262 – Games on Screens – The Family Gamers Podcast
This week, we’re talking about board games on screens, whether that’s app-assisted, pass-and-play adaptations, online games, or virtual board games that couldn’t exist without the advantages of technology.
What We’ve Been Playing
Canopy (Weird City Games) – weird but very thematic.
Mythalix (Sunrise Games / Grand Gamers Guild)
Happy City (Gamewright)
Chicken Chicken (Gamewright)
Super Mega Lucky Box (Gamewright)
Catch the Moon (Bombyx)
We try Blue Diamond XTREMES in Cayenne Pepper and Ghost Pepper flavors. If you like spice, you can find them on Amazon or maybe at your grocery store.
Welcome new members! Stop into the community and say hello.
Board Games on Screens
A quick survey of different ways that you and your kids might choose to play board games using an electronic screen.
App-supported games are still on a physical table, but also use a website or mobile app as part of the game. Episode 246 was on tips for playing app-integrated games, but they’re not a new concept.
Online with component translation – direct representations of board games in an online environment. You virtually move pieces around a virtual board. Not a lot of filtering for chat, and the whole interface does not lend itself to kids’ games. Examples: Tabletopia, Tabletop Simulator.
Online with rules engines – these solve a lot of the problems presented by the last category. These will automatically move “pieces” around for you, and not allow illegal moves. Examples: Board Game Arena, Yucata, Sovranti, LiChess.org.
Digital-only games – these are games that feel like a board game or card game but could not exist on a physical table. Most of these you can play against another player (sometimes local multiplayer) or against an AI. Examples: Sol Forge, Sumer, Slay the Spire.
App ports of board games – Your favorite board game, brought to your mobile device, but sometimes on Steam or online.
What concerns do we have about letting kids play these games?
Anitra would always rather have kids interacting with other kids in the same room, as much as possible. This means app-supported games and games with local multiplayer (whether digital-only or an app port of a board game) are much preferred in our house.
Playing against an AI, we count as “screen time”. It’s basically playing a video game.
There are a lot more concerns about letting our kids play games over the internet. We are just beginning to let our 10 & 13 year olds do this, but this is what we know so far:
Board Game Arena and LiChess both do a lot to limit chat and other interaction. Tabletop Simulator, on the other hand, is very open.
The rules-engine options also have more flexibility to choose to play asynchronously or in real-time. Asynchronous play is obviously going to be easier for parents to monitor and put limits on.
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