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Subject: Apps and board games, the poll rss

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CARL SKUTSCH
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Honestly, I really didn't want to do this, but people kept posting and posting and posting, so I just felt drawn, forced, a higher power made me do this poll. It's not my fault!

Ok, so there's this thread going on (and on and on): What's your opinion about app driven games?. Vote on what you think about apps and board games. (If you are somehow not familiar with the concept, check out Alchemists or Mansions of Madness: Second Edition or XCOM: The Board Game.)

Poll
What do you think of using apps and board games?
I think it's a bad trend for board games and boardgaming.
I don't think it's good or bad for boardgaming.
I think integrated apps are a great addition to some board games.
I would never buy a game that requires an app to play.
I am disinclined to buy a game that requires an app to play.
If the game is good, I don't mind if it requires an app to play.
I'm actually kinda of eager to buy (or already own) a game that requires an app.
I don't own any games that require an app.
I own a game that requires an app and I like it.
I own a game that requires an app and I don't like it.
However I feel about games that require apps, I like the idea of helper apps for some board games.
However I feel about games that require apps, I dislike the idea of helper apps for any board games.
      950 answers
Poll created by skutsch


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I'll be interested to see the numbers with regards to "good or bad for gaming".

I will never purchase a game with an app and most likely won't play one either.

But that's to do with my personal preferences about what I enjoy about board games. Apps interfere directly with a large proportion of the things that I enjoy about them. So while I'm vehemently and self-admittedly blinkeredly not interested, I can appreciate what they do for people with different preferences (and different gaming tastes as well) and would never suggest to anyone that it's inherently a bad thing.
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Andrew J.
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Every app game I've ever seen is limited to iOS, or, at best, iOS and Android. I dislike the implication that to enjoy board games I now need to be locked in to one of those two ecosystems. It's like buying an Android-only refrigerator -- sure I could buy an Android to unlock the extra (or required) features, but that's asinine in the extreme and why in the world would I let my phone choice dictate all areas of my life?
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Your fault or not, I'm blaming the messenger...er, poll-maker.
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Mark McGee
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Once upon a time I was at a gaming convention, and I tried out a game that required an app to play. It was Golem Arcana, I believe. I actually didn't know it was an app game until I had already sat down and committed to playing it. My preconceptions about app games before playing it were:

- App games would suffer from issues like batteries and internet.
- Reliance on tech would allow the game design to be lazier.
- The game would not be able to be played in the future, once the app is no longer supported by tech.

I was sitting at the table chatting with the guy doing the demo until another player came it for me to play against. At that time, he handed us the electronic pointer pen thingies that you use to communicate with the app. Both of them had been left on overnight and the batteries were dead. He had to go find some batteries.

When he got back, he pulled up the app on the tablet to get his demo profiles ready. He had to dl his demo profile (or something like that) because they weren't on the right tablet (or weren't set up properly).

Once we picked our armies from his profile's preset armies (I can only imagine how much more time would be added if he didn't already have preset teams built), he explained the rules. This part took as much time as it normally takes to explain rules.

During the game, units were dealing and taking different amounts of damage than we thought they should. Turns out that some attributes of the units were hidden unless you looked up a special errata document that I wasn't aware of. We couldn't not do the amount of damage assigned by the app, so we were forced to just guess how much damage our units might deal each time we attacked.

One of the units I had on my team turned out to be the wrong model. When I eventually tried to activate it, the app refused to let me, because it was a model with a different name than the one in the app's profile. We had to take a short break for the demoer to find the model that was in the profile.

Each time we took a turn, we were focused on the app until we were done, then we'd pass the tablet to the other player. We weren't always aware of the moves the other player was doing, but sometimes the app would tell us to remove a unit when it died.

After playing that game, I maintain all my initial thoughts about apps in games, with a few extras:

- Apps add to setup time and rules explanation time.
- Apps reduce the ability for players to improvise flexibly if something weird or unexpected happens.
- Apps reduce the human-to-human interaction in tabletop games.
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Dan
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The problem with a game that requires an app, is after a while, it is going to rely on old technology. And that will make the game feel dated.

For instance, who still plays boardgames that require a VHS tape?
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Adam Hostetler
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aaj94 wrote:
Every app game I've ever seen is limited to iOS, or, at best, iOS and Android. I dislike the implication that to enjoy board games I now need to be locked in to one of those two ecosystems. It's like buying an Android-only refrigerator -- sure I could buy an Android to unlock the extra (or required) features, but that's asinine in the extreme and why in the world would I let my phone choice dictate all areas of my life?


