Want a quick game in the break room? Run a game session from your smartphone!
Modern technology has revolutionized many aspects of everyday life, and – since it’s a slightly geeky hobby – tabletop gaming was one turf very quickly invaded by the latest in mobile computing devices – the telephone.
In this article, Melanie Gray – a specialist writer in the smartphone field – gives us a rundown on the latest and greatest apps for use in tabletop gaming…
1. WordPress (iPhone/Android)
WordPress is the highest-quality free blogging client out there, but it’s also a good way to manage your campaign notes. With customizable privacy settings and quick search and archiving, you can access monster data, story notes, and other private DM stuff, while sharing adventure records, magic item info, and rule data with your players. By keeping your game data on a WordPress account, you can play anywhere within your T-Mobile wireless coverage with your storytelling tools at hand.
2. Sylloge’s D&D Compendium (Android)
If you have access to D&D Insider, Sylloge’s D&D Compendium puts every monster, power, ritual, and magic item at your fingertips, along with special rule information and flavor beyond the contents of the main rulebooks. With all that information at your disposal, it’s easy to flesh out a new adventure, villain, trap, or campaign, even if the idea comes to you in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. While it isn’t intended to be a stand-alone app, Sylloge’s D&D Compendium is a must-have for anyone subscribed to D&D Insider.
3. Cheeky’s D&D Buddy (Android)
A smooth game depends on a party that knows the rules and keeps track of their characters. This can be a challenge when you’re first starting out or introducing a new player, but Cheeky’s D&D Buddy makes it easier to keep track of hit points, surges, action points, temporary effects, and all the other stats that tend to get lost in the shuffle while you try to keep the game moving. It has simulated dice, inventory, and notes so your players can keep track of the evidence, riddles, and people of interest they meet throughout a campaign.
4. Dropbox (iPhone/Android/Blackberry)
Download Dropbox’s free app to share character sheets, digital maps, and rule information with your party, or access campaign notes from your home computer on the fly. Dropbox has a brilliantly simple interface—just drag and drop any file you want your players to see into their individual shared folder (or a party folder), and they’ll have instantaneous access to it from their own devices. Whether you’re running a home game with your laptops or just hammering out a game over lunch break with smartphones, you can access and share everything you need quickly and easily.
5. D&D Random Encounters 4e (iPhone/Android)
With this app you can create a complete D&D experience, armed with nothing but your smartphone. The work of generating random encounters is done for you, with monsters, maps, and treasure included. Tell the app your party size, level, location, and how hard a fight you want to give them, and it does the rest. This makes it easy to keep up your schedule if you didn’t have time to put together something of your own, or catch up a player who missed a session. Use it to shake up your storytelling with an element of surprise for both you and the party—unexpected monsters and out-of-place treasure can lead your story in fascinating directions, and the intellectual exercise of explaining an umber hulk’s presence in the duchess’s bedchamber (for instance) can be a fun stretch for a talented DM.
6. Diceshaker D&D (Android)
You could use any random number generator for your smartphone gaming session, but there’s something special about actually seeing dice clatter across a (virtual) table. Using DiceShaker D&D you can tip or shake your device to roll all the dice on the screen, or swipe to roll an individual die. DiceShaker also sums your rolls, which is a small thing, but every little convenience lets you focus your attention on story and character instead of minutia.
Melanie Gray is a writer for AndGeeks, a popular site that provides Android news, commentary, reviews, and Android tips for newbies. Melanie’s husband is a D&D GM, who has found ways to make his smartphone a utility for his gaming, making her uniquely well-qualified to write this article. Thanks, Melanie!