Which camp are you? Tech in board games or No?
For me and my family, one of our main reasons for playing board games is to unplug from the digital world, so I'm really uncomfortable with the notion of technology in board games. Even though I was a video game developer for over a decade, I just don't get it so I decided to explore it further.
Board game technology, in my view, falls into 3 main categories:
Even if it's not something we do when board gaming, I can appreciate using technology when playing board games if it's something that helps you play the game, for example tracking score or something like that. That said, I will avoid board games that require technology to play. Like I said, I’m playing to unplug from, not reconnect to, technology. And I really don't get playing a digital version of a board game. If I’m going to play something digital then it's going to be a video game where the gameplay is less abstract and I'm flying a star fleet ship using my xbox controller or using my sword to slay a giant, not drafting a card, and playing it for an action. Having said that I can see why it might appeal to solo gamers as the tech takes care of all the AI rules and housekeeping, or they are playing the games on their iPad as they pass time on a flight to a game con but I'm personally not a solo gamer, I play board games socially.
As I'm writing this post, a Take your Chits video popped up in my newsfeed by Christian Kang discussing this very topic and advocating that we be open to the notion of tech in board games. I've watched the video, Christian Kang is as entertaining as ever and he certainly gives food for thought.
Has he changed my world view? No, not really - my inner nerd does not want to disrupt the cardboard experience. But wait, I do love shiny new tech and now my inner geek is at odds with my inner nerd.
As a creator, I don't see us making games that require our players to use tech, we make the kinds of games we want to play and right now I don't want to play those kinds of board games that require an app. And if gamers wanted a digital version of our board games then we would need to explore that possibility.
I wouldn't want to see the analogue experience disappearing and I kind of think that we need to come up with a new genre of gaming for those games that merge the digital and analogue experience because once something is digital it's no longer a board game. What do you think?