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Apple Games

Has Apple Created the Perfect Board Game Platform? 531

Posted by kdawson
from the triple-word-score dept.
andylim writes "recombu.com is running an interesting piece about how Apple has created a 'Jumanji (board game) platform.' The 9.7-inch multi-touch screen is perfect for playing board games at home, and you could use Wi-Fi or 3G to play against other people when you're on your own. What would be really interesting is if you could pair the iPad with iPhones, 'Imagine a Scrabble iPad game that used iPhones as letter holders. You could hold up your iPhone so that no one else could see your letters and when you were ready to make a word on the Scrabble iPad board, you could slide them on to the board by flicking the word tiles off your iPhone.' Now that would be cool."
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Has Apple Created the Perfect Board Game Platform?

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  • by Pojut (1027544) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:13PM (#30954154) Homepage

    The perfect board game platform is cardboard.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by poetmatt (793785)

      yup. This is just an attempt by apple to make this appealing. The answer is: it's not. There are other apple products more compelling at this price, iphone namely.

      • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:48PM (#30954718)

        This reminds me of the horrifying carnage of the train wreck that was the GameCube + GBA link cable.

        Remember Metroid Prime - you could get some bonus by just connecting Metroid Fusion. And Animal Crossing - just some minigame (again with a bonus incentive) that could easily be presented on the TV instead of on the GBA. Wind Waker - useless except for the ultra-die-hard 100% complete players. Four Swords Adventures or Crystal Chronicles? Yeah, go buy four GBAs, four GameCube link cables, plus the game itself. I bet like Nintendo Apple can't imagine how out of a set of four people one of them could not use an iPhone.

        Forgive me for being skeptical.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by node 3 (115640)

        yup. This is just an attempt by apple to make this appealing.

        I didn't realize recombu.com was owned by Apple.

        The answer is: it's not.

        Oh, I disagree. I find it very compelling, and I suspect most people will as well, after using one for only a few moments. Whether that will translate into a sale ($499 is cheap for this type of product, but still a good chunk of cash) is yet to be determined.

        The problem right now is the geeks are looking at specs and keywords (multitasking? iPhone OS? No stylus? No e-ink?) and disliking the iPad that they imagine based on that. The trick with Apple is that th

        • by Pojut (1027544) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:55PM (#30954848) Homepage

          Disclaimer: I am not questioning your opinion, nor am I discrediting it. You are completely entitled to your own thoughts.

          No matter what you do, say, or show me, you will never convince me that buying a device as expensive as a full computer but with only half the functionality is a good thing. Paying more and getting less is not a good thing, even if it comes wrapped up in a pretty package.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by frogzilla (1229188)

            Lots of people want to be able to use a computer without having to use one. They don't want to ever see the computer geek side of computer ownership. They only want the benefits. Access to the the content they consume etc. Non geek benefits are not the same as geek benefits. Geeks value multi-use, multi-configuration devices and software. Geeks may also value learning complex rituals that they have to use to get the computer to work. Non-geeks want to turn on the device and maybe change the channel.

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      Well, heavy cardboard wrapped in a plastic-like material...but you get my point.

      -1 for replying to myself.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:18PM (#30954236) Homepage

      Problem is most "cardboard" games are getting nutty pricey. I have seen many new ones retailing for $100 or more.

      • by Pojut (1027544) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:20PM (#30954280) Homepage

        The most expensive "board" game (i.e. NOT a tabletop game) that I have bought was Hero Quest. It was worth every penny.

        I dunno...I mean, i could see how SOME board games might work ok on an iPad, and I could definitely see board games made specifically for it...but, much like reading digital comics isn't quite teh same as the real thing...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by anaesthetica (596507)

          Oh man, I didn't realize anyone else knew about Hero Quest. I just got incredible nostalgia from your post. I used to make all my non-nerd friends come over and play Hero Quest for my birthdays when I was a kid. Either that or the board game version of Civilization.

          Eventually the computer version of Civilization came out, but I still prefer the board game format to be honest. I'm not sure how well Hero Quest would survive the transition to an iPad, given that the plastic figurines were half the visual/t

      • by jsimon12 (207119)

        What board games are you buying and where are you shopping? Last time I checked Scrabble and Monopoly were still in the sub-20 dollar range. Even Axis and Allies is 40-50 bucks. Even if they were 100 bucks you could buy 10-20 of them for the cost of an iPad and 3 iPhones.

