Skip to Content

Is this the future of board games?

18 replies [Last post]
p92363
Offline
Joined: 11/17/2014
X3M
X3M's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/28/2013
Reminds me of an old video

Reminds me of an old video game for the pc.
It was very popular 20 years ago in Spain.(They seem to be from Spain) You walked turnbased through terrain and had to deal with aliens.

The game feels like a board game.
However.
I do not call this a board game.

BubbleChucks
Offline
Joined: 06/07/2012
I think we will see more and

I think we will see more and more augmented reality games, providing that the concept finds favor with game players. Anything that adds to the experience of tabletop gaming through innovation is a good thing in my eyes.

In relation to X Com and this game, as applications for the concept of integrating mobile technology with analogue components, I’m somewhat on the fence. I don’t really see them as adding to the experience through exciting innovation and a part of me feels that they are using technology as a design crutch that stifles innovation in other areas.

In a game with physical components some of the hardest design problems are created by the restrictions imposed by the physical components themselves. Something as simple as card based information that can only be viewed by select players can be a very difficult problem to solve.

Imagine if you will a card that has two piece of information. One piece can be seen by a player who has satisfied game condition 1 and the other piece can only be viewed by a player that has satisfied game condition 2. This creates a design challenge because both pieces of information are visible when a player looks at a card. And you only want them to see one of the pieces of information.

One physical solution would be to have two different decks, which doubles the card requirement and production cost.

An integrated technology solution would be to use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) squares or another type of data alignment/retrieval symbol. The player scans the card and the relevant information is given to them. In the same way that these games require the input of information or the scanning of a game piece and the board as a database search query.

All well and good, but the tabletop components have been reduced to what are in essence glorified marker boards. More to the point, the reason for including the physical components is no longer linked to necessity. The whole process could be carried out by the mobile technology alone. Their value is more aesthetic than practical.

Now, from the perspective of a publisher this is wonderful. The game has an added gimmick, production costs are lower, design problems are far easier to solve and game content which is normally linked to physical media can be more extensive and rapidly updated at no cost. A software update is far cheaper than printing new cards.

More importantly, the retail price of an app is commonly $1-$5 where a large board game can easily command $50. It could also be argued that the board game sector is less competetive than the cutthroat app sector.

So instead of marketing yet another variant of a popular app you could add a few physical components (linked to positional recording and score tracking)and release a board game version. In return you experience less competition, the components have added aesthetic appeal and are more expensive to copy, the game has a higher selling price and you are potentially hailed as an innovator.

So, as a publisher do I make an app or do I add a physical marker board and a bunch of components that allow me to raise the retail price of my product tenfold?

And this is my fence sitting problem, where is the line between an app supported by physical components and a board game enlivened by mobile technology.

For me the difference is necessity. If I can’t play the game without mobile technology it is no longer a tabletop game it’s an app. Conversely, if I can play the game without the app it is a tabletop game supported by additional content associated with the optional inclusion of mobile technology.

I’m all for innovation in designing, but digital crutches can or could have the exact opposite effect, the reduction of innovation in game design.

By giving designers the potential for easy solutions, to the difficult problems that can be associated with the employment of analogue components, these games require less thought on the part of the designers. If these types of games become the norm it could lead to a reduction in innovation as a stimulus for creative thinking, eventually leading to lower innovation in game design as a whole.

It’s the same principle that could be prescribed to video games. In the distant past designers had to work with strict limitations. How much can you cram into 64K. This led to games with inspiring game play and interesting mechanisms.

In recent times, with the explosion of processing power, it could be argued that the emphasis has shifted towards making games with boring repetitive examples of game play that look pretty. Graphics have taken precedence over game play and the truly innovative games that are currently being produced are by indie companies that don’t have big production teams and budgets, forcing them to focus on innovative game play as their selling point.

So, while I welcome the integration of the old and new to increase player immersion and the overall playing experience I’m not really inspired by the first examples we have seen.

I like things such as the werewolf app that replaces the moderator, because it adds to the theme, removes the need for a moderator and it is entirely optional. Although it could be argued that if it had been introduced before nobody would have had the incentive to develop a werewolf game without a moderator and we would have been denied the Resistance.

