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Subject: Why don't we see more PC versions of Board Games? rss

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Aaron Lannister
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I don't know how many times this needs to be mentioned but I would love a PC version of Board Games such as Pandemic, Agricola and many other amazing Board Games.

In the past few years we've seen so few come to PC such as Small World and Ticket To Ride with lobbies and online funcionality.

Why not expand more on the PC market?

I would love to see Pandemic on the PC with online chat, lobbies, leaderboards and also achievements.

I honestly think the Board Game community should encourage this more often as you're not always with friends and sometimes friends and family are too busy to play. This would be a great market to tap into.

We've already seen some IOS apps like Pandemic but why not a PC version but bigger and better?
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Turning the question around...what benefit does a PC version convey that a tablet version cannot, other than "allows people without tablets to play"?

I don't think there's enough of a customer base of People Who Would Play Board Games Digitally On Computers Who Don't Also Have Tablets to justify the costs of development across an additional platform, especially one that will reasonably have many thousands of different system configurations to account for (...which is already a major reason why Android ports lag far behind iOS).

I'd also argue that many of the games that have had the greatest tablet success benefit from the more casual nature of tablet use vs. PC use, as well as the tactile middle-ground of using your hands on a tablet screen to simulate actually "touching" game pieces vs. the further abstraction of mouse/keyboard/controller.
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Because Board Games are better in physical form.
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Tom Patterson
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I think a big reason is profit margins.

Since a great many board games exist in tablet form, it would mean the profit margin on a PC version would already be greatly reduced. When you throw in the fact that a games on home computers require packaging, shipping, and retail costs you end up with a similar but more expensive product. Developers have figured out the their designs for electronic versions of board games exist fine on things like iOS and have, therefore, been able to eliminate a lot of overhead.

I imagine they see the PC as a low reward market.
 
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Scott Everts
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The PC market no longer needs to worry about packaging with services like Steam and GOG out there. They are just as easy to distribute as on the iOS platform.

I also wish we'd see more PC ports of boardgame titles. Though I have an iPad, I prefer playing games on a 24 inch monitor when I'm at home. The iPad is nice when I'm away from home but I don't find it a pleasant platform to play long term on. The screen is just too small for me.

I'd love to see sales figures of Ticket to Ride and Small World just to see how the platforms perform. I do own both on PC and they are decent enough ports.

Of course another issue is skill set of the developers. It's easier to develop on iOS since there's less variation of hardware. Similar problem with Android which is why we don't see much support there either. A startup developer can get an iOS game out quicker with less QA then if they did 3 platforms.

Though I've also heard its getting harder to make money on iOS since the platform is flooded with titles now. You have to really stand out to make any sales. It might come a time when developers have to release on PC and Android just to make a profit.
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ahwala wrote:
Because Board Games are better in physical form.

Sums it up pretty well for me. thumbsup
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Walt
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Check here: Sebastian Sohn's SoftBoard Games: Free, Commercial, and Abandoned Computer Version of Board, Card and Role-Playing Games with Computer AI (Artificial Intelligence) Opponents with Screen Shots

Also, quite a few games are offered on various web sites. I don't really track them since I get enough live gaming, but I hope someone will chime in.

Next, the perception is that the PC is dead. I think PC sales are dead because no one needs more power than a Pentium 5, or an i3 at most: no applications are being created that need that power, and no one wants to upgrade Windows: it's not just more trouble than it's worth, it's all trouble.

Lasr, iOS and Android apps are much simpler than PC games, they cost next to nothing, so publishers can make easy profits. Of course, publishers could try the low cost, high volume route for the PC, but they'd get eaten alive by the indy PC developers, who are everywhere since everyone has one of those supposedly dead PCs.

One place to check is BSW, which did have Pandemic. That probably means it's somewhere else now.
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PC gaming is actually doing pretty well right now.

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Why does everything have to be be accessible on a PC or tablet. One of main attractions of boardgames is that it brings people face to face. It sure beats sitting in a room where everyone is staring at their goddamn cell phones.
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it is a misconception that the pc does not have many boardgame conversions available. there are hundreds available for the pc but you don't here about them. you here about the ipad versions because of the ipad hype and the apple zealots. brettspielwelt (may have more games available than ipad) and vassal (way more games than ipad) both existed before the ipad. ticket to ride online was also started before ipad.

you can already play agricola (play-agricola.com, www.boiteajeux.net) and pandemic (vassal mod, bsw, and a pc freeware version were available before the ipad version) on your pc.




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OnlyMostlyDead wrote:
Turning the question around...what benefit does a PC version convey that a tablet version cannot, other than "allows people without tablets to play"?


more processing power, keyboard and mouse(rollovers, right-click), more usable screen resolution because the graphics and text don't need to be made extra-large for fat fingers to accurately select items.
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Ben Wilkinson
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Board games are simply better in physical form. Once you've held those pieces, rubbed your fingers along those cards, smelled that game board smell as you unfold it, nothing else will satisfy.
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My ideal would be a touch sensitive screen/computer that could also keep track of where pieces like minis or cubes or meeples were.

That way I could play board games with friends, in person, with physical components.

But the hardware would do things like keeping track of the gamestate and enforcing the game rules.

It would be the best of both worlds.
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Hawaka Winada
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PeteyWA wrote:
Why does everything have to be be accessible on a PC or tablet. One of main attractions of boardgames is that it brings people face to face. It sure beats sitting in a room where everyone is staring at their goddamn cell phones.