        • by WaXHeLL (452463) on Friday January 29, 2010 @05:02PM (#30954946)

          Most people who play board games really don't sit around and play Scrabble and Monopoly all the time.

          They play games like:
          Settlers of Catan
          Power Grid
          Runewars
          Puerto Rico
          Dominion

          etc

          All of those are not cheap at all.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by HockeyPuck (141947)

            Runewars [boardgamegeek.com] for the Casual gamer? Give me a fucking break. I've never heard of it, and when I looked at the # of pieces that comes with the game, I thought it made Axis and Allies look like Candyland.

            Runewars includes:

            * 40-page instruction guide
            * Nearly two hundred highly-detailed plastic miniatures
            * Over two hundred tokens
            * Over two hundred cards, both small and standard sized

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by geekoid (135745)

            I would argue that they are cheap.

            Computer games sell for 60 bucks and can only be used by one person in a household at a time.

            Good board games, the Ticket to Ride, or settlers cost 60 bucks, but many people can play in your house at one time.
            The reasale of popular game sis also higher.

            Pay 10 bucks for a movie for 2 hours of entertainment per person. Thats 6 movies, or 12 hours. A board game can get 100's of hours.

            Also, cheap ass games as some excellent games.

        • by mcvos (645701) on Friday January 29, 2010 @06:11PM (#30955946)

          What board games are you buying and where are you shopping? Last time I checked Scrabble and Monopoly were still in the sub-20 dollar range. Even Axis and Allies is 40-50 bucks.

          Those are some pretty old games. True, there are also many recent boardgames are also in the $20-$30 price bracket, but there are also a lot that cost $50+ even for just the basic game. With expansions, many games can easily cost more than $100. Even good old Settlers of Catan can get close to $200 if you buy all the expansions.

          The basic ASL rulebook costs $100, and that's without any boards. Get Beyond Valor as well, and you're close to $200. I'm sure there are people who've spent more than $1000 on that game. (Hm... porting VASL to the iPad could be a very good idea.)

          Speaking of games that people spend $1000s on, what about Magic the Gathering? Playing that on a couple of automated boards so you don't have to buy all the cards, could save you a fortune.

      • by farble1670 (803356) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:36PM (#30954520)

        i just bought stratego and monopoly from target. they came in a wood box. all quality parts. $19.99.

        • by WinterSolstice (223271) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:48PM (#30954712)

          But how does that compare to paying $9.99 each from the app store (and probably 99 cents for each player) and about $700 for the board and $200 for each player...

          but have MULTI-TOUCH!!!

          Ummm, yeah. That's my take on it too.
          The iPad just isn't selling itself to me yet. Maybe the iPad 3Gs Pro.

          • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Friday January 29, 2010 @05:07PM (#30955042)

            From my perspective, owning an iPhone, the iPad is just 'meh' for me. I like the bigger display, but I work from home (telecommute), so I've already got a 27" screen for big stuff, and my iPhone for mobile work. No real need for anything in between.

            That said, pop an extra $250 bucks, and you get kindle capabilities + everything that the iPhone offers (sans the voice cell capabilities), meaning music, video, games, apps, location tools/utilities, etc. To my mind, that at least makes for an interesting combination. I think it's largest market will be in games, and books, and maybe a smattering of video and movies for those folks on the go (travelers or mobile babysitters to keep occupied on long trips). If board games become a common app for this, instead of paying $20-$99 bucks for them, you could easily end up with a $5-$10 dollar app store equivalent. Buy more than a few, and you've paid for your investment.

            It's just a more versatile than a piece of cardboard.

            Will I buy one? No (see above for 'meh' factor). I just don't have a need for it, but I can see the appeal.

      • Those expensive board games are not exactly Candy Land or Monopoly. My most expensive game is StarCraft: The Board Game which retails for $80 and after you add in the Brood War expansion, I'm out over $100 for that game, but it is worth every bit of it. I admit that I was hesitant at first to spend that much on game when my most expensive board game prior to that was maybe $10-$20. You get a whole lot in the game in terms of tokens, miniatures, cards, etc all very high quality, not to mention many, many
    • Cardboard with OLED. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FooAtWFU (699187)
    • COST?!?! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jsimon12 (207119)

      So I have the choice of a buying a 10 dollar board game or spending thousands in on iPads and iPhones. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Grizzley9 (1407005)

        So you're comparing a single use game with a multi-use platform capable of doing numerous other things with a changing interface to fit those things.