A more current example would be the recently released Alchemists, which appears to be a multi-player variation on the hugely popular Alchemy app by Andrey “Zed” Zaikin. In this game you can either use the app or one charitable person can forgo the experience to be the games master. Perhaps we will see a future game that capitalizes on the intriguing mechanic of combining unknown resources without the need for an app or a games master.

In relation to X-Com and the Outsiders I have somewhat less enthusiasm than I do for the Werewolf app integration. I would rather pay $5 for a bluetooth multiplayer X-Com app than $50 for the board game. And while I can see the “ease of use” app integration imparts to the complex mechanics of war gaming I’m not a wargamer so Outsiders holds no interest for me at all.

Beggarking
Beggarking's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/09/2014
Most of the electronic

Most of the electronic interaction I've seen so far seems really gimmicky. Gimmicks can do well in the market because of the viral nature of how Boardgames get exposed, so that may be why these are popping up. But there also seems to be a vocal segment of the board-gamer population that is very anti-electronics.

I think there is potential here, particularly when it comes to simplifying the interface to complex mechanics, or managing board state, or acting as a gm/arbiter. I don't see it replacing the face-to-face interactions that many playing the hobby crave.

Hook
Hook's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/22/2014
Yes.

Short answer is Yes (imo). We will see much more of this. The linked project is really cool but is more like a turnbased digital game on your phone instead of you laptop - not really adding to the board game experience. With more board and less phone it would be cool .

Well thats until Oculus headsets are in every home :-D

DifferentName
DifferentName's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/08/2013
Board?

Why use a board? The game seems so completely connected to the device, that they don't seem to keep anything that makes people choose board games over video games. It would probably be better as a normal video game, but it would lose it's exciting gimmick if they did that.

Masacroso
Masacroso's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/05/2014
Today I installed and

Today I installed and automatically uninstalled a copy of XCOM Within. Terrible bullshit.

I cant believe that the future of boardgames is something close to a tactical combat game.

ruy343
Offline
Joined: 07/03/2013
The big deal

The real thing that this system provides that can't really be done in any other way is that you, with your phone, have a specific line-of-sight that can be dynamic, and other players can move and interact with objects that are in the game environment, but you're still face-to-face with your friends, not each individually facing a computer screen or something. However, I think that if they're going to do something like this, they should latch on to the tabletop aspect a bit more. Perhaps by having physical tokens that they can interact with (like a currency, etc.) that combines the two elements (physical and virtual), or taking real objects from the table by reaching a spot digitally (capture points, artifacts, what-have-you), would increase the appeal of this merger.

A plus is that the digital medium grants an endless array of possible scenarios, particularly if the developers are savvy and reconnect the pieces together from previously-released boards. It would be an endlessly variable, 3D map. That's pretty cool, by any estimate.

The other plus that this has is its low price point. It's really not expensive to spend $8 for the app and buy a standardized board to point your phones at, although each player must pay. Physical board games are a big, one-time investment, but you never have to pay again when someone new joins the gaming group.

However, I'm not a huge fan of their artwork... It's just not my thing.

Canyoncl
Canyoncl's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/05/2014
Golem Arcana

Today Watch It Played released a video on Golem Arcana
Link if you want it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZkHvNuCQKY&list=UUGK9n7svoIjuaQfRIBJXkqQ

It seems the BIGGEST benefit of the integration of apps into board games is the fact that the app can do all the calculations for you, So it can track health, rolls, terrain, LOS, for you. Some people LIKE to calculate that stuff them self, which is fine. But honestly I think we WILL see more of this in the future. Just my 2 cents.

kos
Offline
Joined: 01/17/2011
Greater than the sum

I agree with others above that there will be more hybrid board/electronic games to come. The poor to mediocre games will be nothing more than gimmicks. They will either be electronic games with a tacked on physical component, or physical games with a tacked on electronic component. But a really great hybrid will be greater than the sum of the parts.

The electronic side needs to bring something to the table that the physical game cannot bring on its own. For example:
- Fog of war / Hidden information
- Intelligent AI
- Automated calculations
- Impartial arbitration
- Simple interface to a complex underlying model
- Multiple views of the same components
- Worldwide connectivity

At the same time, the physical game needs to bring something to the table that the electronic media cannot bring on its own.

That said, I can't see hybrids replacing purely physical games any time soon, any more than I can see them replacing purely electronic games any time soon. It's a market niche which can co-exist with both, and I hope that it is a niche which inspires some brilliant games that could not be played any other way.

