Fantasy GroundsWe all have those issues when it comes to setting up a Dungeons and Dragons Campaign, myself included.
Living in Norway, and being from America my friends are scattered around the world and the most we can do is find time, luckily however that is all we need. Fantasy Grounds is created and developed by SmiteWorks in the USA and with it, you can create and customize games for you and your friends to play.

However, all this comes with a catch… The software itself is visually appealing and beautiful to look at with its attention to detail on everything, but it’s costly. We got our review copy for free but all the additional things we need to make the software more appealing aren’t from maps, dice, figures, or everything they really nickel and dime anyone who purchases this software to no end.

But that’s if you aren’t okay with any of the default things included with the software, which isn’t to say much…
So if you want to create a visually stunning stream where you can showcase your D&D crew and have a good time you have several options available to you.

Fantasy Grounds
The first is the old-fashioned way with a webcam, and a copy of Pathfinder or whatever Dungeons and Dragons book you have available to you. The second option is buying the software, maybe dishing out a bit more money to get it just the way you want it with board game pieces for that nice visual appeal, or third and lastly own a tabletop simulator where you can play D&D thanks to a lovely guide from PC Gamer.

Don’t get us wrong, Fantasy Grounds does fulfill that nerds’ need to detail everything for the perfect Dungeons and Dragons experience, but Fantasy Grounds isn’t straightforward to use for newcomers; or anyone who is new to a tabletop experience. There is so much to choose from, and so many options available that it becomes a bit of a hassle to fully use the software without some guides, luckily there are YouTube videos for that.

Fantasy GroundsThe software is good, and we do like it, but it’s not necessarily the best option out there; with copies of D&D out for free, and guides on how to set up a tabletop simulator for it. The cost isn’t really justified, inescapably for what they are charging for it. Reiterating here, yes it does what we want but for newcomers, it’s not worth your time or money.

It’s good solid software but with any software, there is a learning curve; that learning curve when it comes to gaming shouldn’t take away from the fun aspect and it kinda does with this for us at least. That’s why it took so long to get this review out; there is just so much we have to learn, and do, and it becomes a bit of a hassle.

But if you are the nerd with money, and the need to detail all the little things then go for it, Fantasy Grounds is the thing for you.

Update 1: thank you for our commenters; where it should be mentioned that Fantasy Grounds does offer a refund and pricing options else ware, on steam Fantasy Grounds has to adhere to Steam’s refund policy of either 30-day refund or under four hours of usage.  So you can try it out for yourself and if you are not satisfied with the product you can indeed refund it.

It also is very possible to update the game with your own custom rule set and customization features if you know how, but it is a more involved process for those who are dedicated to using the software; you can find a lot of these assets and tools on their community forms and to answer to peoples responses, our opinion is our own and based on the notion of how much money we personally would have to put into reviewing this. As we are adults, with jobs, trying to get by in life with very little money to afford luxuries; we reviewed the software as it was not including the DLC because simply; we cannot afford it.

Update 2: Readers should also keep in mind that when choosing between VTT options in the current market, and there ARE a few choices, that Fantasy Grounds prices for (WotC/D&D) DLC really are the best (usually around half of the others). And for $3.99 to try it for 30 days (with a money back guarantee) I don’t see how anyone loses. Try it, and if it’s right for you (and your group) you may consider the license. But it seems a bit unfair to balk at the pricing considering what the market bears.

I do hear a lot of cross talk in the community about REPURCHASING content. You buy the hardback, you purchase the D&D Beyond content, now why should you have to pay AGAIN for this content on Fantasy Grounds (or any other VTT). Well, you simply don’t have to pay for it. You can manually create these adventures yourself. But most people would rather fork over $24.95 (coincidentally on sale as of this posting for a mere $19.95) than spend 400 hours typing in Princes of the Apocalypse word by word. Other VTTs would charge twice that amount, as an example

Bottom line, to complain about pricing and to corner people’s feelings about branching out into internet gaming (which is very popular, especially among group who have members that moved away, etc.) seems bad form. Branding people “nerds with money” seems out of sort as well.

I invite readers to give it a shot for yourself and make your own decision…


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