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Subject: Games with an expiry date? rss

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Juan Castresana
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First of all, this is not a 'hater' post. It's more a philosophic one...

I've already bought the game (although I don't have it yet), and just to say that I'm very excited about it.

The real question is if by attaching the game to an app, are we already inducing an expiry date to this game. Basically, when these platforms we are using right now will cease to exist, the game will be obsolete.
I mean, if a board game requires in its essence technology from an, shouldn't be the option to have this in the game included? Or maybe a secondary way of having the same effect and information in a non-digital way?
An example is, my parents in law have a copy of Monopoly of 1940s, a piece of History that has been kept like a treasure. Still nowadays is played and has its use.
Twenty years ago PalmOS or Blackberry were very popular and imagine they designed a board game with an app for those platforms. Nowadays it would be useless.
Shouldn't there be an option for the people to also have a combination to make it completely non-digital?

I am not entering on the "you don't like the system, don't buy it".
I would like constructive criticism and good ideas on how to mix technology and board games successfully.
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Julien Marr
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It's on PC. I can run PC games from the 80s. Pretty sure I'll still be able to emulate it in years decades centuries to come.

It won't be obsolete. It won't expire. It's not an issue.
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D Miller
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This discussion comes up once to twice a week at least. I think we will find that someone, somewhere, will make it possible.

But, even if you only get 10 years out of it, is that worth it? The hours and hours of enjoyment...10 years is more than most people keep their cars, and they pay a lot more for those.

$100 isn't an amount to scoff at (especially for a game, which isn't essential), but really, in the big picture, over 10 years it isn't much.
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Joe D
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I recently played Might and Might III: Isles of Terra, and Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny on PC. That's a 27-year old game and a 31-year old game.

I think it's most likely that somehow the software will remain alive (at least on PC, maybe not the iOS or Android app). Even if you only get 10 years out of it it very well might be worth it, as D Miller mentioned above.

Ultimately everything has an expiration date though, even people. So should a middle-aged gamer who is let's say 50 years old just never buy a board game because the gamer himself will probably expire in 20 years or so?
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Juan Castresana
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jazzee wrote:
It's on PC. I can run PC games from the 80s. Pretty sure I'll still be able to emulate it in years decades centuries to come.

It won't be obsolete. It won't expire. It's not an issue.


It's on PC? I've only seen it in Steam, which is a propietary platform. No Steam and no app. If it would be open to Windows/Mac I would completely agree with your statement. I also run games from the 80s and it's not an issue at all. Just I'm afraid of having half of the game in platforms that depend on companies that can change their business model or whatever...
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Kevin B. Smith
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There's a reasonable chance the Android version will still be runnable, on emulators, for years/decades to come.

I really wish companies would open source these apps, or at least commit to doing so if/when they stop supporting them. That way, if people are motivated enough, the apps would continue to exist and be maintained.

It would also allow translating into languages the publisher doesn't feel like supporting, fixing bugs the publisher doesn't feel like fixing, and supporting platforms the publisher doesn't feel like supporting.

It would also make it easier to add features. Apparently (I haven't researched in detail) there is a community-built from-scratch replacement app for Mansions of Madness. Unlike the official app, it includes a scenario builder.
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Cyber Dwarf
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If FFG still exists in 30 years and does not want the JIME app to be online, it will not be.

But in 30 years you will be able to play at The Lord of the ring : return to hogwarts 10th year anniversary edition with Darth Vader & Captain amreica ad-dons... and it will be a Disney game (with an app in VR)!
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Gene Moore
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I am 99.99% certain that someone (maybe me?) will create analog fan expansions to this game. It's completely doable, so there will always be some way to play the game for decades to come.
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Keith Scholes
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First of all I think I think it will be a long time before the apps will become completely unusable, given the possibilities with emulators and resilience of the platforms themselves. Certainly beyond the point that most people will have gotten ‘their money’s worth’ from the game. After all apps written to support board games represent a very small proportion of all apps written for these platforms and the problems caused by abandoning them will likely ensure that the platforms as a whole will be supported for some time to come.