One advantage of PC and tablet games with AI opponents is you can play them when you're alone and unable to be sitting face to face in a room with other people. AI opponents don't complain when you need to stop playing for awhile, they'll patiently wait for your return. And AI opponents never distract you by talking or looking at cell phones...
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PeteyWA wrote:
Why does everything have to be be accessible on a PC or tablet. One of main attractions of boardgames is that it brings people face to face. It sure beats sitting in a room where everyone is staring at their goddamn cell phones.



I 100% agree ...

However, to me -- stuff like Yucata, boardgaming-online, etc. - only complements my physical gaming. And, in some cases (like Through the Ages) - I actually *prefer* the online version ... less downtime; less pressure if you need to redo your move, etc.

But, for the most part, I'd always choose an in-person game; this just complements things (and, at this time, I only have a PC; my tablet was my work tablet, and when I was laid off, that went bye-bye)
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Walt
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PeteyWA wrote:
Why does everything have to be be accessible on a PC or tablet. One of main attractions of boardgames is that it brings people face to face. It sure beats sitting in a room where everyone is staring at their goddamn cell phones.

Some more answers...

When I was first learning Puerto Rico, I got the Puerto Rico Evolver(?) off of the files section here. It's an AI program that evolves better balances for the things it considers. (Evolution plus neural nets have proven very powerful, and truly learn.) That got me up to speed on the game and let me try some very silly stuff without waste other gamers' time. And, even good AIs typically play far faster than humans. While I think it's a bad thing (for me) to over-train on a game, the same thing happens if you over-use BSW.

If I'm waiting for a time too short to read a book chapter, much less watch a show, a computer board game is a way to spend that time pleasantly. If I can't get to sleep, a light game is sometimes a better way to wait until I get tired than reading, which may get my brain going too much to sleep.

I quite agree that many are over-leashed to their cell phones. I want to bring a ball peen hammer to gaming sometimes. But if it wasn't that it would be some other way of fidgeting. One guy does his Sodoku while gaming, though he's a very proficient player, and I've never seen it slow him down.

A friend stepped away from gaming for a bit to take a call from their SO, who was a very clingy type, always calling during gaming. On their return, I asked, "So, I was just wondering, how long did it take them to cell-train you?" Very dirty looks followed.
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frumpish wrote:
PC gaming is actually doing pretty well right now.

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Good article, but it and the AAA (highest budget) world in general are missing some games. Board games and similar simpler games have been taken over by small and indie developers, but the big lack I see is in the classic big strategy games. Civilization V is the exception. SimCity (2013) was antithetical to normal SimCity play, a failure as total as MOO3. New versions of other sim and tycoon games are conspicuous by their absence, and their last versions were in the early days of crude 3D.

And even if you like the few genres the AAA world produces--forty hours for a game? Who has time for that? I've bought exactly one of those games. I start, play for maybe 10 hours at most, something in Real Life comes up, and by the time I get back to the game, I've lost my situational awareness and it's just not worth it to try to reclaim the game. If I'm playing Civ V, that's fine since the next game will be very different; if I'm playing the typical "string of beads" RPG or FPS, I'd be going through the same stuff as the previous game. Boring.

But we digress....whistle
 
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Michael Carter
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I prefer to play traditional video games on my PC.
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OnlyMostlyDead wrote:
I don't think there's enough of a customer base of People Who Would Play Board Games Digitally On Computers Who Don't Also Have Tablets to justify the costs of development across an additional platform, especially one that will reasonably have many thousands of different system configurations to account for (...which is already a major reason why Android ports lag far behind iOS).


I'd just like to kill this one dead (I don't actually care about electronic versions, but this misconception bugs me every time I see it).

Java. There is no board game that cannot be implemented in java, and if it is implemented in java then it will work on any modern home computer. Because the whole point of java is to avoid any worry at all about system configurations.
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JasonJ0 wrote:
Java. There is no board game that cannot be implemented in java, and if it is implemented in java then it will work on any modern home computer. Because the whole point of java is to avoid any worry at all about system configurations.


Indeed, Java apps with a Swing or AWT UI look and feel equally wretched on all platforms. It really brings to life the dream of Write Once, Suck Everywhere.
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ahwala wrote:
Because Board Games are better in physical form.


^^^ This. When the Grid goes down, my copy of the Gric will still be playable.
 
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Because board games might be fun to play with other people face-to-face, and not so fun to play on the computer.

Because there are better games in the same or similar categories that already exist on the computer.

Because board game companies aren't software companies and don't have trusted software partners.

Because publishers might only have board game rights and not digital rights.

And 500 other reasons.
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Rick Argiro
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I'd love to see more PC versions as well. There's a small few available from actual publishers (i.e. Elder Sign, Ticket to Ride, Small World), but most of the contracted companies (Playdek, Big Daddy Creations, etc) are strictly iOS (and dabble in Android).

I did pose the question to Playdek if they were considering Windows for upcoming titles and they got right back to me with this:
Playdek via Twitter wrote:
We have our #UnsungStory which will be on PC, so depending on how that goes we can plan from there!


So there's some hope!
 
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ahwala wrote:
Because Board Games are better in physical form.


Exactly. Some things are just sooo much better in a particular format.


Reminds me of wine...


We could have more like this




But this is so much better





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I think PC versions would be nice for games that have very long setup and teardown times or involve a lot of calculations that can slow down play.
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