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Bryn Ballard
United Kingdom
Reading
Berkshire
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I don't properly understand the reactionary stance that exists towards board games with integrated apps. Personally I'm up for trying them out to see what innovations designers are able to come up with and after a couple of plays of the first scenario I have already found a lot to like about the app for Mansions of Madness.

The atmosphere created by the music, sound effects and narrator helped to conjure a backdrop that got me in the mindset for the horror to come. The rumble of thunder and the solemn music hit all the right notes. The beginning of the game reminded me of the opening scene of the first Resident Evil game where you come into the foyer of the mansion with many rooms to explore an encroaching dread lingering in the air, things you do not yet understand.

As you explore rooms the app provides descriptions of what you can see just like a dungeon master might give an account of the detritus littering a shelf or the faded frescoes adorning a domed ceiling. This is so much more compelling than the purely mechanical notion of placing a search token, it clues you in to what might be found in a given area and it helps you to prioritise what to look at and where to spend time searching. When you look in the drawer of an arabesque desk you are likely to find very different objects to those that you might find in a leaking freezer.

The app can create permutations which would require multiple decks of cards and/or tables to simulate if done manually and this is what I find most exciting about the fusion of analogue and digital gaming. On the one hand you have the tangible aspects of the game pieces and the social interaction that comes with board games and RPGs and on the other you have the "quality of life" bookkeeping and admin tasks taken care of out of sight, quickly and efficiently. Another aspect of bookkeeping that I appreciate is the way the app tracks hit point loss on monsters, it's a simple tweak but it saves me from having to litter the board with damage tokens like I'm playing Imperial Assault. The app keeps things neat and trim, it creates the head space needed to be more immersed in the game without having to remember things like the turn phase order.

I wanted to share that I really enjoyed playing this game and the app was a significant part of my enjoyment. The app is a real complement to the game experience without ever feeling invasive, it enhances the theme and tidies up the bookkeeping. I really look forward to seeing how this game grows as more possibilities for app integrated games are explored and refined.

edit: typo
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Doug Poskitt
Wales
Cwmavon
West Glamorgan
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The only thing that really surprises me is that the integration of digital and board game media has taken this long to come about.

IMO, it works a treat in games like XCOM. And a digital app makes board games like Descent 2 that much more accessible to solo gamers such as myself. I can only hope that even more innovative uses for this fusion of digital and board media will make an appearance in future.

As for MoM2, I will have to wait until tomorrow to try this one.
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Bryn Ballard
United Kingdom
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dougposkitt wrote:
I can only hope that even more innovative uses for this fusion of digital and board media will make an appearance in future.



I'm also hoping that more games take a risk and explore this integrated approach. I look forward to seeing what First Martians is like as well. Integrated apps could well be the future for thematic games there's so much potential to evoke a rich story with so many tools at one's disposal.
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R.P. Kraul
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MOM 2ed appears to be notable not only for the experience it provides but also for the potential it offers. Why haven't boardgames and apps been integrated sooner and to a greater degree? Sometimes it takes the work of a visionary, and even then, people tend to resist change. You can see this by the number of comments along the lines of, "Sorry, but app-based games aren't for me." Some have even compared a boardgame app to a video game, which I find odd, to say the least. It's like saying that a magazine ad is the same as a magazine.

As far as MOM 2ed goes, I can't help but think that FFG is unveiling a revolutionary product, especially in regard to its story telling. With an app, they have shown us, it is quite possible to tell a cohesive story--and one that is more coherent than "pick your adventure." As a big horror fan, I sense that MOM 2ed may offer the most immersive horror available in a boardgame.

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Doug Poskitt
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I suspect that we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Agreeing with all that has been said in this thread concerning the potential that lies in the marrying of board games with digital media, it may well be that this will open the door to some truly imaginative and innovative uses of this dual-medium.

I have more than my fair share of video games, but I really like the physical aspect of a board game. Beautiful/attractive game boards, tile arrangements, minatures, cards, tokens etc. etc. all add to the feel, flavour and atmosphere of board games that video games cannot provide.

More than that, an app that links to a board game is not a video game per se; it can be used to transform the nature of the board game in respect of the number of players needed (as is the case in a video game, granted) but the opportunities exist for more than just that.

For example, in XCOM: The Board Game, the use of an app drives parts of the game (timed-phase) but also adds a level of tension and excitement that it would be difficult to provide otherwise, be it through the use of cards or some other mechanic.

From what I can gather, Mansions of Madness (2nd Edition) uses the digital medium to introduce a fog-of-war type suspense into the proceedings as well as being used to generate atmosphere via voice-overs and music/sound effects.

We all have our own views I know, but I tend towards the side that welcomes the additional potential that the fusion of the two mediums provide.
 
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