However, we should consider the possibility of companies such as FFG eventually ceasing to deliver content for these games. This is probably inevitable either sooner because the game itself is not a success; or later because interest in the game and its expansions wanes. I think the indications are that the former is unlikely and the latter will not occur for some years. In this case though we have a number of possibilities:

1) As mentioned above we will have the previously created content available for some time. At first purchasable as it is likely that FFG or whoever will still be happy to get revenue from the DLC even if they are not actively developing it, and then by individuals preserving purchased software and running it using whatever mechanisms are available.

2)It would be nice if FFG made an official authoring system available for fan created scenarios to be played with the supplied physical content in the way that Lucky Duck Games have done with Chronicles of Crime. Even if they do not do so it might be possible that fans themselves might be able to create something by deductively re-engineering an alternative app as I believe has been done with Mansions of Madness.

3)In a variation of 2 above, the physical plastic and cardboard components will still be available, so it would not seem impossible to devise a physical simulation of the app using extra user made components such as cards and tokens. This could be designed to accurately mimic the workings of the app or allow the user to introduce their own variants. Indeed it is always possible to simply use the components to create an entirely new game. I think that it is unlikely that you will see anything from FFG along these lines as they have put the effort into making this an app based game and doing a kind of reverse Imperial Assault would probably be a case of small return for a lot of effort.

Finally in writing the above it occurred to me that there are some aspects of app based games that have not been widely discussed elsewhere (although I may be wrong in this), these take the form of a pro and a con for such games. The pro is that it is relatively easier for companies to respond easily to user based feedback on gameplay, allowing them to improve the releases of content over time. The con is almost the converse of the pro in that the app prevents to a large degree a user from adjusting gameplay and creating their own variants of the game.

I hope this reply has provided the kind of thoughts that the OP was asking for and has not gone too far off topic.
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Rowan Massing
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I bought this game yesterday and since then my worries with this issue have intensified. Unlike many other app-supported games, this one requires the app, and unlike other games this one will likely cost a fortune once I have all the content. Even the reassurance that the app will be supported for years to come is lost on me because I am getting in on this game with the idea that it will make a wonderful gift one day for my son who is at this time little over a year old. I understand that fans may create a superior app that will always be available, but I feel FFG should officially address the issue and allay our fears and any need to speculate. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm looking for a little more stability in an investment this size. As more and more app-driven games enter the market, this issue is going to get increasingly more attention and maybe then even the "if you don't like it, don't buy it" crowd will start to worry about the expiry date on their cardboard collection.
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Matt J
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Philosophically speaking, the app's lifespan is a non-issue as long as it outlasts interest in the game.
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Julien Marr
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Bilestoad17 wrote:
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm looking for a little more stability in an investment this size. As more and more app-driven games enter the market, this issue is going to get increasingly more attention and maybe then even the "if you don't like it, don't buy it" crowd will start to worry about the expiry date on their cardboard collection.


2000 games a year. Maybe 10 are app driven? It's like the 'scourge of legacy games!' all over again.

Lets be real, it's Fantasy Flight, they are renown for re-releasing games that date everything before it (hello TI4, Descent 2, MoM 2, X-wing...). We love a lot of what they do, but you have to admit they are a corporation that has to churn a profit. And what better way than rehashing your greatest hits? There's a good chance in ten years time LOTR 2 - Journeys back to Middle Earth is coming out*. Maybe a with a conversion kit if you're lucky.

They can't make a promise that the app will be available in perpetuity... and if they do there is no guarantee they will keep it. It's a meaningless promise to give.

Hope this comes across in the right spirit but... if you're emotionally invested in this continuing then I would probably return the game or enjoy it as it is and don't get the million overpriced diluted content expansions (says the guy slightly regretting spending a horrific amount on Imperial Assault).

*or LOTR 2 - The Journey Continues... or LOTR2 - Journey Harder
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Julien Marr
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castresana wrote:


It's on PC? I've only seen it in Steam, which is a propietary platform. No Steam and no app. If it would be open to Windows/Mac I would completely agree with your statement. I also run games from the 80s and it's not an issue at all. Just I'm afraid of having half of the game in platforms that depend on companies that can change their business model or whatever...


