The Shared Game Timer is a board game timer (a.k.a. turn timer) that can help keep board games from running too long. The idea is simple—track how long each player is taking. Simply knowing that one's time is tracked is often enough to keep players from falling into Analysis Paralysis.
The timer shows the total time a player has taken in the game as well as the current turn, and optional audio reminders are given for slow turns. It also shows the fractions of play time that each player has taken.
There are many of this kind of board game timers out there, but the Shared Game Timer has quite a few unique features. They are described below, but you can also see them in the video tutorials.
Most other game timers work only on a single phone, forcing players around a table to either reach across the board to end their turn, or the phone is handed from person to person, or worse, some unfortunate player is 'in charge of the timer'.
With the Shared Game Timer, each player has their own phone with a view of the timer and ability to do things like end their turn, pass their round etc. All phones are updated whenever something changes (usually within a second).
Too many phones cluttering the table? No problem. Players can share phones.
If a game has 'admin' tasks, e.g. cleanup between rounds, when it isn't really anyone's turn, you can activate Admin Time, which is a separate timer that tracks how much time is spent on, well, admin. (Or endless rule-clarifications.)
Games can be set to have rounds. Once a round ends, it automatically activates Admin Time giving you time to change player order, clean up, etc.
Rounds can end in a few different ways, configured during game creation.
- When everyone passes. In this mode, a player may either end their turn or pass. Once passed, they will be skipped in player order until a new round begins.
- The last player in turn order may choose to end the round.
- After a fixed number of turns. The number of turns per round can vary across rounds.
Change Player Order
In many games, turn order may change throughout the game, and reflecting this in the Shared Game Timer is easy.
You can pause the game, say when the pizza arrives or the sun rises and you realize you must continue the game another day. Unlike Admin Time, this time isn't tracked or accounted for in the final game total.
Did you accidentally press the wrong button? Simply undo. Whoever's turn it was before resumes as if you had never touched that button.
Remote Controls, Presentation Mode, Speech Synthesis
You can control the timer using two kinds of Remote Controls, Selfie Shutters and Media Controls. This makes it possible to put the phones away completely and enjoy your board games with no digital screens cluttering your gaming table.
One device should remain visible so players can see whose turn it is. The Presentation Mode makes this device visible at a distance, so you can move it off-table, perhaps to a nearby window or shelf.
Finally, activate the Speech Synthesizer and the device will call out the name of players when it is their turn, further removing the need to look at any screen.
For more details on all of this, see the Remote Control page.
Analysis Paralysis Alert
You can choose to have a 'tick tock' sound play after a specified amount of time to kick players out of Analysis Paralysis.
Multiple alerts may be configured for different times. If you use the Voice Synthesizer, then the turn time (in minutes) is spoken out loud instead of the 'tick tock'.
If you use the timer on a phone, you can tell it to keep the screen on so you don't have to unlock your phone all the time.
Online Gaming and the Chrome Extension
The timer works great for online gaming like Tabletopia or Tabletop Simulator.
There is even a Chrome Extension that will put an overlay of the timer over the game allowing you to control the timer without taking your eyes off the action.
See the Online Gaming page for more info on both the chrome extension and the next feature, VP and Money Tracking.
Track VP and Money
You can track Victory Points and Money using the timer. This is meant primarily for online games where handling VP and money tokens with the mouse can be tedius. As such, it is fully integrated into the Chrome Extension.
All transactions are shown in a log, so you can keep track of who has done what and when.
You can enter formulas like 3*6-9 and the Shared Game Timer will do the calculations for
you. It will even store the formula which can be seen when hovering over the log entry,
making it easy to notice when someone
When a game is finished, you can choose to fill out a score sheet. You can quickly add scoring categories that are then available for all players to fill in, and the timer sums up the final score.
Digitizing the end-game scoring takes away from the tactile feel of a board game, so again, this feature is more intended for online gaming, but you are free to use it any way you like. 🙂
All you need is a device with a browser (i.e. any phone or computer will work.) There is no need to install anything, making it super-easy to get started.
You can install the app if you want to use the timer in full-screen. It is done directly from the browser. You can then launch the app like you'd start any other app on your phone. Android users may also install it from the Play Store.
To join a game that someone has created, just go to the game link with your browser to sign in as a player. An anonymous account is created automatically, tied to your device.
If you want to use multiple devices but have them all be the same player, then you must sign in so the app can know that it is 'the same person'.
Have friends who don't want to trouble themselves with signing in on their own device? Simply give them a name and add them as a hot-seat player. They will of course have to share somebody else's device, or perhaps use a bluetooth remote.
Playing games far away with no wifi? No worries. The app works offline, but you will need to add everyone as hot-seat players.
We welcome all feedback!