How to Schedule and Run a Google+ Hangout Game

Posted by on November 1, 2013
'Untitled' by thomasleuthard on Flickr

‘Untitled’ by thomasleuthard on Flickr

There are several pieces to running a tabletop RPG game on Google:

  1. Getting people to sign up
  2. Setting up the event
  3. Running the game

Getting people to sign up

Before you start, post on Google+ once or twice, asking for people to comment if they’re interested in playing with you. Add them to a Circle just for this.

Once you’ve Circled a decent number of people (I say at least 10), create a Doodle (free service that lets you propose days and times for an event) with some suggested play times. Plan this for at least a week away. Then share the Doodle in a Google+ post, and mention each individual in your “interested” Circle directly in the post. That makes the post appear in their notifications.

You can certainly share this post with lots of people, beyond just your “interested” Circle. Just make sure that the “core group” members are mentioned directly in the post.

Here’s what you should include, at a minimum, in your post:

  • The game system you want to play, with links to the rules
  • Your GMing style
  • Any Hangout tools you plan to use (see below for a list)
  • A big, colorful image. This routinely doubles the attention my posts get.

Also consider linking to inspirational books, movies, and other media that capture the feel you’re going for.

Setting up an event

Once you have enough votes for one time slot, go to the Events area of Google+, create an Event for the chosen time slot, and invite all those who voted for that time slot.

Running a game

There are several Google+ plugins that improve the Hangout experience for gaming:

  • Roll20 — A complete set of tools for D&D-style playing: battle grids, tokens, dice, etc.
  • Hangout Toolbox — Display lower-thirds for each participant, with character names and stats
  • DiceStream — Roll multiple dice that appear on your Hangout window

Before your game, start a Hangout with just yourself, load up these plugins, and play with them.

When the time for your game arrives, start a Hangout with all the people who are listed on the Event.

If you want to record the game, go to the Hangouts on Air section of Google+ and start a Hangout on Air. Make sure you ask all the participants if they’re okay with being recorded and streamed live!

If you have any other questions, please let me know.

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