Streaming a board game almost sounds like two worlds colliding. Playing an offline game, but streaming it? Of course, streaming and video games goes hand in hand, but where does streaming a board game fit? And how can it be done?
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First off, streaming a board game is possible. In this post I am looking specifically at streaming a game you are playing in the real world, streaming a game of snakes and ladders that you’re playing on a computer isn’t what I’m talking about here.
So without any more messing about. Here are somethings to consider when streaming a board game.
Being on camera (You and your friends)
You aren’t going to be alone when playing a board game. As with video game streamers, I think the channels pulling in the best numbers of viewers have themselves on camera. There is something about seeing the gamer’s reaction that makes the game play all that more entertaining, the same goes for streaming a board game.
The only difference with streaming a board game is that you and your friends will be visible online. It’s likely not essential, but will make setting up your camera etc. considerably easier! Have a browse of the the Twitch channels currently tagged under ‘Card & Board Game’ here. You will get a good idea of what others are doing.
What do you need to live stream a board game?
This is easy: a camera, your choice of streaming platform and the game you’re wanting to play.
Most streaming platform will connect to the camera on any mobile phone, which for the most part, the quality you get will be more than enough to provide your audience with a good experience. All I would add for streaming with a mobile phone would be to make sure it is on charge while you’re broadcasting. Want to go more upmarket than your phone? Any DSLR or camera that can be connected to a computer will function exactly the same. Just take the time to make sure everything works a day or two before you plan to start. On the day, the only stresses you should want is the arguments over which figure you want to be!
Think about sound quality
You may get decent video quality from a phone or DSLR. But what about sound? We all must have watched something where the audio has let down the experience. You and some friends gathered round a table may just be the right recipe for a board game streaming fail when the microphone fails to pick up players at an unfortunate angle to the camera.
In this case, what you want to looks for is a microphone to best connect all the audio together. What you need to be careful of, is not buying a microphone that is one-directional. Individual microphones would be ideal, but personally I think you will achieve the best gaming experience if your players basically forget about the live stream, fiddling on with a microphone hooked to their shirt is likely not going to achieve that. If I can suggest anything, I’d say look for a microphone that can be placed right in the middle of the table. Something like these, a simple USB connection should mean a simple link into your laptop.
Don’t forget about lighting
Just because one of your players may playing the role of a bad guy, doesn’t mean you want them sitting in shadow for the duration of the game. Bare minimum make sure the table is well lit, place the game under the main room light or set up some lighting from behind the camera to achieve a good set up.
This comes back to prepping a few days beforehand again. Try different camera angles to get the best light and the most exposure to the game and palyers.
Final thing, have some bloody fun with it!
It may seem obvious, but make sure to treat this like you would any other game night. Yes the game should be fun to watch, but you’re sharing the relationships you have with your friends with the world, don’t let that be stifled by acting differently because you’re on stream. It’s part of the reason I say not to use individual microphones, get your players to forget the stream, be themselves and enjoy the moment.
Got nay more suggestions for making streaming a board game as good as it can be? Already streaming board games yourself? I’d love to hear about it!