        Hmm, did you also make that decision when deciding on whether or not to buy a paperback or an iPhone?

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          Your comparison doesn't seem to be accurate. The article is trying to promote ipad's use as a board game. The argument is more like the other way around. Why is someone saying that instead of x, we should buy y (not even remotely related product).

          This is like buying a ferrari as a day to day traffic car because the driver's seat is extremely comfortable

      • Re:COST?!?! (Score:4, Funny)

        by anaesthetica (596507) on Friday January 29, 2010 @06:11PM (#30955944) Homepage Journal
        I too carry around a Scrabble and Risk board with me everywhere I go. It may be a pain to carry the large boxes and bags of tiny pieces to work, out at a bar with friends, to the park, out on dates and whatnot. But at least I'm not one of those suckers with an iPad—they can play board games anywhere at any time with their friends, but they had to pay so much. They probably don't use their iPads for anything other than board games. Like yourself, I don't want to give up carrying around board game boxes everywhere just to look 'cool' or to 'fit in' like those Mac cultists.
    • by sxedog (824351) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:34PM (#30954482)

      The perfect board game platform is cardboard.

      And cardboard games don't come with DRM or restrictive rights where you don't actaully 'own' it, rather rent it and rebuy it when you magically lose the rights to the game. No thanks.

    • by kevingolding2001 (590321) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:35PM (#30954504)
      So what do you do with your cardboard monopoly or chess board when you are half way through a game and the captain says to return to your seats, place the tray tables in the upright locked position and prepare for landing? I guess it's game over.

      With an iPad, you could save the game, put it back in your hand luggage, then get it out and resume the game in the taxi to the hotel.

      I agree with the article. I think the iPad presents a great opportunity to play board games with friends in a more convenient way.
    • by sootman (158191) on Friday January 29, 2010 @05:06PM (#30955036) Homepage Journal

      > The perfect board game platform is cardboard.

      No, it isn't. Not for all situations. The iPad is a bit pricey at the moment but in the future when they're cheaper (and/or used) I could see this actually being quite good for the kids to play checkers in the backseat of the car or on a flight.
      1) No pieces to lose
      2) Bored of checkers? It can hold a few hundred other games.
      3) Related to #1: also no pencils/pens/crayons floating around/getting lost/poking people in tender places
      Honestly, I'd rather have the kids in the backseat playing games instead of watching movies the whole time.

    • by swarm (71375) on Friday January 29, 2010 @05:35PM (#30955450)

      To be a perfect board game, it needs to have holographic pieces that project out of the screen.

  • Sure thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitterAndDrunk (799378) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:14PM (#30954162) Homepage Journal
    So for only $499 + $299/phone, you can play a $75 board game electronically! No messy setup, and you don't have to worry about where to put that almost $1000 in cash you would still have!
    • by boristdog (133725) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:20PM (#30954294)

      So for only $499 + $299/phone, you can play a $75 board game electronically!

      $75?

      Where the hell do you shop for board games?

      Here, I'll lend you a decimal --> .

    • So for only $499 + $299/phone, you can play a $75 board game electronically!

      That depends on how many board games you buy. If you buy specialty board games as apps on iTunes Store, it might be cheaper than buying them as cardboard on, say, MyAtomic.com. Notice how albums cost $9.99 on iTunes Store vs. $13.99 on CD at Walmart* because there's no cost of pressing, packaging, shipping, and retailing discs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ElSupreme (1217088)
        Lets say you save 5$ a game. You would have to purchase 100 board games to cover your costs, not to mention power and the fact that your iPad wont last 30 years. I have Risk, Monopoly, Scrabble, and Trivial persuit that are almost that old.
    • by bjk002 (757977)

      My kingdom for a mod point!!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by weston (16146)

      $499 + $299/phone

      $299 phone?

      Well, assuming for some reason you've got an aversion against or unusual obstacle to using WiFi, you could use a phone that costs around $50. At least, that's what I do with my laptop and a Nokia 2865 (via bluetooth DUN). It's not 3G speeds, which means you don't want to be pushing video over it, but for sending model data between games it should work just fine.

      As for the rest of the economics... yeah, if you're just going to buy one board game, it probably doesn't make a lot of

    • You're missing the point.

      For $499 + $299/phone you can play every $75 board game electronically, and watch video in your lap, and surf the web, and take calls (though not conveniently), and control your other home devices.