The big ones (Descent, Mansions of Madness, Alchemists, XCOM) are all available on both iPhone and Android. All but Alchemists are also available on PC (via Steam).
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Here's the thing: if the game is well-designed and fun, and if the app is well-implemented and user-friendly, I have no problem with app-driven games. In fact, I own XCOM: The Board Game and I think it might be one of the best games I've played this past year. I was hesitant about it at first glance for all the reasons everyone else poo-poos such games but once I took a chance with it, it really impressed me.

Well-implemented apps can open up game design elements that are either impractical or too cumbersome to put to dead-tree media. But app-reliance itself still does not excuse poor game design. It may, in fact, exacerbate it. Developers have to really be forward-thinking when they attempt to tap that medium.

I won't buy a game based on app-necessity but neither will I reject one out-of-hand. I judge the game as a whole as it fits my interests and let that determine whether or not to buy-in.
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My sister loves her iphone and I got her Bomb Squad and played it with her. But in its case the app is optional; you can substitute a kitchen timer, for a less immersive experience but virtually the same game.

I don't have the right hardware to play a game that needed an app. I'd only consider getting one if there were also some analog option to do whatever the app does for gameplay, even if that meant having to do some calculations manually or needing to look things up in a reference table. I'd find it reassuring that there was a backup way to play if the tech ever failed, and would let me switch to an app if I ever did have the right device.
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I am fine with apps helping board games as long as the apps are not subtract the board gaming experience. Alchemists, One Night Ultimate Werewolves, Codenames are some games that do well in integrating apps to board gaming.

On the other side of the fence, I am wary with what I perceive as "apps divert players' attentions from board gaming experience". Golem Arcana is one. As someone previously described, I found Golem Arcana's app was competing for my attention with the board game. Maybe I played it wrong or something but that's my feeling.

I haven't played Descent, Mansion of Madness etc, so at present I am very cautious on games like them.
 
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I don't agree mixing factual and opinion questions in the same poll. Some are factual questions ("I don't own any games that require an app", "I own a game...") and the rest are opinion (I like/dislike questions).
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All the app evangelists in the world will not convince me until they start handing out free hardware.
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ThroughTheDeckGlass wrote:
All the app evangelists in the world will not convince me until they start handing out free hardware.


And not even then, for me.
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ppsantos wrote:
I don't agree mixing factual and opinion questions in the same poll. Some are factual questions ("I don't own any games that require an app", "I own a game...") and the rest are opinion (I like/dislike questions).

Why not? Each question is answered on its own. Most polls mix fact and opinion questions. "Are you a Democrat or a Republican?" "Did you vote in the midterm elections?" "Do you think Trump is crazy or not?" "Are you planning to vote in the next election?" Actually, you debate whether the last question is one of fact or opinion.
 
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meshnaster wrote:
Once upon a time I was at a gaming convention, and I tried out a game that required an app to play. It was Golem Arcana, I believe. I actually didn't know it was an app game until I had already sat down and committed to playing it. My preconceptions about app games before playing it were:

- App games would suffer from issues like batteries and internet.
- Reliance on tech would allow the game design to be lazier.
- The game would not be able to be played in the future, once the app is no longer supported by tech.

I was sitting at the table chatting with the guy doing the demo until another player came it for me to play against. At that time, he handed us the electronic pointer pen thingies that you use to communicate with the app. Both of them had been left on overnight and the batteries were dead. He had to go find some batteries.

When he got back, he pulled up the app on the tablet to get his demo profiles ready. He had to dl his demo profile (or something like that) because they weren't on the right tablet (or weren't set up properly).

Once we picked our armies from his profile's preset armies (I can only imagine how much more time would be added if he didn't already have preset teams built), he explained the rules. This part took as much time as it normally takes to explain rules.

During the game, units were dealing and taking different amounts of damage than we thought they should. Turns out that some attributes of the units were hidden unless you looked up a special errata document that I wasn't aware of. We couldn't not do the amount of damage assigned by the app, so we were forced to just guess how much damage our units might deal each time we attacked.

One of the units I had on my team turned out to be the wrong model. When I eventually tried to activate it, the app refused to let me, because it was a model with a different name than the one in the app's profile. We had to take a short break for the demoer to find the model that was in the profile.

