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Subject: Wargame Go rss

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Eddy Sterckx
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Now that the Pokemon Go tsunami has come and gone it’s maybe already safe to speculate a bit on what the technology could do for wargaming.

If you don’t know what Pokemon Go is, count yourself lucky, but in essence it’s software on your smartphone to project virtual images on the real world that could be observed through the smartphone’s camera.

Now take a block wargame – they’re good at creating Fog of War, but their implementation is binary : you either know what the unit is, down to combat factor or you don’t. Let’s imagine that you could scan with your phone over the battlefield and a whole range of info becomes visible – from nothing on the units on your left flank because you have no reccon units there over partial / incomplete information in the center to almost guaranteed accurate info on your right flank. And your opponent does not know what you know. All it would take are RFID chips in the blocks and some software. You’d still be playing a physical boardgame, with all the tactile enjoyment it can give, but the info / intel you’re getting is digital. I can see that work.

Thoughts ?
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Ben Delp
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Cool idea, but there's no way in hell I'm going to look at the map through my phone. It's too small; I think even a tablet would be too small for my taste.
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Ronald Hill
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This is a fascinating idea. I have no idea on how it would be implemented and I suspect the cost would be astronomical, however, as technology advances, could this be the future?
 
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marc lecours
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Wargame go:

Japanese expansion in WW2 shown as a game of "go":



This was from a book about how the game of "go" influenced military strategy in japan and China. The book also included a map of China with go stones on it, to show how Communist China used go strategy to win their revolution.

Sorry about being offtopic. When I saw the title to the thread, this is what came to mind.
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marc lecours
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Actually your idea to combine computer technology with traditional wargaming on a physical board is very interesting. The idea of a computer just helping with a few aspects of a game rather than dominating a game is very appealing.
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Russ Williams
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(FWIW I too thought this would relate to the good game of Go when I saw the subject line, not to Pokemon Go.)

---

Mixing in software or electronic gadgetry with my physical boardgaming does not interest me much. As I wrote in a similar thread a few weeks ago, in the context of abstract games:


Some practical issues:

* Software is sometimes buggy; I dislike the feeling that my play of a "board" game could literally become locked up and unable to be continued due to a software bug.

* Similarly electronic hardware dies or goes obsolete. In ten years, when some custom electronic gadget for a "board" game breaks or stops working for some mysterious reason (as often happens to consumer electronics, after all), it seems quite likely that it will be impossible to repair, and perhaps expensive to replace (searching on ebay or whatever). Whereas if a physical board game piece is lost or broken, you can at least usually improvise a new piece or repair it, and carry on playing your game.

* Software is generally not modifiable by the end user, especially not in this kind of consumer product. So there's not much flexibility in terms of playing with house rules or variant boards/maps/pieces or new official rules or undoing someone's move by mutual consent during a game or exploring what would have happened if someone's losing move had been done differently, etc. (Consider the case of your own game Catchup, and the app which is still playing with the obsolete rule set!)

* Ecological/pollution/waste issues with the chemicals in the batteries and various electronic components in mass produced electronic gadgets, as compared to the more ecologically benign paper, wood, plastic, etc components of traditional boardgames, which are far less dangerous when they end up in the trash later on. Especially for the kind of game-specific dedicated hardware you're apparently describing (separate electronic gadgets for each game, as opposed to various programs which could all be run on a single computer or smartphone, instead of requiring new hardware for each new game).

* Most consumer software is privacy-violatingly intrusive and untrustworthy and insecure. "Internet of things" devices (which these "board" games probably are in some cases) are ridiculously insecure and get malware-infected and misused for massive denial of service attacks etc, or simply maliciously broken/vandalized.

===

And then there is a purely subjective aesthetic/philosophical issue: I find one of the very appealing core things about board games is exactly that they use "inert" physical components which are "brought to life" by the players themselves.

Everything that physically happens in the game is due to player actions, not due to some electronic gadget doing silent invisible computations behind the scenes. And not only the physical stuff, but also all the game mechanisms/rules/systems are carried out by the players, whether it's direct player decisions (e.g. moving their pieces, buying widgets and paying money to the bank, moving their score marker, etc) or players implementing "non-player" things like dice rolls to randomize game events.

With software, you can trivially easily achieve arbitrarily complex rules (and many computer games do that, throwing in everything but the kitchen sink just because they can), but I find it far more interesting (from a creative/artistic point of view) to see what can be done when you don't have the crutch of a computer to do arbitrary amounts of work behind the scenes, but instead the game rules/system/model must be not only understandable by the players, but directly implementable by the players.

