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Having recently moved quite a long distance away from a friend who owns Arkham Horror, we have decided to continue playing games via telepresence (supplied by google+ hangouts).

My first go at playing remotely had me opening pages in tabs on the Arkham Horror wiki and tracking everything manually in a text editor.

Do there exist any software or web tools to reduce lookup times and unify all character bookkeeping into a single interface?

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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Short Answer: No?

Longer Answer: Not that I've used at least. The only Arkham-management-eqsue software I've used is the Arkham toolkit for iOS, but that only helps manage the location/OW decks and isn't really for distance play.

That said, there is a program/system called VASSAL that people can make modules for that allow network play of various games. I've never used VASSAL myself, but I know that it can be used to play rather complicated competitive games online, and a quick search reveals that there is a VASSAL module for Arkham plus every expansion here that got updated a few weeks ago. I see a note on the page that all of the common item cards are blank to make sure people own a copy, so I don't know what other modifications if any the modules would need after downloading to get it into a completely easily playable state. That may be your best chance at a good online method of playing Arkham. If you give it a shot, reply with your experiences in some fashion; it would be useful info to have here.

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Short update: I've finished a few games in vassal (4 players all controlled by myself) and found it completely acceptable for the purpose. It can be well used as a remote tracker for a real game, and is quite acceptable as a table-substitute. It would be almost impossible to play if one doesn't have experience with the real game though, due to the sheer complexity of pieces. The AH wiki is a decent-enough lookup for the common items that I've mostly memorized anyways. I'll post a real answer once I've tested this with real remote play. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 1 '11 at 0:07
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Ultimately Vassal mods are very easy to modify :) just unrar that sucker and change all the pictures with photoshop that don't have text on them.

Started working on that myself last night. Then I quit after my... tenth? card... or 8th. I might finish that sometime but it would only be for personal use as I just don't want to drag out the box when I try to play on the computer.

In theory I suppose one could use the vassal mod for playing without having the boardgame. but it IS a ton of work.

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VASSAL is an excellent tool for remote play

This evening I played remotely using vassal, the arkahm horror wiki, and google video. I can state that the tracking mechanics of VASSAL (with all expansions installed) offers just the right amount of support to provide for remote play over webcam.

The webcam, positioned a laptop's height above the board facing so that the text is readable on the webcam, provides an excellent view of the board and associated tokens. Monster tokens should be inserted into plastic holders and be upright instead of flat, for more effective visibility.

A character should be maintained within VASSAL, with item cards being taken from decks in the real board with a quick "choose from deck" within vassal. It is fast and can be done while other players are taking their turns. While it is necessary for monster details to be read out, playing via webcam and vassal is far better than not playing at all and something that I will do again. In fact, it is better than actual play within VASSAL, due to the feeling of actually sitting at the board and the ease at which players at the tables handle cards and deal with the physical interactions required of the board.

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What do you mean by 'it is necessary for monster details to be read out'? Are you talking about text on the back of monsters because it's too small? If so, there is a zoom button in the top toolbar that may help the text become legible. –  EvilAmarant7x Sep 2 '11 at 12:13
    
No, it's that the camera does not present monster details in any useful level of detail, and it's entirely too much work simulating monsters on the local board. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Nov 6 '11 at 21:35
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