Each time we took a turn, we were focused on the app until we were done, then we'd pass the tablet to the other player. We weren't always aware of the moves the other player was doing, but sometimes the app would tell us to remove a unit when it died.

After playing that game, I maintain all my initial thoughts about apps in games, with a few extras:

- Apps add to setup time and rules explanation time.
- Apps reduce the ability for players to improvise flexibly if something weird or unexpected happens.
- Apps reduce the human-to-human interaction in tabletop games.

So you played a game once that had a poorly integrated app / boardgame interface. (In fact, it required special pointer thingies to even make it work at all.) So because of that you know that apps don't work with boardgames. Wha?

I played a war game once, Victory in Europe, that completely sucked. The rules were awful and the game was impossible to play as written. Clearly war games don't work. (Or perhaps I could even say that all board games don't work because of that one bad experience.) Pfui.

Alchemists has a 7.8 rating. People love it. Mansions of Madness: Second Edition has an 8.6 rating. People LOVE it. One of my gaming buddies told me how much he thinks the game is enhanced by the use of the app.

I'm personally not eager to pick up an app integrated board game. On some level it bugs me. However, I know that's just my own personal prejudice speaking. The hostility expressed here and elsewhere towards app integrated games seems strangely excessive. To each their own, I say.
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djn1981 wrote:
The problem with a game that requires an app, is after a while, it is going to rely on old technology. And that will make the game feel dated.


Not only feeling dated, but more likely unable to play

djn1981 wrote:

For instance, who still plays boardgames that require a VHS tape?


*raises hand* And why not? Of course I scrapped the VHS long time ago and ripped the contents to a more modern medium
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skutsch wrote:
The hostility expressed here and elsewhere towards app integrated games seems strangely excessive. To each their own, I say.


Hardly strange or excessive. The single most common reason given for not wanting apps in board games is this: "I spend all day looking at a monitor; I play board game to get away from technology; and so I just don't want apps in my board games".

And whilst that isn't my exact reason, it simply comes down to that - I just don't want apps in my board games. That's not what a board game is for me. Whilst that can be stated with some emphasis, such as I simply won't consider a game that uses an app, nor play my friend's copy, that's hardly excessive. True, there are a few prescriptivists out there, but there's always that percentage in anything.

And what do you expect when you ask the question? Just one side of answers?
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JasonJ0 wrote:
skutsch wrote:
The hostility expressed here and elsewhere towards app integrated games seems strangely excessive. To each their own, I say.


Hardly strange or excessive. The single most common reason given for not wanting apps in board games is this: "I spend all day looking at a monitor; I play board game to get away from technology; and so I just don't want apps in my board games".

And whilst that isn't my exact reason, it simply comes down to that - I just don't want apps in my board games. That's not what a board game is for me. Whilst that can be stated with some emphasis, such as I simply won't consider a game that uses an app, nor play my friend's copy, that's hardly excessive. True, there are a few prescriptivists out there, but there's always that percentage in anything.

And what do you expect when you ask the question? Just one side of answers?

Oh no, I expect lots of different answers on different sides. I just think some of them are wrong.
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skutsch wrote:
Oh no, I expect lots of different answers on different sides. I just think some of them are wrong.


Interesting. Wrong opinions, huh? Now that's something I might call strangely excessive hostility.
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JasonJ0 wrote:
skutsch wrote:
Oh no, I expect lots of different answers on different sides. I just think some of them are wrong. :D


Interesting. Wrong opinions, huh? Now that's something I might call strangely excessive hostility.

I think global warming is real. My Aunt thinks it's not. Those are our opinions. I think she's wrong. That's also my opinion. I wouldn't call it strangely excessively hostile. Would you?

We all go around thinking other people's opinions on things are wrong. From politics to science. I find it very hard to believe that you don't have opinions about other people's opinions.

However, to be more specific on this subject. I think there's nothing wrong in not liking or not wanting to buy/play games with apps. What I think is wrong is thinking that those games are somehow bad for gaming in general or that they inherently make for bad games. It's the difference between me saying I don't like beets (I don't) and me saying that beets are an evil food that people should avoid at all costs (which I kinda also think but I know that's silly of me).
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djn1981 wrote:
The problem with a game that requires an app, is after a while, it is going to rely on old technology. And that will make the game feel dated.

