Six of us got on google hangouts last night and played God-King using the anywhereboardgame app.
That provides a deck of playing cards, to which I added two jokers.
One of the players also made us some neat screens so each player could hide their hand of cards.
Troubles with the set-up:
--+Background noise: Only two of us were wearing headsets, so we had barking dogs, strange fan humming, singing dryers, and echoes all over the place.
--+Small table: The size of the desktop made it virtually impossible for us to put more than ten cards face up at any given time (and still have space for players to hide their cards.)
This affected the game, usually making one character face a test and that's that. It would have been very difficult to have all five players draw and build hands of cards to face off against a threat.
--+Distractions: Google hangouts provides people with the option of using a web-cam, and then gives people the option of making sound effects, or floating various masks and images on their web-cam image. Also, the boardgame app lets people import images to the play space. All of these things interfere with gaming.
I say all of that up front to say this:
--+ The game went okay. We had a full party, and everyone (coincidentally) drew different Truths. They all revealed their Truths to me secretly, so we can build to them later.
--+ The actual conflict resolution was pretty vanilla. We did see a few moments where something really important happened, where someone who was "Trusted" saved a player by taking a Joker in to their hand, but that immediately led to "I don't want to trust you... you have a Joker and can screw me over."
--+ Dividing things up into a "round" structure was near impossible. When players wanted to do different things, we didn't have the space to resolve those actions separately, or the time, to be honest. The app is nice, but still slow to respond and clunky. A quick button to "deal 4 cards" would have been nice... or a "cascade" option for the cards. (As it stands you can only "stack" or drag each one individually...)
--+ It was easy for me to make all of the characters necessary. When one was inactive, or separated, I put a heavy penalty on the others. When the Navigator charged in to battle without the Warrior, it was harder on him. When the Scholar wasn't with the party, the language barrier came up hard. When the Mystic wasn't actively trying to detect and banish spells, the party suffered the effects of Otugari. Etc. That part was pretty fun.
--+ The Truths didn't work themselves in organically. Without the ability to "introduce events or NPCS" the players are finding it difficult to work those things in. There is subtlety in their performance that I notice, but it's because I know what their Truths are. I think the game would benefit from OPEN secrets. But again, I think the Truths will become far more important after (insert spoiler here.)
--+ I feel a little handcuffed to the rails with the story. The section of the book that details "The Journey" gives me the impression that there is an underlying script to this game, and that I have to push towards (insert same spoiler.) I confessed that at the end of the session, and that started a discussion on what kind of replayability the game has. To be fair, I'm weaving a lot of stuff around the script, adding things here and there, and trying to respond to the player's input, but there are times when I want what they are doing to take the lead, but somehow feel that letting them lead will bring us too far off the rails.
--- --- We are only on Otugari now, having encountered our first natives, and almost to a supposed meeting with Princess Yoru --- ---
Please no spoilers for my current players. We haven't reached (insert spoiler here) moment yet.
I'm going to link them here so maybe they can weigh in. And you can too? Have you played it? What was it like?