And ultimately, that desire for a non-screen experience is not really about screens per se, but about a non-electronic non-virtual experience, period. The screen itself is just an obvious easily blamed manifestation. (For me, anyway.)
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Brian Train
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rubberchicken wrote:
Wargame go:

This was from a book about how the game of "go" influenced military strategy in japan and China. The book also included a map of China with go stones on it, to show how Communist China used go strategy to win their revolution.

Sorry about being offtopic. When I saw the title to the thread, this is what came to mind.


That book (Scott Boorman, The Protracted Game) was a good example of how far you can stretch a metaphor before it snaps.

Brian
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Robert Wesley
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How many actual 'Japanese Operations' incorporated "GO" as "part" for its 'designation'?
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T. Dauphin
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rubberchicken wrote:
Actually your idea to combine computer technology with traditional wargaming on a physical board is very interesting. The idea of a computer just helping with a few aspects of a game rather than dominating a game is very appealing.


I agree.
I particularly like what they could do for fog of war, and I would definitely want to try out something that offered some way of managing things to make a game more 'foggy'.

But I share Russ's concerns, all except for the modifiable aspect of these units, because technology just keeps getting smaller...

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1651651/board-game-can-thin...



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Pokke
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Would probably work better by using virtual reality, instead of the small viewport of a smartphone.

Imagine a classic wargame, two or more players on a table. But the terrain and pieces are "virtually" augmented so that by using the VR stuff you can quickly dive into the battlefield and see the action/info all around you. It would help to grasp and visualise a lot of data. Higher terrain to name but one...

I would be game!

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Eddy Sterckx
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Pokke wrote:
Would probably work better by using virtual reality, instead of the small viewport of a smartphone.


Well, there are already VR headsets that use the iPhone as their display device - from a simple cardboard and elastic band DIY to some integrated stuff

https://www.wareable.com/vr/best-iphone-virtual-reality-setu...

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Eldar Closer
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Arcane Warfare Excel - out now - is a miniatures game rules that manage well fog of war without the need for a PC.
And acknowledges the game of Go top among its influences.

But I see the appeal of a digital board that can detect the pieces position, plus data stored in a chip inside counters. That combination can revolutionize board gaming, as long as you keep looking at the board and pieces and not at the screen.
Otherwise it reminds me of small model train layouts controlled via tablet: just does not work because you do not really contemplate the models.

 
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Trent Garner
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I would say PlayTable is just what you are looking for. While rather expensive at this time, it's exactly the technology that I envisioned while reading the OP. I am very much interested in this technology and its application to board gaming. Looking forward to it becoming (hopefully) mainstream and more affordable.
 
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Eldar Closer
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Cantatta wrote:
I would say PlayTable is just what you are looking for.


Very close, but not still there. Too tablet like.
I envision what looks more like a regular game board, with a sensitive grid underneath.
No screen on sight is more likely to appeal to classical boardgamers, plus me.
For example for a hex grid wargame: the system can warn about illegal moves and give automatic combat resolution, allowing for complex combinations to be instantly solved.
On adventure type games, or any campaigns, a memory chip inside the counter can save unit/figure data. When you play the next session the situation is automatically set to te proper status.
In serial games you can add a learning factor, i.e. your physical character will improve based on previous experience, or lose power because of damage.
You only use the screen as a reference, you do not play on the screen, that's digital games. Play Settlers on the PC? Done that about 10 years ago.
My point about boardgames is the physical nature of the game, including visual, tactile experience, plus even the components smell matters.
 
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Russ Williams
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russ wrote:
In ten years, when some custom electronic gadget for a "board" game breaks or stops working for some mysterious reason (as often happens to consumer electronics, after all), it seems quite likely that it will be impossible to repair,


In a cosmic burst of irony, only a few hours after I posted that, my wife found that the screen on her electronic book reader was wacko with permanent horizontal and black lines making it unreadable even after a complete reset. Some web searching showed this to be a relatively common problem, and tech support said it's not repairable and she needs to buy a new one.
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Robert Wesley
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So, just yesterday 'moi' obtained a copy of "GO" by the "Hansen" company, mainly for their 'coverart' as regarded this! It is also closely resembling them 3M/AH 'bookcase' sort too. cool
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