The Future Of Board Games: Added Technology?
If you stick around in the board games business for long enough you will see the recurrence of a number of topics. The annual ‘board games are back’ type article from lazy journalists who didn’t realise board games have been thriving for most of the current millennium is the most obvious recurrent theme! Another topic which keeps on coming back is adding technology to board games to ‘make them better and to bring new excitement into the category’.
There are many examples of technology being added to board games, but perhaps one of the best examples, both in terms of player experience but also in terms of reported commercial success would be the addition of an electronic banking unit into the game of Monopoly. According to www.BoardGameGeek.com, an electronic banking unit was first added into Monopoly in 2006. Fast forward to 2020, and one of the most prominent board games on shelf this year is the Monopoly Super Electronic Banking version.
With this tech addition to the classic and best-selling board games phenomenon that is Monopoly, the tech takes away the ‘faff’ of having to count the physical money. Now for some people that classic game play with real physical money will be compelling, but for some it will be an irritation, especially in today’s world where most of us could quite easily go without physical cash if we had to.
In this version of Monopoly, technology has been added and successfully enhances the game play (for some people). That is the key to adding any technology to board games. Board games aren’t broken, they are normally fun to play and offer a compelling way to spend quality non-screen time with friends and family. We don’t need to fix board games because the fundamentals are not broken and are working well. The opportunity though is to enhance the gameplay experience for players by adding in technology rooted in improving player experiences.
The type of tech added board games which tend to die a sad death in clearance outlets are those games where the technology takes over or fails to enhance the experience. The experience is everything. While a tech gimmick may help you sell a few games in the beginning, longevity is all about delivering great play experiences, and so if you add technology to board games make it experience enhancing whatever you do.
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