Publisher: Battlebards LLC
Game Designer: Alex Jarzebinski, Kyn Chaturvedi, Mike Adams, Mridul Pandey
Ages: 13 & up
Contents: 500 audio tracks, mixer, offline mode
Suggested Retail Price: $50 one year subscription
Parental Advisory: Safe for children over 12
You may be scratching your head right now wondering why I’m writing about software rather than hardware, hardware in the way of boxes of cardboard goodness on your table top that has you pushing cubes and rolling dice. Well, from time to time I come across something unique and pretty darn cool that warrants more attention and will add a unique facet to your gaming sessions be they RPG’s or board games.
Battlebards is an on-demand, tabletop audio library replete with a built-in mixer and player that will bring your stories to life in a whole new way. There will be no more need for the DM to master accents, dream up some archaic sounding language or strain their vocal chords attempting to imitate a dragon as that foul beast turns the corner to attack. Now you can have professionally recorded voices, music and sound effects that complement and enhance your games narrative, creating a living, breathing world that your fellow gamers will remember long after the adventure ends.
What is Battlebards?
Battlebards will be an excellent addition to the toolbox for any DM, especially those that love to give their adventures that little extra something. Just as it applies to RPG’s, these same audio tracks can easily be incorporated to your tabletop adventures as well. Dungeon crawler board games like Descent and the D&D Adventure Series immediately come to mind as being prime candidates for an audio tool like this, especially those that use a dungeon lord. A dungeon lord acts in a similar fashion to a DM in an RPG, so they could trigger the audio tracks when applicable to add more depth to the experience.
We’re now seeing multimedia blend with tabletop games more and more, such as XCOM and its app that guides and times the player’s turns or Golem Arcana and its exciting use of mobile technology. The utilization of multimedia to enhance gameplay will continue to improve and further innovate over time.
The creative team at Battlebards has already shown their chops with the previous successful Kickstarter, Realmsound Project 2.0 and is spinning off of that success to evolve into a full-fledged cloud service. With all of the audio files online, you will not need to have the physical audio with you but can access, mix and edit it all on the fly remotely using a PC or laptop. Mobile devices will be able to access and play the individual files but will not be able to mix tracks at the current time.
I’ve spoken with one of the developers at length about this and was told that mobile devices are something they would like to work towards in the future. With the multitude of mobile devices in use by gamers everywhere now, it is a natural progression to expect that Battlebards will head down that road later.
While still in early development, the developers are working to make it very close to their Realmsound app in terms of look, feel and use. Realmsound was an application that you installed on your computer, accessing over 300 audio tracks that you could mix on the fly or beforehand for use in your games.
The mixer I tested was very intuitive once I ran through the short documentation provided to get me up and running. From there I was able to play with and explore the many, many sound effects and options, finding the software very easy to use.
Battlebards will equip gamers with over 500+ audio tracks covering music, sound effects, voice overs, and soundscapes that are provided by the team and built specifically for gaming at the table. The number of tracks will continue to grow to several hundred more in an ongoing development cycle, giving great value to the subscription model the project is offering. All of the audio is professionally created by studio artists whose names are attached to many major video games and TV programs and from what I’ve heard so far, it’s all top shelf stuff!
The tools available in Battlebards will give DM’s full control over their presentation, allowing for easy mixing and organizing within the web app. The mixer allows you to organize your created audio tracks and script your interaction with the story on a timeline and these tracks will all be share-able with others in the Battlebards community. So everyone will benefit from the creativity of their fellow gamers world-wide, in a very positive way.
Everything is provided for you in the app and the tracks are amazing! From creature sounds to chatter in the streets, movement, weapons and armor, through to ramblings of shopkeeper’s and some truly stunning music are all worth the price of admission. You’ll have as much fun creating sounds for your scripts as you will playing your games.
A multitude of weapon effects are provided; blades, arrows, wood melee weapons, mechanical ranged weapons, trap doors to organic weapons like tail swipes, bites and claws are all there. Mix those with some movement, background ambiance of a dungeon or castle, toss in a piece of music, a creature and you have an instant battle like the one I threw together in less than five minutes here by adding a piece of music I own. It didn’t come out half bad for someone who’s not an audiophile, people with better skills than I could create a true masterpiece.
There are also numerous soundscapes, pieces of music and languages from English to Draconic included and magic effects galore, so there is something for everything you could dream up and it’s done by professionals who know their trade. Go to the Battlebards page and to the Realmsound page to hear more samples, you’ll love what you hear!
Should I back it?
Offering over 500 unique audio tracks and the tools to make easy the creative process, this is a truly amazing project that deserves the support of gamers, both RPG and board gamers alike, who would benefit from its use.
The only drawbacks at this point are no included mobile devices; this is a must in today’s environment. Gamers all have tablets and phones at the table everywhere and this app can only benefit by adding mobile support in the future. I know the sticky issue of licensing often gets in the way but if somehow downloadable tracks could be allowed, this would be a boon for portability when you may not have internet access.
If you are into RPG’s and enjoy the role play and atmosphere as much, if not more so than just the dice rolling, backing Battlebards is a no-brainer. Board gamers should not bypass this project either; there are numerous dungeon crawl games that fit nicely with this app. This gives you everything you could want in atmospherics, providing a distinctive auditory treat for your gaming sessions that creative DM’s can easily create whole worlds with.
The project is more than halfway funded with three weeks to go, I recommend you check it out and if you think it’s as exciting as I do, back it!
Company Website: http://www.battlebards.com/
Company Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BattleBards
Company Twitter: https://twitter.com/battlebards
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