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MapTool Combat Pace

Posted by on September 21, 2010

In the last session, there was a very long combat, 41 turns, involving 3 PCs, 2 NPC allies, and as I recall 10 NPC enemies.  The whole thing took about 4 hours to resolve, and also included limited vision (night combat), which in turn meant some calls of “Where did I hear that sound?” followed by some spacebar beaconing on the map.  So I guesstimate that was a total of about 700 or so actions, or about 10 actions per hour, including breaks, questions, defense rolls, damage calculations, a couple of rules lookups, descriptive speech, etc.  That’s an average of just under 30 seconds per action.  Compared to some reports I’ve heard of of anywhere from roughly  seven minutes per action or 2.5 hours to get to round 8 on MapTool in GURPS (to be fair, text-only games without voice chat there), 30 seconds per action seems blazing fast.

And it still feels slow.

I may have to get to a tabletop game of GURPS to see how slow combat actually is, but now when I look back at it, actually this combat wasn’t really slow or long.  I think the reasons it might have felt slow at the time may have had something to do with the fact that the combat was very very long for GURPS (41 turns!) and that 4 hours was longer than I had planned on.  My perspective may also be skewed by the simple fact that I’ve played a lot more PC games than pen games in many years, and even though we’re basically still playing a pen game, something in my brain still says, “You’re at a PC!”  Plus, Wen has never really played a pen game before, besides that one horrible time she told me about playing with a killer DM and a bunch of loonies who typically dies before they left the tavern, so she’s even less used to the speed than I am.

Still, I think things are moving in the right direction.  Most posts I’ve seen about MapTool point to a typical time investment of 2x to 3x the time one would spend at a live table; I don’t think this is the case here.  Things seem to be moving at about normal pace for a tabletop game.

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