Original post (with over 100% more pictures) http://3dtotalgames.com/techno-joy/
I experience techno-joy! When I encounter a new piece of technology my mind boggles with the possibilities that it offers. I spend time thinking about all of the ways that it might make the world awesome forever. Meanwhile my inner cynic sits quietly muttering about risks, costs and the unreliability of new technology. I soundly ignore him, come implementation time, I need my cynic to help me make something that's prepared for all of the things that might go wrong, but on encountering something new I like to let the optimist run wild for a time.
In that spirit this post is dedicated to thinking about the ways in which this Kickstarter might allow new types of boardgame design.
This is a digital piece. The idea is that instead of owning a bajillion figures, it'd be possible to own a dozen of these and have them change their images to match the pieces you need for a particular game. As a player this is exciting, since you could have your roleplaying game character exactly match your imagination, infinite customisability sounds excellent! However as a designer the possibilities in a world where every gamer has a few of these kicking around are spectacular.
It could improve print and play games too as being able to download a set of pieces as well as a printable board etc., would add a lot to the platform (3D printers might beat them to it though).
The ability to supply a few models and have them represent theoretically limitless things provides a lot of options. Normally there's a practical limit on how many different types of monsters you can supply with a game, the notion of a game with thousands of possible monsters is exciting. Perhaps a step on the road to a procedurally generated boardgame?
Hidden information provides another opportunity. A piece can be uploaded with several images and a button on the base allows you to switch between them. If all pieces initially had the same image (say a closed chest) they could be randomised to different positions and then their developments presented at the touch of a button (changing the image to the contents of the chest). I think that you could provoke a better emotional response from players this way. Which is more compelling, reading "You trigger a trap, take two damage" or this:
Fair warning: I do not know the artist but get the impression he may not be an entirely respectable gentleman.
I think that we're a long way away from ideas like this being practical, but maybe one day they will be. It's nice to dream once in a while and who knows, maybe some of the ideas this triggers will turn out to be practical in the games I'm developing right now. Inspiration is a strange and elusive creature.