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This week, a friend of mine said he wanted to be able to play games like Dungeons & Dragons at a virtual table. Oh, no problem, I said — check out Roll20, an app that helps people gather for role-playing games online. But then he said, “No, I mean virtual as in virtual reality.”

Well, duh, I thought. I should’ve known that. But my friend has a point — role-playing experiences could be a killer app for VR. But how would it look?

Experiment 7 is working on translating board games to VR with its Magic Table system — it’s done chess and is now gearing up for Settlers of Catan. Ubisoft’s Werewolves Within is missing the crucial facial and body cues you need for party games. VR devs have a long way to go in nailing tabletop board games before heading into pen-and-paper RPGs.

Heck, how would they even look? Social AR and VR could be killer apps — Microsoft certainly seems to think so — and you don’t get much more social than RPGs. Would we be sitting around a table, rolling virtual dice? Would we be manipulating miniature figures on maps? Or would we have avatars, swinging swords and slinging spells at orcs and beholders?
OK, I could get behind that last one.

For AR/VR coverage, send news tips to Dean Takahashi and Jeff Grubb (for those that cross over into PC gaming). Please send guest post submissions to Rowan Kaiser. Please be sure to visit our AR/VR Channel.

—Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor

P.S. Dean steps into mixed reality with Samsung’s Odyssey headset

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