Is Tabletop Simulator Worth Your Time?
Howdy y’all JTJ here, been playing a few games of AOS on Tabletop Simulator. Here are my thoughts.
I will be honest and say I was a bit skeptical about playing AOS on Tabletop Simulator. I have heard mixed reviews from gamers about how “close” it was to real tabletop. However I finally succumbed to the itch to get an AOS game in. One of the primary driving factors in the decision to try out TTS was that I was at a painting crossroads. I have 2 different directions with my Tzeentch army, and the difference in the model count was very large. So I needed to try and test the different lists out before I started painting 100 more models. The only way that I could see me getting any real feedback on the list was getting some games on TS.
As of today I have only played a few games on TS. However I feel I have learned a substantial amount about the software and really feel that this platform in going to grow in popularity over the next few months as more and more players look to use it as a replacement for the real thing. I can really see more and more players using it as a tool to learn, play, and stay connected to the hobby.
I asked a few of the local Miniature Wargame organizers their thoughts TTS and this is the feedback they gave:
Ben Biddle is the primary Houston Star Wars Legion organizer he said, “Pretty good. Not quite miniatures but it is more than nothing. At least for legion it is simple enough to figure out after twenty minutes and a youtube. The physics can be wonky, and the functionality is huge, so sometimes you do things by accident and that can be frustrating. The Gird option is fantastic for objective placement and set up.”
Kyle Valdez, who runs the Grand Alliance Houston FB Group, and is in charge of the Hammerfest GT said, “TTS is the best way to keep up with playing AoS. Every part of the game can be done in there. Placement of models around each other takes some getting used to, but it’s overall an excellent way to scratch that itch.”
Andrew Fornea who is the local AOS orginizer at Atomic Hobby Shop in Spring said, “I think tabletop simulator is a great tool overall. Especially in these times of isolation. Being able to get games in with friends has been fun; better than the alternative of not playing at all. I don’t think it will replace in person AoS. I’d rather be able to roll the dice with my own hands. The measurements can be a little wonky and sometimes terrain or models have a big hit box collision so placing models in the sim isn’t 100%. Another good thing about the sim is being able to play test with models/units that maybe you don’t have, to see if they’re worth picking up and running in an actual game. My helpful tip is to be patient and try to learn the hot keys. At first glance things seem much slower and not as precise but once you figure out some of the movement tricks it’s not too bad.”
I agree in general with their assessments.
- Lots of maps and models “sprites”. I was able to find a model for everything I was looking for. The whole Tzeentch range, all the endless spells and my opponents had all the models they needed for their list as well.
- A very reasonable approximation of AOS. I am not going to lie and say it is just the same or better, however it is close enough.
- Measuring “can be” very exact. You can move models in a group easily. copy and paste is awesome.
- Saving games. You can have preset maps saved and ready. You can stop and save a game at anytime and pick back up on another day. This is probably one of the most useful aspects of the application.
- Multiple players. You can play 1v1, 2v2 3v3, and I have even seen some maps that have double boards so two games at one time. The possibilities are very open, Apocalypses anyone?
- Cost is not bad. $20 is the regular price, and it goes on sale often. I personally think it is worth the cost just to play AOS. “but you are talking to a person $45 on a single mini”. But if you factor in that you can play tons more game systems it is definitely worth the cost.
- The application can be used for 100 if not 1000s of different game systems. Besides Miniature Wargames, I would love to try and play Axis and Allies, being able to play a large board game like that over the course of a few sessions would be great.
- Content is user generated so it is consistently being updated. All the sprites, maps, and tools are always being improved.
- I think that there could be a few more tools that would help. I have not found objective markers with built in range rings, that are perfect. I am still looking for some auto dice rollers and things like that.
- It helps if players have a good idea of how the tabletop game works. I feel that it would be more difficult to teach a beginning player. They have to learn the AOS base game, their army “and you may not have their rules/be familiar with their armies mechanics”, and then they have to learn the software. It would not be impossible but seems much harder than in person.
- Both players need to be honest and flexible. Their needs to be a bunch of wiggle room for pilling in and some movement. I don’t see this being super great for hardcore competitive play, because of all the leeway the players have to give each other.
- Sometimes you delete models by accident and may not have one to copy and paste.
- the footprint/hitbox of some models is way to big.
- Measuring “can be off” at times.
- games seem to take a bit longer than normal, until you get the hang of the application.
- Help out with dice. If you or your opponent is rolling 100 dice help them pull out the misses or hits. It just save sooo much time. #trust
- Pre-save your lists. Don’t waist your opponents time with you having to copy and paste 10×20 units of marauders. Have your list with everything you need saved and just bring it in in one drop.
- Have game maps set up and save before the game. If you are running the game have the map ready. Have terrain out, and if the mission has be decided have deployments marked and objectives out. This alone will save 15 to 20 minutes each game. and once you have a map set up just save it and use it the next time you run that mission.
- When in doubt talk things out. “intent” is the keyword. State what you plan to do. That way your opponent knows what is going on just in case things get move.
- Remember to lock items not used. OBJ, Terrain, etc. should be locked down so it does not get moved.
- Use the drawing tool often. You can use it to mark deployment zones, max or minimum ranges, wounds taken, what units have activated, etc.
- I use Discord to chat with my opponents, if you do not use Discord I would recommend downloading it. Its free
Here are a few links that I found helpful when getting started with TTS, they are for 40k but everything applies to AOS:
Condensed, all you need:
Little longer with a little more info and thoughts:
I have set up a FB group for AOS players to meet up and get games on TTS going. The long term goal is to possibly run virtual tournaments.
Join up and get in some games!
Yes get it. If for nothing else it is great to play test an army you do not have. Or play test units you are trying to decided on painting. I think if you are training for a GT it is great, you could play top players from all over the world. I think about several of my wargaming buddies that have moved away and it would be great to play them on TTS at some point. Like I have stated it is not the perfect replacement for Warhammer, but it does have some useful qualities.
Thanks for reading, Y’all be good.