For instance, who still plays boardgames that require a VHS tape?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRMphkKF3M0 shows that some still play these games but minus the tape. So if somebody has the skill and desire to replicate these apps then the apps could outlive the physical board games.
I am still not convinced they are necessary but they do open up a lot of possibilities for solo play or as shown by descent one against many.
At the end of the day I think they are going to be a niche corner in a niche market much like legacy games and so are easily avoided if so desired.
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skutsch wrote:
meshnaster wrote:
Once upon a time I was at a gaming convention, and I tried out a game that required an app to play. It was Golem Arcana, I believe. I actually didn't know it was an app game until I had already sat down and committed to playing it. My preconceptions about app games before playing it were:

- App games would suffer from issues like batteries and internet.
- Reliance on tech would allow the game design to be lazier.
- The game would not be able to be played in the future, once the app is no longer supported by tech.

I was sitting at the table chatting with the guy doing the demo until another player came it for me to play against. At that time, he handed us the electronic pointer pen thingies that you use to communicate with the app. Both of them had been left on overnight and the batteries were dead. He had to go find some batteries.

When he got back, he pulled up the app on the tablet to get his demo profiles ready. He had to dl his demo profile (or something like that) because they weren't on the right tablet (or weren't set up properly).

Once we picked our armies from his profile's preset armies (I can only imagine how much more time would be added if he didn't already have preset teams built), he explained the rules. This part took as much time as it normally takes to explain rules.

During the game, units were dealing and taking different amounts of damage than we thought they should. Turns out that some attributes of the units were hidden unless you looked up a special errata document that I wasn't aware of. We couldn't not do the amount of damage assigned by the app, so we were forced to just guess how much damage our units might deal each time we attacked.

One of the units I had on my team turned out to be the wrong model. When I eventually tried to activate it, the app refused to let me, because it was a model with a different name than the one in the app's profile. We had to take a short break for the demoer to find the model that was in the profile.

Each time we took a turn, we were focused on the app until we were done, then we'd pass the tablet to the other player. We weren't always aware of the moves the other player was doing, but sometimes the app would tell us to remove a unit when it died.

After playing that game, I maintain all my initial thoughts about apps in games, with a few extras:

- Apps add to setup time and rules explanation time.
- Apps reduce the ability for players to improvise flexibly if something weird or unexpected happens.
- Apps reduce the human-to-human interaction in tabletop games.

So you played a game once that had a poorly integrated app / boardgame interface. (In fact, it required special pointer thingies to even make it work at all.) So because of that you know that apps don't work with boardgames. Wha?

I played a war game once, Victory in Europe, that completely sucked. The rules were awful and the game was impossible to play as written. Clearly war games don't work. (Or perhaps I could even say that all board games don't work because of that one bad experience.) Pfui.

Alchemists has a 7.8 rating. People love it. Mansions of Madness: Second Edition has an 8.6 rating. People LOVE it. One of my gaming buddies told me how much he thinks the game is enhanced by the use of the app.

I'm personally not eager to pick up an app integrated board game. On some level it bugs me. However, I know that's just my own personal prejudice speaking. The hostility expressed here and elsewhere towards app integrated games seems strangely excessive. To each their own, I say.


He is basing his opinion on Golem Arcana. The ONE app-driven game that has low ranking on BGG.
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I got Alchemists and XCOM which both happened to turn out brilliantly. Dead of Winter is also massively improved by getting the app with Eric Summoner's sweet sweet voice - so this far I'm enjoying the ride
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Mansions of Madness 2E's app completely changed how I felt about the game. The app just made it so much more streamlined and easy to jump into, whereas I felt the 1st edition of Madness was far too fiddly and had too much downtime for me to enjoy.

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peachpie wrote:

As for those said games with apps, I am definitely not interested, would never buy one, and would avoid playing them. For me that is not what table games are for.



You should try Alchemists, or the One Night Ultimate Werewolf with the app before passing judgment.

The recent good games with apps essentially just help streamline the "fiddlyness" of those games. You don't spend the entire game looking at your phone. You spend actually very little time on them.

Even with XCOM. Only one player is on the app and he roughly only spends a quarter of the game on it. To that effect, it's not different from any number of player boards from other games, from say, looking at your navigation chart in Captain Sonar or your player board in Agricola.

In fact, i suggest going for the ultimate: play Mansions of Madness or XCOM by projecting the app on a big TV near the table or fixed on a wall near the table... The app trully becomes part of the game. Everyone can look at it at anytime and it creates a more immersive game environment than any other boardgame or videogame can do.
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