We, at A Gentlemanly Sport, use music and sound during miniature wargaming sessions.
Why use sound?
Similar to lighting, sound can add quite a bit to enhance the immersion during a game. It really helps to sell the atmosphere of that place where your tiny toy soldiers are fighting.
So, should you tream your music or use local media like mp3s or CDs? Of course, there are other media, but I personally don’t use them, but feel free to do so if you want. I tend to mix it up. As long as you can access a streaming service, like spotify or YouTube, without these annoying adds that interrupt your audio experience every 5 minutes, you’re good to go. If I use YouTube, I listen to it on my ad blocked browser. At the moment, these block advertisements effectively. But there are rumors that the service might even get a workaround to adblockers. That would be very annoying. I do have a paid spotify subscription and enough CDs and mp3s to do the job.
As long as I can listen to my media without ads, I’m ok with streaming it, but as a failsafe, I highly suggest building a local sound library at home.
Sound effects and ambiance
Sound effects further enhance the overall atmosphere created by a proper background music or soundtrack.
I strongly recommend using the Tabletop Audio website for all of your ambiance and sound effects. Alternatively, a dedicated app on your phone might do the trick as well. There are plenty of them out there. Just search for “RPG sound effects” or something similar.
You don’t need much equipment to get your sounds playing. I’d say the easiest way would be to get a Bluetooth speaker, hook up your smartphone and play the music from one of your favorite sources. And that’s it. That’s your basic hardware setup
I have the luxury of occupying a dedicated gaming room. That’s why I went for a more permanent solution. My PC is connected to 2 amplifiers: a very small one and a larger SONY GX590. There are 6 speakers evenly distributed throughout the room: 2 tiny ones, 2 small ones and 2 medium sized high quality stereo speakers. I also have a virtual equalizer software running on my source PC, “cleaning” the sound before it hits those 6 speakers. I admit it’s definitely overkill, but I sometime like to retire to my room in the evenings and turn the volume knob a bit (much). But only when the wife is not at home … Anyway, the setup sounds really great.
We generally use youtube (only using adblocker) and spotify to stream our music from. If you decide to play MP3s or other locally stored music files, a music player on your computer will be needed, but not to worry, these come with every operating system. What I do however strongly suggest, is to save your music tracks in corresponding folders and make use of playlists. This way you can simply click on your list and the appropriate music starts playing. If you want to play a game of Frostgrave, just create a playlist with tracks suited for this game. We use quite often Jeremy Soule’s soundtrack for Skyrim.
So, what soundtracks to use now? I’m sure this question is kind of pointless. You probably know already what kind of music you want to listen to. If not, I’ll list some of our evergreens below.
- Spaceship games: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Soundtrack); The Hunt for Red October (Soundtrack)
- Old school Fantasy rank and file: Warhammer Dark Omen (Playstation1 game we played) is our favorite one. Please be warned: It can be (very) annoying to some sensitive ears. Be warned!
- Frostgrave: Jeremy Soule: Skyrim (OST), Game of Thrones (Everything Winterfell, Nightwatch and close to that Wall)
- Ancient Wargaming: Ben Hur (OST); The Gladiator (OST)
- Science-Fiction games: Some of the Warhammer 40k PC Games come with quite decent soundtracks.
- Gaslands: Mad Max Fury Road!!! And everything White/Rob Zombie related (i.m.o)
- Dark Age and Medieval: can be tricky. You might like the Vikings TV show OST. I don’t though.
- 7 Years War: Goes well with classy hats, fancy brandy and Prussian marching music. Beware of the neighbors though. You don’t want to come across as a Nazi. Just close the windows.
- And I could go on. But now it’s your turn:
- [Insert your preferences here] or in the comment section below.
This list is non exhaustive, but serves as a jumping off point for your own compilations and playlist building.
Enjoy your enhanced gaming sessions.