Because of the COVID-19 situation, it is still much recommended to keep physical distance from your friends. The lack of cardboard magic games may have been a bit sad times for many MTG-players. But worry not! If you have a webcam or a smartphone you can assemble them into a physical-digital game environment and dive back into the world of Magic with your friends!
I was first a bit skeptical about playing paper MTG via webcam. Luckily I was very wrong in my suspicions and virtual playing with physical cards was actually almost as fun as playing with your friends for example in the gaming area of Poromagia! You get to durdle your cards and shuffle your deck until boredom which has felt very good after a while without paper Magic.
The games I have played have been through a meeting software/page Whereby. The free version of Whereby is up to four people meetings. The site is very intuitive and easy to use. My favorite feature is the possibility to re-arrange the places of different cameras (in this case different players and their tables). This in mind we have not only decided the starting player with dice but also the whole order of the players! And all this without the need to move your playmats, backpacks, etc. How nice! Below you can find very informative and good instructions on how to use whereby and setup your gaming table by Valtteri Hyyppä.
Setting up the table
Before you start playing, you should arrange your gaming are for example on your working desk near the computer. There is as many solutions as there are players. The easiest one is to attach a webcam to the upper corner of your monitor or to a desktop lamp. From the pictures attached you can grab some inspiration! Remember to disengage the autofocus from your webcam so your camera doesn't go wild when you interact with your table.
Webcam-software for fine-tuning your settings
If your webcam didn't include software for fine-tuning the settings, multisplitter is probably the best go-to software for this.
The original web page for Multisplitter has been taken down so the best download link can be found from here (last tested 23rd March 2020) https://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/WebCam/MultiSplitter.shtml
Using a smartphone as your webcam
Webcams are usually the best cameras for gaming but you can use your smartphone or tablet as long as you have enough battery or a charging table nearby.
Many android users have used IP Webcam as their software to use android phone as a webcam.
You can also download and install this for your PC to use both cameras at the same time (Please Note! Doesn't work in Windows 10) https://ip-webcam.appspot.com/
Old but pretty good step-by-step install guide for IP Webcam:
Another easy app for Android is Whereby's own app, which lets you stream straight to Whereby:
You can find Whereby's own app from Apple Store
Games -> https://whereby.com/
Whereby lets you create a free account. After creating the account you can add your user name after the web address and the page will open a four-member lobby.
An example you can find here:
For voice chat, you can use either Whereby itself or Discord. If you are about to use discord, mute the voices from Whereby.
Because the lobby is only for four players, the best way to share the games for viewers is to use Discord's Screen Share.
Poromagian Modern tournament in Discord 18.4. 11:00 AM
We are hosting a remote Modern tournament in Discord and Whereby next Saturday. The tournament is free, but we will hand prizes for all participants and raffle some bonus items during the tournament.
- When? Saturday 18.4. 11:00 AM
- Where? Poromagia's Discord channel https://discord.gg/qWREedz
- Format: Modern
- Rounds: 4 rounds of swiss
- Entry fee: 0 €
- Sign up: here
- Submitting your decklist: send your decklists via email to firstname.lastname@example.org due Saturday 18.4. 10:55 AM
Remember to create a Whereby account before the tournament, as the games are played in Whereby. You can find the instructions just above the third picture in this article.
Let the games begin!
Pekka "Löhis" Löhönen