2008 May Be the Year of the Board Game?

"A game is a game is a game" — are they? The plethora of popular card and board game adaptations — and their popularity — would seem to indicate 'yes.' Over at the Escapist, Scott Jon Siegel muses on the future and potential of adaptations on a number of levels. Especially when one considers the casual market, familiar electronic adaptations make for potential casual hits:

Any classic non-digital game has the potential to become a casual hit. The turn-based nature of these games makes for a slower, more relaxed play experience. A working knowledge of many titles allows players to approach with some degree of skill right off the bat, lowering the barrier to entry. Name recognition also goes a long way in promoting sales. Any non-gamer perusing the titles on Xbox Live Arcade will more quickly download UNO than Outpost Kaloki X, Monopoly than Mutant Storm Empire. Board and card games are inherently casual experiences, and the digital adaptation market can only benefit from the growing success of the casual cash cow.

He also talks about traditional board games being a training ground for game design, and the increasing popularity of adaptations like Scrabulous in social networking situations.

Simplified Systems [The Escapist]


    At the heart of most games is a system that can easily be translated to a table-top game (or board game) system, with variant levels of complexity. An obvious example of an easy translation is the ever popular WoW.

    It's worth mentioning that the 1988-89 series of games titled "Star Saga" blurs the lines between between table-top and computer games. Up to 6 players (or just 1 playing "solitaire" style) guide their characters through an epic space opera. The game itself consists of the games software; which acts as a game master, and the paper: One small galaxy map, one massive galaxy map, the rule book and 13 booklets (!) which contain a total 888 pages of text (!!). The software stores all player character information and actions, occasionally referring players to a page in one of the many booklets that describes a given situation and possible actions.

    However, the game exists in this precarious state due to the technological limitations of the time it was created. Today this game could easily exist entirely free of paper, and would probably do pretty well in a game network like Steam if it took advantage of Steams buddy-networking and notification system.

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