An actual play is the play of a role-playing game that is performed as entertainment for an audience wider than the group of people who are playing it, generally recorded and broadcast over the internet. Actual plays may be performed live like a theatre show, by video recording, or as a sound recording (i.e. podcast). Some actual plays may be provided in several or all of these formats.
The rise of actual play shows has been cited as a significant factor in the rise of popularity and understanding of role-playing games. The actual play movement as a whole won the 2018 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming, for which the Diana Jones Award Committee said:
- Actual Play shows — whether broadcast via audio, video or both — have done more to popularize roleplaying games than anything since the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, and in a far more positive way. They take RPGs out of the basement and put them on the world stage, showing a global audience exactly how much fun roleplaying games can be when played by talented people who are fully invested in their shared stories.
- More than that, Actual Play can help gamers become better gamers. Game designers have long bemoaned the fact that it's impossible to put themselves into the box to show people how to have the most fun while playing their games. Actual Play gives players of all skill levels full-bore examples of how to get the most out of their own games, presented in a format that's easy to share and enjoy.
Actual plays have also been used by game designers and creators to advertise their games and teach new players how to play.
Example actual playsEdit
- Acquisitions Incorporated
- The Adventure Zone
- The Chain (aka The Chain of Acheron)
- Critical Role
- Dicey Amazons
- Maze Arcana
- Power Rangers HyperForce
- Plot Hunters
- Rivals of Waterdeep
- Theatre of the Mind Players
- RPG Casts, with a list of RPG podcasts (including categories for actual play campaigns and one-shots)
- Actual Play Podcasts Directory at JackMonkey Games
- ‘Actual play’ RPG experiences like Critical Role, Adventure Zone are having a moment (July 9, 2018) at Polygon
- Vote For Your Favourite ACTUAL PLAY Podcast! (2019) at EN World