Boardgames I Own

I finally finished staining the bookcase I bought and brought it up to my home office and put all the boardgames that I own in it. 85 to 90 games in all spanning every decade since the 1970’s. I estimate that I’ve probably played 90% of them at least once.

At $50 a game it’s probably a $4250–$4500 investment. Pretty impressive, probably just as impressive as the 198 game CDs I’ve got filed away in my closet.

Last night I went to a group that meets once a week in Norton, MA to play boardgames. I walked in a bit late but managed to get in on a game of Import Export with a group of four other people—Phil, Al, Vincent, and Wayne. It had fun, though I found it took a while to understand some of the rules, particularly the rules around imports and goods.

I ended up buying a copy of the game (I’ve still got a little free space in my shelf in the lower middle section). But I can’t keep doing that. Beside the expense, I don’t want to have to go out and buy another bookcase.

I’d like to do something with this hobby of mine besides play the games. I always had it in the back of my mind to create a boardgame. I made some starts. There was a Battle of the Bulge game I started designing that I shelved that when Wizards of the Coast (who bought Avalon Hill) came out with Axis & Allies: Battle of the Bulge. I also started designing a game about rock climbing, going so far as to 3D print some pieces, work on the beginning of some rules, and write some JavaScript code to generate routes automatically (though it was a boardgame I thought it might be handy to see how many different routes you could generate with a minimal number of game pieces).

I don’t know why I stopped designing. I still think it’s a good idea. At the very least I haven’t ever seen a boardgame about rock climbing. However, if I were to design it now I would probably make it a single player game initially and then come up with multiple player rule variants if necessary (each person would have to buy their own copy of the game if they wanted to play together).

Another idea related to boardgames would be a mobile app that would allow you to play any boardgame you owned in single player mode. The app would function as the other players so you could play a game that required multiple players even if it was only you.

I wonder what the legal ramification of this idea would be. You aren’t duplicating the game on a mobile device, you’re just programming the ruleset and allowing it to simulate multiple players. The user interface would be bare bones, probably text only. The app would be useless if you didn’t have a copy of the actual boardgame.

Update 07/09/18 – There is a boardgame out there that uses allows the use of a companion app called Mansions of Madness. I bought the game for that reason but have never played it.

On 4 August 2016 a second edition of Mansions of Madness was released. Aside from some minor modifications, gameplay was fundamentally the same as in the first edition but with the role of the keeper replaced by a companion app that would run on PC, iOS, or Android platforms. This app expanded the gameplay in several ways including the randomization of maps and monsters and incorporating and extended range of interactive puzzles into the app. It also meant that the game could be played solo.

I’m just downloading the iOS app. I have some free time this week so I’ll play through one of the scenarios using the app as a game master.

This could be an interesting side project. It ties into my desire to actually play more boardgames. It allows me to delve into the mechanics behind individual games and try and tease out the commonalities. Coming up with a declarative programming language to specify game mechanics would be interesting and programming it in Xamarin/C# would enable me to keep my coding skills up.

Of course, I’ve got a the Legably and Storytron side projects currently active. I have to be aware of not overloading myself with too much work that I don’t do anything well.

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