Infrno is a Beta of a web-based RPG playing application/social site (isn’t everything these days?) which I’ve been signed up to for a while but hadn’t really gotten to grips with until this weekend.

We decided to keep things simple and went for a game of Dragon Warriors, playing through the first adventure in the main book, using the ‘whiteboard’ for maps and the webcam and audio to give the thing a proper test.

First the pluses:

  • Infrno is very easy to use and set up. Not necessarily always intuitive or simple but, in my experience, far more simple and intuitive than all the other, rival options that are out there at the moment.
  • Anyone with a web browser can use it.
  • The social side allows you to keep game notes etc on the site as well as characters, storing them in the cloud whether for your online or offline games. This makes life a lot easier.
  • The whiteboard isn’t complicated and its simplicity makes it extremely usable. You just have to drop images down onto there if you want to use them so making tokens, maps etc is a piece of piss. I never normally bother with them but it’s easy enough with this that I might more often.
  • It’s not wedded to any single system, so it’s open to all kinds of play, all kinds of games. It would be easy, EASY, even to play board games or war games over the interface if you created CGI tokens and that’s something I hope the Infrno guys look into doing with the blessing of various companies.
Now the minuses:
  • The in-site audio wasn’t great, we ended up switching to Ventrilo. We weren’t on the best of connections – one player was in rural Wales connecting via bean-tins and string and the site is in beta, but still that’s a problem. You can always conference in Skype or whatever until this gets fixed though.
  • We suffered the occasional random drop-out from the game, this wasn’t too much of an issue though as they were able to get right back in.
  • The whiteboard took a long time to load for some players.
  • There were pretty heavy, periodic, lag spikes.
  • The dice roller utility is not robust enough for many games.
  • The generic characters sheets are great, but huge and bewildering and unwieldy when trying to enter characters, especially if you’re doing pregens.
That said we had a good time and a successful game, playing online does always seem to be slower than playing in person though. We’re going to keep playing our Dragon Warriors game, at least for a while and I hope to use Infrno to run demos. Even with the Beta-period drawbacks and issues I think Infrno is a serious contender for a system neutral method of online play and of all the ones I’ve tried I like it the best. Get on there and look me up or find me on my company profile, let’s play!