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Coumpter assisted Boardgame?

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Just thought I'd throw this idea out there, but I'm curious what people think of a boardgame that also has a computer component to it? The computer part would mean that players need access to a PC to player the game, but it would handle various aspects of the game, such as random events and secert actions performed by the players against each other.

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I for one would love to see more of this in the pen & paper RPG side, but if the boardgame was sufficiently complex I think it would be interesting.

One problem with the idea may be the dynamics of where people play their boardgames versus where the computer is, though.

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Original post by Wavinator
I for one would love to see more of this in the pen & paper RPG side,


I had thought about developing a product based on tablet PC's just for this purpose. Tablet PC's being both portable, and useable as a map I think could really provide a nice and marketable product.

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Original post by Wavinator
I for one would love to see more of this in the pen & paper RPG side, but if the boardgame was sufficiently complex I think it would be interesting.

One problem with the idea may be the dynamics of where people play their boardgames versus where the computer is, though.



I thought about this and agree that alot depends on whether people play board games near a computer. All though one thing that would assist in this matter would to be look into making the computer part light enough that it could run on many diffrent forms of computers.

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Original post by Strategy
Has been done already: check out Cyberboard, VASSAL, and Aide-de-Camp.

Also, see Hexwar.com.

Regards,


I took a look at those sites you mentioned, but none of them are what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about away to play a boardgame over the computer. What I'm talking about is a boardgame that also requires a computer to play. The computer part would act almost like GM, regulating the game and keeping track of things for the players both overt and secert. For instance if it was a strategy game, a player would enter their secert orders into the computer and then the computer would determine at whether or not the secert order succeeded but also whether or not the other players know which one of them performed the order.

But if you know of any boardgame that does please let me know/

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Another thought about this: One good use of the computer *might* be prepocessing elements of the board game. Perhaps the computer could be used to create and print maps, generate random encounter tables, and receive and respond to input from the last gaming session. This could work for long term campaigns, especially if there were any onerous book-keeping or number crunching between games.

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I recall a game which required a DVD player coming out not too long ago, I'm not sure what the idea was perhaps some sort of "name that tune" but with clips from movies. Of course, people are more likely to play games in a room with a TV than a computer, but with laptops being more and more common, it'd certainly be possible. Wavinator's preprocessing idea is a good solution if you're concerned about people having a computer in a decent location to play.

Also, it is sort of impractical, but depending on how advanced it is, perhaps putting it on a mobile device like a cell phone. If there was a game with a complex system of keeping score, or perhaps some random events I can see a phone being a possible platform.

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This was actually pretty fun. The video component was basically used as a countdown timer and as a "random event" generator -- although of course it wasn't actually random. With more interactivity and genuine randomness, it would have been a lot more replayable. I would guess that something like this is more likely to be a DVD than an actual computer game, though. How many people have a computer that they can easily get 4+ of their friends to sit around -- plus table space for the board game? TVs are a better bet, for now. Either that, or multiple PDAs / cellphones -- everyone uses their own as a display, with one of them actually running the game.

Then there's something I saw at SIGGRAPH's Emerging Technologies this year -- a square screen, set in a table, capable of displaying a completely different view from each of the four sides. The demo they had running was a card game. Depending on where you were sitting at the table, you'd see your own cards face up, and everyone else's face down, until they were played. Lots of possibilities there.

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You could probably create a DVD that runs of the DVD Player which does have random event programmed into it sort of like the Playable Movies. But I do agree that the idea of having that on your TV is much more inviting than putting that on the PC unless of course you have a really big screen or you can cram everyone into the room where you keep the PC =P. It really depends I guess.

I have seen a lot of table top RPG's with massive ammounts of software elements. If I recall correctly WOTC has a complete DM program that allows the DM to create the game in the program and he can follow his story and all that stuff.

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Hi TechnoGoth,

You're right; the aforementioned systems don't exactly fill in the niche you mention.

However they come fairly close to doing so. I'd say that VASSAL and HexWar actually do so - the only difference being that these two games take the logical next step of actually placing the game on the computer as well.

After all - if all the calculations are being done on the computer in the first place, then why keep the physical components? To be allowed to roll the dice or to get to paw the cardboard/plastic counters? ... I don't think so. Not to be flippant, but if you are going to doing everything worthwhile on the screen anyway, why not have the presentation on the screen as well?

-> The primary benefit of a boardgame is the social interaction (well - that and the somewaht greater quality of games available IMO); use of a computer can not but interrupt this.

Given that basic mechanism, I have some difficulty seeing how computer-assisted boardgaming has a hope of competing with actual boardgames on a computer. A computer-assisted game IMO would combine the weaknesses of both, and the strengths of neither.

So everything considered, I wouldn't consider this an idea that would work - at least not as you seem to envision it.


To answer your final (and original) question, then I do not know any systems that fit precisely. However, computer-assisted gaming has (and is) attempted in miniatures games. Check out:
- ShipBase III.
- http://www.compassistwargames.com/

It makes more sense in the miniatures market, since miniatures have properties that you don't have in boardgames (i.e., the collection element), and especially in the case of systems like Naval wargaming permits simulation that would be practically impossible in a regular miniature rule set.

Hope this is of help.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I am the primary designer/developer at Computer-Assisted Wargames Enterprises, and have for the past 5 years played about 90% of my historical miniatures games using a computer (often a hand-held or PDA, but also with my laptop).

It makes for much faster, better games than with paper-and-dice systems.

We have often discussed using cardboard counters in place of units, since miniatures are expensive and time-consuming to paint. This approach was used with some success for paper-and-dice systems in the 1980s (there was a company called "System 7" that made historical unit counters.)

I think maybe what you could do is to adopt a miniatures approach - that is, lose the hexes on your game board, and replace the counters with markers that reflect the size of the thing they represent. You have a lot of freedom with this approach, and - because you don't necessarily have to track the features of the board (presumably a printed map of some type) inside the game, the coding becomes much, much simpler.

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Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Another thought about this: One good use of the computer *might* be prepocessing elements of the board game. Perhaps the computer could be used to create and print maps, generate random encounter tables, and receive and respond to input from the last gaming session. This could work for long term campaigns, especially if there were any onerous book-keeping or number crunching between games.


The preprocessing idea is something I didn't think about before but your right it would be an excellent application for a computer assisted game. You could take it a step further in fact. Instead of the game using a fixed board it could come with say 36 room pieces. The computer could then design a map for the current secenario by combing some of those board pieces. Then decided what objects and enimies are in each room. So that whenever a player enters a room for the first time one of the players enters that room into the computer and it tells them what to place in the room. As well as deciding what is in each treasure chest for instance.

You could even use it an AVP style board game where the map changes every couple of turns.

You could also use it decided what has happened to the various characters between scenarios.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Computer assisted board game? Sounds like Dark Tower (circa 1981). Some info here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/30

I remember playing this game (feeling my age...)

JSwing

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