      Ignore the cost of the phone. Everyone has a phone (well, everyone who counts, anyway, and soon that will be everyone for all practical values of "everyone"). Lets say $50 can be cut of the cost of the game by removing packaging and printing. Ten games at $25 each and you're ahead of the g

      • I can play every board game that I've paid for and Apple's approved.

        In fact, everything YOU mentioned are things that Apple may or may not approve.

        My point was just that looking at it as a "board game player" is silly and unrealistic.

        Particularly with the whole "ooooh then you can link the iPhones to it!" line of reasoning - now everyone who comes over to my place to play games needs some sort of smart phone? Lots of my friends are broke mofos.

        I wouldn't trust any closed device as my content reposito

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rene S. Hollan (1943)

          Oh sure, the closed source nature of it kills the utility, though I'm sure the DRM folks salivate at the thought of a ubiquitously accepted storage device that can be locked down.

          I was looking at the potential capabilities that the hardware offers.

          As for "broke mofos", I did note (sarcastically) that "everyone" will have a phone, for all practical values of "everyone". Crap, I know poor kids who have phones to keep in touch with their parents between home and school -- not iPhones, of course, but phones cap

  • Size (Score:2, Informative)

    by maxume (22995)

    TOO SMALL!

  • Too Small (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:14PM (#30954172) Homepage Journal

    How is less than 10 inches perfect?

    I don't think I play a single board game with a board that small. Zoom in and out? Scroll around? Everything smaller? No thanks. A lot of my board game time is great just because I'm unplugged anyway.

    If I were alone, maybe then I could see it. The less than ideal experience would be o.k. compared to not being able to play at all. But to sit around with phones out to 'hold' tiles and play the game on a little screen doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    • by Sebilrazen (870600) <blahsebilrazen@blah.com> on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:19PM (#30954258)

      How is less than 10 inches perfect?

      That's what she said.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by sean_nestor (781844)

        The best part of this post:

        50% Informative
        30% Underrated
        20% Funny

        God bless the /. crowd :)

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Give me a 24"X24" one to play settlers of Catan on...

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Depends how you do it, most board games don't require you to have both precision and wide view at the same time. But, until this sort of thing comes way under the $100 mark I can't imagine it catching on for that purpose. Sure it might be a nice added value, but definitely not a perfect board game platform.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by stoolpigeon (454276) *

        I know Scrabble is one where I certainly want to be able to take in the whole board at once. And I want to be looking at different parts than the other players, without them knowing what I'm focused on.

        The desire to keep what I'm looking at to myself is true of a lot of games.

        I'd like to see one of these table sized interfaces we've seen used this way. I know it's been done with d&d [boingboing.net]. That would be cool for board games.

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:15PM (#30954206)

    ...to "Ramming home the news that Apple have released a new product this week, Part 234".

    Thanks.

  • Uh huh. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by squ3lch (1594723)
    Or I could play a board game. I could buy all sorts of board games before I would come close to the price of the iPad + digital board game purchases.
    • But then you'd need to have a closet or garage to store them.
    • by polar red (215081)

      I guess there are enough people around here that own at least for a 1000 dollars (or euros in my case) in board games.

    • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dazedNconfuzed (154242) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:25PM (#30954356)

      Or you could read a book. You could buy all sorts of books before you would come close to the price of the iPad + e-book purchases.

      Or you could listen to a CD. You could buy all sorts of CDs before you would come close to the price of the iPad + .MP3/AAC/whatever purchases.

      Or you could watch a movie. You could buy all sorts of DVDs before you would come close to the price of the iPad + digital video purchases.

      Funny thing is, a large and growing number of us have small music players, e-book readers, watch movies/TV on our laptops, play assorted multi-player games, etc. - all on hardware comparable in price to the iPad.

      Between a convenient play-everything device and some bulk storage to off-load under-used content, those of us realizing it's 2010 already LIKE the idea of replacing boxfulls of atoms with a few cubic inches of bits.

      Always amazes me how many /.ers exhibit Luddite tendencies.

      • by feepness (543479)
        But the title says "perfect". The iPad is not a perfect MP3/Video/or book platform. Is it a more than decent substitute? Probably.

        It may or may not be a decent board game substitute. But it sure as hell isn't perfect.
  • Or, you know, you could get an actual Scrabble board, and not have to spend a couple thousand dollars to play to play a $20 game with three friends. You can even flick the tiles at the board, if you want. For free!

  • No... the "big ass table [youtube.com]" that apple fans made fun of Microsoft for is the perfect board game platform.

