Our lives are constantly filled with technology. At this point, the internet is as essential to my life as running water, electricity, and my trash being picked up. My statement is an exaggeration, because I am aware of the fact that I could survive without the internet, but I certainly wouldn’t want to. Imagine how often we are trained to glance at our phone during our down times. We glance at our phones during commercial breaks, in the bathroom, even out to eat. Some have argued that all this technology is ruining us as a society. As a result, many of us escape from the video games and the TV streaming and gather around a table: a table with a board game, pieces, and cards that force us to interact and strategize.
But what if that technology crept back in?
Just recently, I had the privilege of playing Mansions of Madness second edition. If you are unfamiliar with the game, it exists within the realm of H.P. Lovecrafts Cthulhu universe. The game is filled with monsters and mystery, but also it has a huge technology component. Honestly, it’s more than a component, it’s the foundation of the game. It even says on the box that the companion app is essential for playing the game. Mansions of Madness was a lot of fun, but it caused me to ask a few questions. In a world where people escape technology with board games, is there a place for technology with our board games?
Several board games have utilized technology effectively. For example, One Night Werewolf has an app that removes the need for a game master/facilitator. This same development exists for Descent and is being worked on for Star Wars: Imperial Assault. Also, if you have played a tabletop RPG lately, you are sure to encounter someone who uses applications and programs to emulate the traditional character on-a-sheet-of-paper experience.
I for one am the example of someone who embraces the use of technology as a tool. I think applications and programs can be a great opportunity to create organization and efficiency. In my experience with Mansions of Madness, the companion app almost made the game magical in a way that I had not experienced. However, I would not want a generation of board games to release that were all software dependent.
Board games may not be as popular as video games, but it is certainly true that they have a special community. And this community is excited about all of the advancements in the board gaming world. At the Malted Meeple, we came back from Gen Con with many fascinating games. Every week more and more games enter our library, bringing with them unique experiences. Once upon a time, all a board game needed was a board and a way to win. Now, the universe of gaming is getting more and more unique every day.
Are you a fan of technology in your board game? Or are you a cardboard purist? Join the conversation on Facebook and let us know!
Dana Miller has embraced the nerd culture his whole life. Starting from a passion for collectible X-Men cards to feverishly saving the princess from Bowser on his NES. He has managed game rooms, blockbusters and restaurants. He loves cooperative and team based activities, learning new board games, comic book films, League of Legends, and trying different craft beers.