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The Use of Apps for Board Games

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02 May 2019 10:11 #296397 by Shellhead
My primary objection to boardgames that require apps is battery life. If the game lasts 90 minutes, my battery might be low or dead by the end of the game. Two app-based games in a row just wouldn't work unless another player is willing to drain their phone, so I hope that boardgame apps remain a novelty. Plugging my phone into a charger during the game is not actually a practical solution, as nearly all my gaming takes place at tables situated well away from electrical outlets. Moving the furniture around just to play a game would be a hassle, and so would scuttling back and forth from table to outlet. And most public gaming venues lack sufficient outlets for every table to play an app-based boardgame.
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02 May 2019 10:32 #296401 by Colorcrayons
My objection to electronic integration has a little bit to do with obsolescence and the struggle of data being available in perpetuity.

Although it mostly has to do with my growing hatred of electronics.

Facebook, texts messages, and various other distractions that cause this society to become Ritalin addicted consumers of learned ADHD habits.

I just don't want that mixed into by boardgames. I play boardgames for a reason. Because I don't want to play video games.

Analog Space Hulk has already been made obsolete by the digital version called Space Hulk Tactics. And frankly, the digital version kicks its pants.

But I still play the analog version. Because I want to interact with humans in a real way, rather than have the experience filtered by an electronic device.

If that means being called a Luddite, then so be it.

So no, I won't be mixing my media. The argument surrounding how the digital data will still be around later actually makes me sad.

I actually want these sorts of games to become object lessons in what not to do, rather than keep trying to force the different types of media to somehow merge together in an ugly mutation.

The quicker these type of games and their money grabbing designs all die, the quicker we can sit across from each other, undistracted, and appreciate the company we are in.
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02 May 2019 10:38 - 02 May 2019 12:33 #296402 by RobertB

Shellhead wrote: My primary objection to boardgames that require apps is battery life. If the game lasts 90 minutes, my battery might be low or dead by the end of the game. Two app-based games in a row just wouldn't work unless another player is willing to drain their phone, so I hope that boardgame apps remain a novelty. Plugging my phone into a charger during the game is not actually a practical solution, as nearly all my gaming takes place at tables situated well away from electrical outlets. Moving the furniture around just to play a game would be a hassle, and so would scuttling back and forth from table to outlet. And most public gaming venues lack sufficient outlets for every table to play an app-based boardgame.


Not being sarcastic - that is a minor PITA for Mansions of Madness 2.0. "Crap, I gotta find an extension cord - the laptop is dying." Does the gain outweigh that, though? I've never played MoM 1.0, but IIRC the DM job had the rep of being kind of sucky.

App-assisted boardgames are going to be just like traditional boardgames. Some will be totally great, and worth dragging out the iPad and the charger. Some are going to suck, and won't be worth the $0.02 you spent on electricity. Most will be right in the middle. If a game is the be-all and end-all of gaming for you, figure out some way to deal with the software's life cycle*, or don't figure it out and take your chances with the internet figuring it out for you.

*A coworker attacked this problem by putting all the apps on a cheap Android tablet. And now can't find the tablet. If that show about hoarders is still on the air, he'll probably be on it. There will be goat trails in his house, winding though stacks of half-painted 40K armies.
Last edit: 02 May 2019 12:33 by ubarose. Reason: splitting out discussion from WBaYP

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02 May 2019 21:09 - 02 May 2019 21:13 #296434 by Sevej
On battery, usually I play with my laptop plugged, and used HDMI connection to my TV, and a wireless mouse.

I understand the feel on physical component also. I always refuse playing anything online. It's much more likely for me to play a physical board game with an app than playing through Vassal, or Through the Ages by app.

My main issue with the board game app is... that they're not good enough.

Board games are still mainly designed by board game designers, even those with app support. Therefore, often these apps are very simple, replaceable by cards/tables, etc, and the use of app is only to streamline the gameplay of the game, reduce components and game maintenance. All of these are good things, but not utilizing the true potential of apps.

Now, I know lots of people worry about apps taking over the game, but I think there are ways to have apps perform complex stuff without overshadowing the board game.
Last edit: 02 May 2019 21:13 by Sevej.

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02 May 2019 22:15 #296437 by mc
Replied by mc on topic The Use of Apps for Board Games
I can only echo colorcrayons and Frohike.

I'm not bothered by obsolence - of apps or non-app boardgames - or battery life, or the quality of the apps.

I just am not interested in using them for games, because they don't fit with why I play games in the first place, and their use as upkeep or randomisers also goes against what I want out of games (i.e., if it's that complex that it needs it, i'm out of the territory where I am interested in the design).
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03 May 2019 07:39 #296444 by mtagge
I haven't followed the whole thread. I would just like to point out that I paid for the Arkham Horror Toolkit along with the expansion packs on iOS.

Pulled it out to try and teach the kids. Alas, I can't use it as FFG has decided they don't want to upgrade it to support iOS 11. And why should they? They already got my money. I guess on Android the app might still be fine, but folks assuming that all their apps will continue to work a decade from now are foolish. Maybe I should find and pirate a cracked version. I already paid for it once.
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03 May 2019 08:29 #296449 by charlest

Sevej wrote: On battery, usually I play with my laptop plugged, and used HDMI connection to my TV, and a wireless mouse.

I understand the feel on physical component also. I always refuse playing anything online. It's much more likely for me to play a physical board game with an app than playing through Vassal, or Through the Ages by app.

My main issue with the board game app is... that they're not good enough.

Board games are still mainly designed by board game designers, even those with app support. Therefore, often these apps are very simple, replaceable by cards/tables, etc, and the use of app is only to streamline the gameplay of the game, reduce components and game maintenance. All of these are good things, but not utilizing the true potential of apps.

Now, I know lots of people worry about apps taking over the game, but I think there are ways to have apps perform complex stuff without overshadowing the board game.


Has anyone tried Mask of Anubis/Mask of Moai? It's the best app-driven tabletop game I've seen and very different than these assisted games.

One person wears a VR headset and the app offers a 3D environment for you to look around in. You need to convey the information to the other players at the table and they need to assemble the labyrinth piecemeal. Then you switch and someone else looks through the headset and gets a new randomized area of the tunnels. Eventually, distinguishing clues on the wall/floor will allow you to form a large picture and solve the puzzle.

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03 May 2019 10:47 #296459 by RobertB

mtagge wrote: I haven't followed the whole thread. I would just like to point out that I paid for the Arkham Horror Toolkit along with the expansion packs on iOS.

Pulled it out to try and teach the kids. Alas, I can't use it as FFG has decided they don't want to upgrade it to support iOS 11. And why should they? They already got my money. I guess on Android the app might still be fine, but folks assuming that all their apps will continue to work a decade from now are foolish. Maybe I should find and pirate a cracked version. I already paid for it once.


From what I've read, it's because the Toolkit is 32-bit, and iOS 11 is 64-bit only. Jailbreaking your phone/pad/whatever won't help you, because there is no 32-bit library available.

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