Uncovering seams in distributed play of tabletop role-playing games

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We uncover how geographically distributed players of tabletop role-playing games engage narrative, ludic, and social aspects of play. Our existing understandings of tabletop role-playing games are centered around co-located play on physical tabletops. Yet, online play is increasingly popular. We interviewed 14 players, experienced with online virtual tabletops. Our findings reveal the seams—points where media, activities, and technology intersect—within virtual tabletop environments that enable distributed players to shift among collaborative storytelling, applying game rules and mechanics, and socially interacting with each other.