    The iPad would maybe make a nice "private" board for keeping player information hidden. But a big ass table would be a lot better for a group to gather around to play a board game.

    • by minsk (805035)

      Heck, my take is that even Microsoft's "big ass table" is too small and too low-resolution for complex highly-social board games. And they're the ones that could benefit most from adding a computer into the mix.

      Double the size and resolution, then we can talk about board games.

  • 'Imagine a Scrabble iPad game that used iPhones as letter holders. You could hold up your iPhone so that no one else could see your letters and when you were ready to make a word on the Scrabble iPad board, you could slide them on to the board by flicking the word tiles off your iPhone.'

    I'm imagining a large amount of wasted money for people who don't have at least one of the components...and if everyone has to be present anyway, why not just use a regulate board? Costs to develop the thing would be pointless as well.

    Just seems like a bad example...

  • by vitaflo (20507) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:22PM (#30954326) Homepage

    I can see people having fun with board games on the iPad but I'm not sure it really trumps a real board game. Most board games aren't overly expensive as it is.

    But what I do think the iPad could be really good at is custom audio controller interfaces. More and more of these interfaces are starting to show up on computers, but much of the mouse/keyboard input doesn't really match the real life use of tweaking knobs and levers. Multi-touch on a larger screen is a much better translation of this, and given how much physical audio controllers can cost, a few software reproductions of them could end up being a cost benefit for users.

  • Board games come with cards, dice, plastic & metal things and usually need more space than a small rectangle. Perhaps it does allow decent simulations of board games, but at $499 (+ whatever the app store slaps on top for a game) it bloody well ought to.
  • by CSHARP123 (904951) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:24PM (#30954354)
    but we didn't know the problem. Thanks for providing the problem
  • Part of the magic of meatspace board games is losing the bits and pieces.

    You can't do that on an iPad.

  • by minsk (805035) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:27PM (#30954384)
    The iPad: If you're too nerdy to attend the chess club in person.

    But, seriously, implementing board games well on a computer demands a lot more than a small touch-sensitive display. Simple non-social games are easier, but they work just fine on a traditional PC.

  • iFail (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mhajicek (1582795) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:34PM (#30954480)
    They're just desperate to find SOMETHING it'd good for.
    • Re:iFail (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029) on Friday January 29, 2010 @06:06PM (#30955860)

      This is modded funny, but funny is the fact that in the last 24 hours I've started 3 apps based loosely on ideas from slashdot alone that will be great on this device.

      I could give a fuck if you don't think its useful, I'm pretty sure its going to be the next addition to my iPod Touch/iPhone income source.

      Hell, theres another 4 or 5 in this article alone that can be good with some domain specific knowledge (which I don't have).

  • Yeah, rich people with tons of cash to burn who care more about technology than connecting with family would see this as a great board game platform. The rest of us will continue to enjoy the company of our friends and family with decidedly low-tech but perfectly useful cardboard, and focus more on the interactions and fun than the tech and "ooh ahh" factor.

    This is really stretching. It seems people are going to obscene lengths to try to make the iPad look less ho-hum that it really is.

    Apple really failed

  • Laughable. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ChaosDiscord (4913) * on Friday January 29, 2010 @06:36PM (#30956290) Homepage Journal

    The 9.7-inch multi-touch screen is perfect for playing board games at home....

    I guess if you just play Chess, Go, and maybe the occasional game of Monopoly, it might be perfect for you. Maybe. I'd hate to play Chess on such a small board and I would loathe to play Go. If you're really into board games it's obviously crap for most games. The big problem: "screen" size. Most board games use a play area that is significantly larger than the 10" diagonal that the iPad offers. I can see different parts of the board in detail with the fastest, most intuitive interface ever: my eyes. Other people playing with my in person can look at other areas simultaneously. If I have a hand of cards, I can see them without needing to simultaneously obscure the board. If I need to move a piece or set of pieces, a touchscreen isn't bad, but a tactile experience is superior and has zero learning curve.

    I can envision games that port reasonably well to the iPad. I can envision "board" games designed specifically for the iPad that rock. Something like Microsoft's Surface would really rock for many purposes, but the iPad has a clear portability win. (Of course, the iPhone is even more portable.) There may be merit to board gaming on the iPad. But as the "perfect" solution for playing board games it's laughable.

  • obreply (Score:5, Funny)

    by cain (14472) on Friday January 29, 2010 @06:54PM (#30956580) Journal

    No dice. Less space than Monopoly. Lame.

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