Do you allow electronics at your gaming table?

Do you use electronic aids (tablets, laptops etc.) at your gaming table?

  • Yes, everybody uses or is permitted electronic aids at the table

    Votes: 378 61.4%
  • Yes, but only the GM uses electronic aids at the table

    Votes: 80 13.0%
  • No, electronic aids are not used at the table but are used for character creation

    Votes: 71 11.5%
  • No, electronic aids are not used at all

    Votes: 87 14.1%


Well, that was fun
Staff member
Following on from an earlier thread, this is a quick (and simple) poll. Do you have electronic aids - laptops, tablets, etc. - at your gaming table?

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...We allow it, though very few use them. As long as they're not web surfing instead of paying attention, I have no problems with them.

Hand of Evil

Answered Yes, everybody uses or is permitted electronic aids at the table but within limits. Needs to relate to gaming, cannot be for personal use during gaming, you need to excuse yourself for that.


First Post
I answered yes, but only the DM uses them at the table.

I use a netbook to pull up stat blocks for foes and as well as an initiative tracker. Players are permitted to use electronics, but I try to ensure that they have access to print materials at the table (especially spells). I run 5e, so rules questions are not common and I feel confident making a ruling when they come up. All together, this usually means I'm the only one with some electronic aid at the table.


I voted no one uses them. But everybody is allowed to.

It's just that nobody wants to. And D&D5 doesn't have much use for it.


Mod Squad
Staff member
I will allow, but not encourage it. I am not a fan of electronics at the table, as many players in my experience allow themselves to become engaged more with what they can access electronically than with the game at hand.

Some will say that's the GM's problem for not making the game compelling. I think that position underestimates the power of the clicky-zone, and its interaction with human psychology and neurological reward systems. I know people who are so addicted to the online world that, even when out to a fancy dinner, they will excuse themselves from their real-world friends, real-world conversations, and in-person social interaction to go to the bathroom and futz on Facebook for 20 minutes or a half-hour.

One player in my Deadlands game uses a dice roller on his smartphone, and that's no problem whatsoever. Another used to use a tablet for his character sheet and spell listings. The latter tended to get distracted by his e-mail and such, but it wasn't too bad.

In a Star Wars game I played in (I didn't run it, but did host it), out of six people my wife and I were the only ones who didn't have a laptop or tablet at the table. For one player, this made her attention to what she was doing so weak that I was tempted to have "something wrong with our router" so that she wouldn't have internet access during games.

In general, I find that if a game *needs* electronic support, that makes it so rules-fiddly that I don't want to run it anyway.

Jan van Leyden

We don't have a rule regarding this topic, but only the GM uses a laptop; no-one else has any desire to do so.

I started using a laptop at the table running 4e, and , let me tell you, it felt really strange at first. In the meantime I've grown to prefer it, even for games less dependent on computer aid.

Between sessions electronic devices are widels used by all players.


In principle I have no objection to everyone having electronic aids, and most of the group I run 4E for have them available, but they are seldom needed or used. An occasional Compendium lookup is about it for the players - I as GM am the one who has a laptop always on (for a spreadsheet I use for tracking PC stuff and Combat Manager for the monster stat blocks and monster hit point and condition tracking).

I used to use printed sheets for monster damage/condition/power use tracking and statblocks, but Combet Manager does it so well (making "routine" die rolls automatically for saves and recharges, for instance) that I converted to it around 9 months ago.


Possibly a Idiot.
Most people in my groups use their phone or tablet as a character sheet.
The DM has an electronic soundboard, along with a computer for PDF look-ups.
I'm currently in the process of assembling a portable map projector using a Raspberry Pi.

People get distracted with them sometimes. But to be fair, they would get distracted without them anyway.


Most people in my groups use their phone or tablet as a character sheet]
People get distracted with them sometimes. But to be fair, they would get distracted without them anyway.
I think this is true - the player I have most guilty of this would be staring at the pub TV, into space etc, if he wasn't faffing around with Candy Crush.

Scrivener of Doom

We're all adults. We understand the social contract that surrounds our getting together for a game.

We've also been using laptops since the 2E Core Rules CD-ROM so we have some history with electronic devices....


I once had an experience with a GM who when I came to a game with a loaded iPod touch (character sheet, books, dice roller) stated that he did not allow electronics at his table. I smiled at him, got up shook his hand and thanked him for his time and left. Everyone looked stunned like they couldn't believe someone would do that. I deal with enough luddites in the real world, I have zero patience/tolerance for it in my leisure time.


Traditionally, we played our games only with print materials. When 4e came out, we tried using the character creator on DDI, and did enjoy that. Of course, then, all our games were in person. Now we play all of our games on Roll20. Usually this is by requirement: the six of us live in 3 different places hours and hours apart. Even when we get together for games entirely in person, we still use the Roll 20 interface, meaning that everyone has an electronic interface.

Usually this isn't a problem at all. The biggest distractions are usually when our resident macro writer is trying to solve a code problem and misses some key part of the plot or combat. Though, once or twice he also got distracted playing Civilization: Beyond Earth :p

When we are entirely in person, we even use extra devices by throwing the game board onto a big screen TV so that significant others or family who happen by can see the action and the DM can physically point things out for a change :)
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Yes, but only the GM.



David Jose
Over the years my group has thankfully managed to cull anyone who would have detrimentally attached themselves to their phone. We have had our fair share of people though. The person who refused to look up from her Gameboy and stop playing Pokemon without someone prompting her that it was her turn. Who would also them complain because she didn't know what was going on and was confused and bored. The guy who would sit back away from the table with his feet up eating sunflower seeds and reading the sports page, telling us to get him when combat broke out. The guy who was constantly asking other people if they wanted to start up a game of Magic at the table while we were all playing.

On the GM end of things, at least for D&D, I tend to run with a lot of electronic tools. My laptop has really become my DM Screen, and tend to play with spreadsheets, player monitors or projectors, and sound effects. I am also the one usually updating and reprinting players' character sheets and/or cards so there's never a reason for my players to need to use laptops or tablets to keep track of things. One of my players had tried using a combination of tablet and phone for a bit, mostly to try and run combat macros and a die roller; but he ended up abandoning it because he couldn't use it as quickly and effectively as dice.


My players have used iPads, smart phones and laptops for their character sheets and dice rollers, and it hasn't been a problem. No web surfing or anything like that (at least that I have noticed or caused any issues). My only issue with a laptop is the amount of table space it takes up and is a barrier between myself and the player (I don't use a DM screen for the same reason).


I have converted over to PDFs mostly and so have my Kindle or my wife's laptop at the table when I'm DMing.

That said, my last group had a couple of folks who had a bad habit of getting distracted during the game and got guilt-trippy and petulant when I asked them to pay attention to the game. I didn't press the issue but if/when I get a new group together I'm going to ask folks to use devices for game stuff only.


I'm actually having an issue with my Pathfinder GM using his electronics at the table to run the game. Mostly because it's actually slowing down what would much more quickly looked up in a rulebook, or written down with pencil and paper. All of his players have electronics, that we all put away when the game starts, and only bring back out when we need a quick calculation or something.

I'm currently remaking reference cards for World Tree, putting more information on them than before, and I do intend to print them out when they meet my liking. Until then, I will use the computer to show both the old version and the new version, as well as having the physical cards that need no correction available.
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Staff member
Personally, I've been using PDAs or tablets to store character sheets and/or campaign info since 2003 or so, and with the advent of online tools like the SRD, my use of electronics has only increased.

That said, I don't have any RPG-specific apps on anything, and all my die rolls use the real things.
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