of Conclave that’s got me signing in again and again.

They market it as tabletop for the web, and it really is that. With a chat window, top-notch art, great storytelling, and a satisfying upgrade/purchasing system, it combines all the best things about D&D that I love in a place I can access any time, any place. It even works great on my iPhone. What’s also nice is that there’s no need for a DM–the game actually runs itself, and the players all get to vote on partial outcomes. So it’s a little “choose your own adventure” in that sense, but in a very satisfying way.

I also enjoy the mythos, races, and story-lines. While there’s still a bit of pillaging from the canon (as we’d expect) there are enough derivations that make it fun and feel separate. It’s not simple stock fantasy with a Dragonlance-esque lineup. Personally, I’m playing a nix runecaster, which I find no end of fun.

Image by 10 x 10 Room – The Nix race, and a look at the art

The game is great on its own, but as Michael pointed out, it’s the sort of thing you wish Wizards of the Coast would straight out buy (and make these guys a pretty penny) to integrate with their intellectual properties. It would work wonderfully when party members move away or can’t attend, and could even supplement a regular tabletop campaign for some workweek gameplay. Another thing we’d love to see is total player customization, to run our own campaigns. It could, in that way, be the virtual tabletop WoTC has promised. The framework is already there!

The game is currently finishing up their Kickstarter, and they could use some extra backers to make their goal. They have some really cool stretch goals, but the proof is really in the lembas, as they say. Go and try it out yourself! It’s clear that the game is a labor of love, and they certainly deserve to see it come to fruition. If you’ve already played and like the game, please shout it out, let others know.

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