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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

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Zzzzz
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I have been watching a lot of news about this years CES (consumer electronic show) show in Las Vegas, and found this interesting item, enjoy!

http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/ces/entertaible-lcdbased-board-gaming-fro...

While this little item wont be cheap enough for us DIYers to use, it gives great hope for the advancement of games in the near future!

And sadly, I had a similar idea, though no where as cool as what Phillips has done!

Nandalf
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

now this is amazing! but im pretty sure most gamers have wished this before- i know i have; we once used a friends 19" LCD flat screen laid down to play some dungeoncrawlers, but wasn't touchscreen. only problem is that it could put an end to conventional board games, well i think so anyway.

Dralius
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

I have a feeling i will be a long time before those will fit the average board game $20-$40 price range.

I have seen electronics introduced into board games in many ways over the last 30 years. I have yet to see them improve gaming; so far it’s been all gimmicks.

DSfan
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

Those look neat although I bet it costs a lot of money both to produce and buy. I could see it introducing new concepts to the board gaming world, but it will be awhile before anybody does anything great with it because it probably takes some programming skills to actually create a board.

Justin

Rick-Holzgrafe
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

DSfan wrote:
it will be awhile before anybody does anything great with it because it probably takes some programming skills to actually create a board.

There's lots of programming talent around; that shouldn't be a problem.

But if all it does is display a board, it's useless. Board games need bits. The photo and text I saw indicate that it can track the locations of physical pieces placed and moved atop the playing surface, which is cool, but...

...how many of your favorite games share the same bits? If there are physical pieces involved, then either they have to be generic or you have to bring a particular game's bits to the LCD board in order to play the game. And if you're going to do that, why not just bring a cardboard board?

Now we've all seen our favorite board games implemented for our PCs, right? But this is different -- when you play on your desktop PC, your opponents are either computers or people who can't see your screen. If you're all gathered around the same table/screen, and the screen is the only place where game info is displayed or held, then you can't hide any information. Some games are okay with that, but many are not.

So I think we're left with added functionality as the only real use for such a board. Trivially it could track scores and enforce rules, although the latter is not necessarily good, as it precludes house rules. Better would be games where the computer program can solve problems that are difficult or insoluble with ordinary boards and bits: randomized modular board layouts that guarantee balance, reacting to player moves based on information that none of the players have, intelligent non-player behaviors.

But what that really sounds like is a horizontal, multi-player video game (which is not a new idea). So in the end, I'm not impressed. The technology is cool and may have interesting applications, but I don't really see it as a board game technology. Of course I could be wrong: maybe my imagination is just impoverished. If so, I'd be delighted to be shown up. Somebody dazzle me!

IngredientX
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

I think the best role for electronics to play is as a truly impartial referee, keeping certain information hidden from players, but still allowing that information to impact the rest of the game.

Stop Thief! is a great example of this. The players have to deduce the movements of an invisible thief across the board. A gadget knows where the thief is, and the players have to track his movements across the city in order to make their guesses. It's Scotland Yard with a computer player, but a well-implemented use of electronics in a board game, IMHO.

As far as killing off conventional board games, I don't think that'll happen until LCD screens cost only a tiny amount more than regular boards to produce. Until then, our hobby has relatively little to worry about. :)

chowdah
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

Best implimintation is if it came with a stylus and worked like the touch screen on a Gameboy DS.

doho123
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

You can easily hide information using polarizing filters on the glass. I know a salesperson who worked for a company that did just this.

At the major Casino/gaming show two years ago, this company (3M maybe, or maybe they just did the touch screen part) was showing off their large LCD touchscreen by putting it on a table top of a nice wood cabinet and playing Texas Hold'em. Each of the four player seats were at a corner of the table, and the corners had polarizing filters, which allowed only the player at the corner to see their hold cards. Pretty ingenious, and a cheap solution to a tough problem.

It drew a crowd, with a lot of people wondering when it would be in casinos, at which point the sales guy would tell them "It's not a for sale game, it's just showing off our technology." And then everyone said "oh" and walked away. (You have to remember that the casino show is filled with many companies showing off touch screen/ flat screen technology).

So, the bigger question is, instead of knocking it, if some company DID come to you and gave you a proposal to create a suite of new games using this technology for $75,000. How would you use it? I can think of a few really interesting applications aside from the typical "oh it'll just keep score for me."

FastLearner
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

These don't have to be nearly as affordable as board games, since the board could be used for an unlimited number of games.

This is precisely what I've been wanting to develop/see developed. I do wonder, though, whether they're actually tracking the specific pieces or if it's more of a touch-screen thing where you pick up a piece and the next "touch" indicates where it is on the screen, which is obviously prone to a lot of trouble.

A buddy of mine worked out some electronics with me for tracking piece movement and position with rfid tags, but the rfid scanners just weren't precise enough to do actual triangulation (which is to say that radio waves travel so quickly that there's no measurable difference in time between two different readings of the strength of an rfid bounced signal).

I just need a faster than light computer!

Emphyrio
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

It seems to me this would be a boon for board game manufacturers, if it ever becomes widespread. The board is a significant part of the cost to produce a board game; if you could just download a board into your LCD table, manufacturers could just sell the rest of the bits (pawns, markers, cards, etc.) at lower prices (or with better margins).

It could also expand the range of possibilities for board games. It would be ideal for a game like RoboRally or Fomula De, where having a large number of different boards is part of the appeal. Beyond that, you could have boards that change dynamically based on events in the game. Railroad-type games leap to mind here, but also imagine the following:
- A wargame where weather conditions, supply lines, and controlled territory can be shown right on the board
- A tactical-scale game (military, superheroes, monsters) where buildings or other large board features can be demolished, altered, or created
- A game where players explore a randomly-generated board, seeded with appropriate inhabitants/items. Of course, you can do this with cards or tiles, but they have to be pretty generic in order to match up, and seeding it is tough.

But unless this finds a mass market application (casino games?), I think it's unlikely to catch on.

Gogolski
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

Dralius wrote:
I have a feeling i will be a long time before those will fit the average board game $20-$40 price range.

I think it will rather be used as a hardware-component for games. You have the electronic bord, which is some sort of console. The game is some kind of software (on a cartrigde) that you put in the boards.

Every game for the board will have a 'cheaper' version (in which the pawns and cards and stuff are all electronic) and an 'expensive' version that has cards and special pawns that are recognised by the board.

I somehow don't like this very much. It would be great as a designer-aid, but the way it feels to me, it will only be used to revitalise the horible hordes of "NO!!-games"... (Monopoly, life, and the rest of that family.)

It just looks like an expensive rich-kid-gadget.

Cheese!

CDRodeffer
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

This is super cool. If it were (quite a bit) larger, and could be made durably enough, this kind of thing could revolutionize board gaming.

Clark

Zzzzz
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

CDRodeffer wrote:
This is super cool. If it were (quite a bit) larger, and could be made durably enough, this kind of thing could revolutionize board gaming.

Clark

I agree that this could revolutionize board gaming in time, but I have to agree with Gogolski too!

This technology needs to be implemented in just the right way as to not hurt the boardgame industry. They need to make sure they dont kill the physical interaction of a boardgame. The player interaction is also imporant, if they were to take this concept to include a networking of multiple boards so players could play from remote locations, it would not be the same thing!

Also it is still very limited on what it can do. I cant imagine a *3D*ish game like Heroscape being played on one of these things.

I just like that idea that some big boys like Philips are trying to research and develop board game related technologies! Just shows that gaming is alive and even the big boys want to make an impact!

jwarrend
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

This is a very cool concept! I do agree with Gogolski that the most likely implementation of such an idea will be souped-up Monopoly variants, which is a shame, because there's a lot of potential for "our" games as well.

One clear benefit would be state-tracking. Picture a conquest game in which players gain control of regions and mark them with ownership markers. With this technology, the entire territory could change color to the color of the owner, giving a nice overview of who owns what. Obviously, the possibilities here are tremendous!

Another real benefit could be a board whose scale can change during the game. I'm working on an archaeology-themed game right now, and it would be fantastic if the game could start at the macro-level where you're hopping around the globe but the board could also "zoom in" to show the actual archaeological site. There's just no way to do this currently.

Another cool technology that may be even more promising is E-ink. That technology is different in that the pixels retain their state after the device is turned off; the device only requires power for changing state. I bet it's probably also cheaper than a game-board size LCD display, but I'm not sure about that one.

Either way, very cool technology!

-Jeff

DanogNellows
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

This idea should be incorporated into one of the upcoming monthly design
contest. See who could use it the most innovatively.

DN

FastLearner
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

The E-ink thing (and its competitors) is finally coming to market in a big way, icnluding an ebook reader from Sony at the CES this week. I'm very excited about its possibilities for boardgames.

Sebastian
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

Dralius wrote:
I have a feeling i will be a long time before those will fit the average board game $20-$40 price range.

I have seen electronics introduced into board games in many ways over the last 30 years. I have yet to see them improve gaming; so far it’s been all gimmicks.

I think that Ravensburger's 'The Island' allowed some interesting mechanics which were otherwise not possible, so I disagree with you on that score. In general, though, you are probably right.

Hambone
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

Quote:
This idea should be incorporated into one of the upcoming monthly design
contest. See who could use it the most innovatively.

I had some comments on how it could be used, but now I might want to keep them close to my chest. The video on the site shows all kinds of interaction with the players and pawns. My mind is racing...

Brykovian
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

Hambone wrote:
Quote:
This idea should be incorporated into one of the upcoming monthly design
contest. See who could use it the most innovatively.

I had some comments on how it could be used, but now I might want to keep them close to my chest. The video on the site shows all kinds of interaction with the players and pawns. My mind is racing...

Please go ahead and share them.

It's pretty unlikely that I'd use such a big task as the subject of a GDS Challenge ... I think it's more important for everyone to discuss the ideas that are being brought to mind by the potential of this type of device.

-Bryk

larienna
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

Since we are talking about electronics and computer software here, there is the question of marketing here. Are hey going to put this device open for everybody.

If Phillips release a generic board that can be used by game companies for classic game like monopoly and life, they might force these companies to actually pay for a development kit for their device. Then they can place a patent on their device, so that nobody could make an open source version of that device.

Which mean that we, independent programmers, could not make software for this device. We will have to use hackers or people to reverse engeneer the device to know how to use the device. And even then, I am not sure that making a commercial game this way would be legal.

phpbbadmin
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Wow!

This new device sounds cool! I imagine they could couple it with a some sort of storage memory reader (S/D or Compact Flash). These removable disks are inexpensive in smaller sizes (64 megs are about $10 retail now).

So the unit might have the screen, a built in speaker (definitely with an option to plug in external speakers), the memory slot, and of course the electronics.

30" square is not a bad size.. It's not huge, but it's not too tiny either. I imagine you would buy the "console" for hefty chunk of change. Considering the cost of a 30" flat panel with touch screen (or some other technology), it would probably cost around $800 retail. So in my eyes, this is completely impractical. Maybe the same technology with e-paper implementation would be more feasible.

I imagine when you bought a game it would come with the cartridge/memory card, the instructions and the necessary components. What a cool concept.

FY I folks; We've discussed mixing electronics with board games before.
Try these two threads:
Electronic Components on Paper
Electronic Board Games: Further Discussion

-Darke

ddyer
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think Xbox, not board games

Almost any board game that is available online could be played in person, and pretty conveniently, using an ad-hoc cluster of wireless laptops, but I'm pretty sure that's only happening among a very small group of ultrageeks.

This thing should be thought of as an Xbox with four joysticks, or as a next generation of those bar machines you pump quarters into, not as a serious platform for board games

Even if you assume everyone already has the hardware, it costs a lot of money to develop game software as a commercial venture. Popular titles with proven track records might be commercially viable, but if you're working on a new title, cardboard is a lot cheaper than software.

Emphyrio
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

Quote:
... if you're working on a new title, cardboard is a lot cheaper than software.

Well, that depends. The marginal cost of software is practically zero, especially if you can distribute it online, whereas the marginal cost of a physical board is significant.

I assume you're talking about the cost to develop the software. If you (the designer) are a programmer or can teach yourself to program, then your only capital expense is the cost to purchase/license the development tools. For a PC or Internet game, this is zero, but of course for this platform they might decide to impose prohibitive licensing fees.

If you want professional-looking artwork, you may also have to hire an artist/graphic designer, but this is true for cardboard as well.

Hedge-o-Matic
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

Now, I'm no luddite, but if this were truely the next evolutionary step of boardgames, then the 1970's would have shown the way. Stop Thief, Dark Tower, Dungeons and Dragons, and many more all utilized the admittedly weak processing power of the day to "automate" certain elements of the boardgame experience. Given that these were just flashes in the proverbial pan, I don't see this gaming table taking off. There's just too many factors against it for it to become standard. And, without that, there'll be no developer support and the price will remain prohibitively high. Board games are printed and cut because it's still the best compromise solution.

That being said, I personally think that electronic boards would clash unpleasantly with other, non-electronic componants. Cards? Dice? Okay, you could automate the dice, but a video solution for the cards would be clumsy at best, and hardly cheaper than printing cardstock.

Also, with all of the competition for attention video media pump into modern society, I think the silent, unlit boardgame is a welcome relief. LCDs are not the answer to every display need.

And, functionality aside, there's the aesthetic element of a boardgame. Now, I'm picturing abstract games here, but the sentiment applies to all board games. Though abstract boards would be perfectly suitable to display on such a unit, sooner or later the thought will occur to someone: since were displaying the board, why not the pieces as well? And then we're basically playing a table-unit video game, the same as bars and restarants had in the 70's.

Is this progress? I think the past few decades have shown that this is not the way to go. New technology isn't always a step forward.

Fos
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

FastLearner wrote:
A buddy of mine worked out some electronics with me for tracking piece movement and position with rfid tags, but the rfid scanners just weren't precise enough to do actual triangulation (which is to say that radio waves travel so quickly that there's no measurable difference in time between two different readings of the strength of an rfid bounced signal).

This is an interesting solution to what you describe, using a grid of wires embedded below the surface and a projector hung above for graphic feedback. This particular application is electronic music, but I could see it for games.

FastLearner
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Phillips Create New 30" LCD Gameboard!!

Sweet!

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