Regards,
kos

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Quote:Why use a board? I

Quote:
Why use a board?

I don't see the need of a board either. Their game seems perfectly playable without a board. Personally, I would have used augment reality to hide things on the board. For example, let say there are invisible monsters, you need to activate a special scope and use your mobile device to see where your enemies are. That could have been interesting

Quote:
Today I installed and automatically uninstalled a copy of XCOM Within. Terrible bullshit.

XCOM the board game, or the video game? The video game is just awesome. The Board game, I'll need to try it, it's intriguing me.

jrc5639
Offline
Joined: 11/19/2013
Hmm

video games and board games have very different advantages.

Video games can be played alone at your pleasure. They generally give more content in terms of level, troops whatever. They are fast, for the most part. Finally, they require little space. The simulate real time events better. The trivial tasks are managed for you.

Board games, have glorious components, which are just fun t setup and use. Board games are far more socially interesting. Board games have a wider variety of feels to them. Knowing details about action resolutions seems to make strategy deeper (if the game is a strategy game).

I am okay with them trying to combine their strengths. What I worry about is that they will combine weaknesses instead of strengths. Instead of getting the advantages of both your will get the advantages of neither.

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Quote: What I worry about is

Quote:
What I worry about is that they will combine weaknesses instead of strengths. Instead of getting the advantages of both your will get the advantages of neither.

I think this is pretty much what this game idea is. Theer are other games (not many yet) that combined mobile device and it seems much better done.

X3M
X3M's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/28/2013
Quote:Board games, have

Quote:
Board games, have glorious components, which are just fun t setup and use. Board games are far more socially interesting. Board games have a wider variety of feels to them. Knowing details about action resolutions seems to make strategy deeper (if the game is a strategy game).

I agree.
They are more 3D than any video game. There is also the touch, the feel (sometimes even the smell)
And indeed, some board games supply us with much much more strategy than any video game could offer (AI technical that is).

Garwyx
Offline
Joined: 10/28/2014
It is a cool concept but I

It is a cool concept but I like to hold physical items (tokens, cards, chits, characters) when I play a board game. Digitising board games removes coziness.

DifferentName
DifferentName's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/08/2013
Cool

Canyoncl wrote:
Today Watch It Played released a video on Golem Arcana
Link if you want it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZkHvNuCQKY&list=UUGK9n7svoIjuaQfRIBJXkqQ

Now that looks cool. I just skimmed through the video, but that looks much better than the kickstarter mentioned in the original post. The figures and cards give you the great physicality you want from a board game. Not just seeing 3D graphics moving around on a screen. At first glance, that looks like exactly what you would want when adding a digital component to a board game (depending on how well they mix).

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
Very COOL

DifferentName wrote:
Now that looks cool.

Personally I am interested in the technology: how does the stylus know where you are pointing it??? Must be some kind of chip technology under each attack and terrain tile. I wonder what this kind of stuff COSTS to produce!

It's cool because it feels like a "board game" - but it's also digital.

I'm not certain that the technology is *properly used*... Seems like a bit of overkill... But the CALCULATION portion is sort of interesting.

However I seem to AGREE with most of the other members: we'll be seeing more of this in the upcoming future! Most definitely.

UPDATE: For MORE INFO on the Technology (LOL) check this link:

http://www.techedg.com/2014/09/03/5451/golem-arcana/

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
Golem Arcana!

WOW I got to thinking how AMAZING this could be for "Titan" a tile-laying board game. I had been exploring tiles with a Swiss Toy Maker and he showed me what could be done with different types of wood. Long story short, this micro technology would be awesome for the game...

Instead of having to worry about what needs calculation (Micro management), it would be possible to have the CPU tell you what are the possibilities or odds are.

Very interesting, trying to get back in touch with my Swiss Toy Maker! :)

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
Ease of accessibility

What I would like is for this "Stylus" Company to make real ease of use of their hardware... Personally having seen (a little) what the stylus allows you to do (integrated with iPad), I'm on the side of "every game should use the stylus"! :D

Okay maybe not abstracts... But euros and card games alike (like CCGs) could really benefit from simplified rules because of technology.

Anyhow, I guess it's because I'm impressed that you can target the miniatures base and the stylus understands! Wow!!! ;)

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut