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Author Topic: The future in boardgames?  (Read 1391 times)
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The Rocketman
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« on: April 10, 2010, 08:46:20 AM »

Posting in Daehawk's thread about the golden years of gaming, it became obvious to me that the 90's were special because of the great leaps pc gaming made that decade.

How come board games haven't followed suit? I'm not talking about the mechanics as such, because those have evolved the last 10 years (combining many different dials, cards, tokens and new mechanics). No, I'm talking about the technology. We're still playing with plastic figures on cardboard maps. Now, don't get me wrong, I love that, and I love the 'physical' aspect of those games, but I want to start playing that chess game they played in Star Wars! The one with the moving 3D holograms, and the famous "Let the Wookiee"-win scene!



Isn't technology ready for that? It would be incredibly expensive probably, but we haven't seen any steps in that direction yet... Why not have simple digital calculators, that can do all the book-keeping you have to do in many games involving turns? We can still have cardboard maps and plastic figures, but can't all those little tokens and other fluff be replaced by a streamlined digital display too?
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Turtle
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2010, 09:02:12 AM »

Technology and expense.

We're only now reaching the point where computing power, size, functionality, and general social acceptance of portable regular computer use is the norm.

Give it a few more years to when iPad like devices are common as cell phones, not replacing full computers or even laptops, but having their own niche as all in one portable information devices.

Thankfully, thanks to apple, and the entire smart phone and netbook market, all the tech that's needed for this are being worked on.  But traditional cardboard and plastic boardgames may die out only to be reborn in digital form.
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Chaz
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2010, 05:23:02 PM »

While playing a game on Surface could be neat (the ipad is way too small), the potential interface would also have to have a number of small individual displays to have hidden information.  Something as basic as a hand of cards is unwieldy to do on a single shared display, and without that, the options for mechanics get limited to perfect-information type games, which are in the minority. 

Even with that, I'd still miss the tactile nature of rolling dice or pushing cardboard, wood, and plastic around on a board.

I think the main reason that electronic board games haven't really developed much is because it adds another layer of complication.  To develop a regular board game, you need a designer, artist, and playtesters.  You work out the rules, playtest the mechanics, refine them, and then put together the art.  To do that electronically, you now have to involve coders and QA testers.  You design the mechanics, code implements them, testers verify they work correctly, then you decide if the design works, re-code, re-test, etc.  Then your potential playerbase is limited to those people who have the hardware the game runs on.  With the current cardboard games, if I bring a game over to my parents' or friends' house and they like it, they buy that game.  If it involves buying an electronic device, they probably won't.

Not saying that we won't get there eventually, just that it's a long way off.
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kronovan
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2010, 10:26:07 PM »

I play boardgames against my son every time I'm on biz over the Internet via the Vassal game client. Just about every boardgame we own can be played that way and almost every one of the quality modules was voluntarily made by a fan. Although not nearly as sophisticated as the SW chess game, I consider that a fairly significant advancement in boardgame technology. 3D handheld devices are coming; Ninty has already stated their next handheld will be 3D and no doubt the competition will too. I agree the screen size of a handheld will put limits on how effectively 3D boardgames can be represented, but it's still a big step in the right direction. A decade ago people would have scoffed at the idea of nicely rendered, isometric TBS or RTS games on handhelds, but there's now a decent variety.
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jament
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2010, 03:31:46 PM »

I think the iPad/iPhone Scrabble example is more of what we may see, where you leverage hand-held devices that everyone already uses to become part of the boardgame play. 

Sort of like if you could run Vassal on a central PC or screen to run the main game and had clients running on iPhone, Android and Palm OS for each player's hand or info.  That would keep the technology cost to a minimum and provide accessibility to a large audience.
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