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Board games with LEDs and Electronics

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Anonymous

Just bouncing an idea off of you guys. What is the feasability of using a tri colored LED (red/green/yellow) all linked to a small battery for about 30 spaces on a game board. (IE 30 LEDS) Has anyone done anything like this (using LEDS) embedded in a board. I imagine this would drive the price of production of the boards up, but can you forsee any other things that would make this idea unfeasable?

Thalor42

prophx
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From a buyer's perspective...

As a buyer I normally shy away from electronics in games. To me that is the elegance of board and card games... they do not need any outside source other than the simplicity of themselves to create an experience for the player. Plus, electronics always break. I leave the electronics to the video and computer games.

Anonymous
Board games with LEDs and Electronics

I have been thinking about using LEDs for one of my games. I found that a PIC chip can control the LEDs and can be bought for about 1.50-6 dollars. 20 single color LEDs cost $2.59.

I wouldn't see production cost being very high. The larger cost will be development of the game. Programming a PIC is not an easy/cheap task.

For manufacturing the boards, you would have to solder the LEDs to wires or some type of printed circuitry. Typically a circuit board is used, but you may be able to print circuitry onto cardboard and sandwich it in between two pieces of cardboard.

I found a microcontroller starter kit here: http://www.parallax.com/html_pages/products/kits/starter_kits.asp but haven't tried it out yet. The actually chips in this starter kit are $45/each. This chip is overkill if you only need to control LEDs. A better chip to use would be a simple PIC chip: http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&product%5Fid=9...

Jonathan

Anonymous
Board games with LEDs and Electronics

Fair enough. But apart from this LED system, how would you indicate that a space is Green/Yellow/Red without having a ton of "chits"

Thalor42

Anonymous
Board games with LEDs and Electronics

thalor42 wrote:
Fair enough. But apart from this LED system, how would you indicate that a space is Green/Yellow/Red without having a ton of "chits"

You would only need one chit per a space. On the board print a green/yellow /red area in each space. Then use a generic chit to mark the current color of the space.

Jonathan

Brykovian
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Board games with LEDs and Electronics

jhager wrote:
You would only need one chit per a space. On the board print a green/yellow /red area in each space. Then use a generic chit to mark the current color of the space.

Or use a cube with green/yellow/red sides.

-Bryk

Anonymous
Board games with LEDs and Electronics

What about sliders to indicate the color? I liked the idea of the colored spaces, perhaps a slider to show where rather than a chit....

phpbbadmin
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Board games with LEDs and Electronics

thalor42 wrote:
What about sliders to indicate the color? I liked the idea of the colored spaces, perhaps a slider to show where rather than a chit....

Yeah cool. Or even a little three color wheel that you could rotate with the board having a window that showed the current color. Might be tedious if you had a lot of spaces, but probably easier than doing LEDs. Hmmm perhaps even a 'trap door' type device that you flipped to the appropriate of the three colored sides. Of course the board would have to be raised slightly to allow for clearance of the flipping. Hmmm, how about that colorform type material on a vinyl board?

Pardon my ideas, I love gimmicks. =)

-Darke

sedjtroll
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Board games with LEDs and Electronics

Darkehorse wrote:
Or even a little three color wheel that you could rotate with the board having a window that showed the current color.

This reminds me of the 'spinner/arrow" thread which recently sprung up, and your suggestion in that thread.

The board could have 2 layers, with a circle under each space as you describe, and a window in each space- at least the ones that change colors.

So along the edge of the board would be the edge of the color wheels which you turn to set the colors of each variable space individually.

So what could this be used for? One thing that comes to mind is traffic lights. The board could have different paths, and at certain times (when a 6 is rolled for example, if dice are usedfor movement each turn) the lights would change, limiting which paths are available.

Another option would be to have a large wheel in between the layers, with colors printed in strategic locations, and at the end of each round, or at whatever time it's necessary, the whoe board changes to the next setting. In the aove traffic example that could mean that there are lights all over the board, and when you move the disc 1 'click' all the Greens either stay Green or turn to Yellow, all the Yellows turn to Red, and all the reds either stay Red or change to Green. This would be pre-planned, but not all the lights would have to turn red at the same time or whatever.

For variety in games there could be (a) plenty of 'clicks' on the disc so the board isn't the same all the time, and (b) extra or doube sided discs with different configurations on them.

- Seth

Anonymous
Board games with LEDs and Electronics

The colors are just to indicate what level the space is at. Nothing quite as fancy as the stop light (just yet). We may have concentric rings on the board that could only be accessable via the "light" of the space though.

Thalor42

prophx
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Board games with LEDs and Electronics

The idea I had corresponding somewhat to a previous post regarding having a chit mark the color was to print the board with all of the spaces colored red (or whatever is the most common color). Then have 30 chits with yellow on one side and green on the other which will be placed over the red and flipped/removed when needed. This way if the board gets bumped the color is still face side up and there will be no guessing as to what color was in what space. Not sure how often the colors are going to change in a game. If alot, this may not be a good solution.

s2alexan
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Board games with LEDs and Electronics

PICs are great microcontrollers. They are cheap (<$1 in volume) and easy to program - development costs would be low. In my job, I train co-op students in a couple of weeks, and they're programming PICs for the rest of the term without a problem.

The problem is, they only have a few outputs (for the cheapest ones, maybe around 5 or 6). So you can only control 5 or 6 LEDs. You'll have to use some kind of digital multiplexer to control 20.

You need a circuit board to mount the PIC and mux. Also don't forget the power supply (maybe $3-4 each if you buy a few hundred of them).

Plus there's assembly - wiring up all the LEDs, putting everything together.

Finally, what about the inputs? Is there just a timer, or will people have to push a button? If each region can be turned on/off arbitrarily, then you'll need quite complicated inputs.

Ravensburger's "King Arthur" game is electronic - it used conductive ink and conductive pieces for the inputs, and a voice chip for the output. This, I think, is a much easier way to do it.

Don't let me discourage you - I believe electronic table-top games are the future, the perfect hybrid between video games and traditional board games. But LEDs on a board with a PIC processor is hard to do.

Anonymous
Board games with LEDs and Electronics

Well the lights wont change ALOT and I'd need a way to switch from one to the other and off.... 4 positions.

OFF Green Yellow Red

I thought of a single button on each space to do it. But I cant find any buttons that control that way. Can anyone point me at a place that would sell them? I'd like to try that method, if only for the experience.

s2alexan
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Board games with LEDs and Electronics

thalor42 wrote:
I thought of a single button on each space to do it. But I cant find any buttons that control that way. Can anyone point me at a place that would sell them? I'd like to try that method, if only for the experience.

www.digikey.com is the best electronics supply place around, IMO. It's definitely the biggest one that's interested in dealing in small volumes. They sell almost everything in single quantities, their support is great, and the price scales pretty well (so you know you can buy the same part at a good price in quantities of 1,000 from the same supplier).

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