For basic apps like this Steam manages updates and an install folder. Just find the .exe when Steam stops working (for whatever reason) and create a direct link to it on your desktop! Yes, it does work. Yes it will continue to work when Valve decides they are tired of money and stop Steam working.
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- not every game from the 1940 survived, not every game has to
- you can take preservative measures if you want to keep it around
-- keeping old devices
-- emulators
-- putting you apps in an offline windows virtual box and you can survive the fall of Microsoft not just steam and FFG
-- using a small ARM board to run Android on and keep it with your games exclusively
(of course some measures require action before an app goes down, but that holds true also for something like sleeving cards which is useless once cards are beyond rescue)
- longevity in an age of many competing and concurring games is a relative term given that our time to play games is usual more limited than our ability to buy new ones.
- longevity is the most discussed issue when it comes apps with board games although general quality and the design of the board-app interaction is far more important (ok to be fair, that is an opinion of mine )
 
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Jeroen van der Valk
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If you install it now in a tablet, it will be playable forever, as long as you have power.
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Kaganishu Khan
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Isnt it FAR more likely you will lose, destroy or otherwise make unusable critical components of a game with no way of replacing them, than an App being forever unavailable?

Its not like my old copy of HeroQuest from the 90s is in any complete playing shape anymore.
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Rowan Massing
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jazzee wrote:
castresana wrote:


It's on PC? I've only seen it in Steam, which is a propietary platform. No Steam and no app. If it would be open to Windows/Mac I would completely agree with your statement. I also run games from the 80s and it's not an issue at all. Just I'm afraid of having half of the game in platforms that depend on companies that can change their business model or whatever...


For basic apps like this Steam manages updates and an install folder. Just find the .exe when Steam stops working (for whatever reason) and create a direct link to it on your desktop! Yes, it does work. Yes it will continue to work when Valve decides they are tired of money and stop Steam working.

In the interest of copy protection, would that *.exe not stop working the moment you tried running it from a Windows re-install or another computer?
 
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Mark Blasco

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Considering how cheap the Amazon Fire tablets are when Black Friday comes around, you can purchase one of those and load the game onto it, than turn off the internet connection and the app will work for as long as the tablet survives. Stick it in the box with the game with a charger, and you'll have many many years of play without worries.

If you end up playing the game long enough for the app to become obsolete, than congratulations for getting your money's worth out of it! It seems like nowadays so many people play something a couple of times and then move on.

I think it's worth noting, that when people bring up the fact that they're playing a version of monopoly from 70 years ago, back then there weren't many options for games. Nowadays you have thousands coming out every single year. Most of your game collection will survive just fine even if we lose all of our computer technology. Just think of this one as being more of a video game than a board game, and play it appropriately.
 
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Henrik S.
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There is a problem if the app does need server access with the servers down or is left in an unusable state like the iOS version of Golem Arcana. Than it is game over.
 
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Burke Martin
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Nobody knows is answer and here are some points to think about.

1. Where will it be available to download.
2. Will any of the extra/paid content be available if it is available.
3. Are there DRM mechanisms working behind the scenes that could prevent it from being usable, ala Battles for Middle Earth from EA.
4. How much work will it be to get running and is it worth it to play this game.

Im sure I could think of more potential obstacles and the reality is that at some point FFG will not be around anymore. Someone would then need to pick up the support for at least hosting this app and chances of that happening are probably nill because there is no way to make money off hosting it.

I also think the licensing will expire and the program will be pulled long before it loses support due to technical challenges.
 
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Chris J Davis
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What happened with Golem Arcana in the end?
 
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Chris J Davis
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brkmrtn wrote:


I also think the licensing will expire and the program will be pulled long before it loses support due to technical challenges.


For something like this, I would be very surprised if the licence for the app to remain available (specifically just the app, not the rest of the game) wasn't for perpetuity, due to the nature of its link with the board game. It would be more reasonable for the licence to state that that it expires for creating new content, but is effectively forever for just making the app available (and potentially things like bug-fixes).

If FFG/Asmodee negotiated a licence where they have to pull the app as soon as they lose the licence to the product, then they negotiated a very bad deal indeed.
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Chris Poor
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Here's what gives me hope in this situation:

https://github.com/NPBruce/valkyrie/wiki

Totally free (at present) fan-created platform that is a substitute for the official app for Mansions of Madness and Descent (and perhaps Imperial Assault). Fan-created scenarios of very high quality.

I doubt it will be long before someone decides to add JiMe to the list.

Also, even beyond this individual program, other people in the future can write other, similar programs.

It is a risk when buying a game that has non-typical interactions and components, that the game may actually only be a part of a fad that will fade. There is usually a large enough community to keep the game playable. Especially with Board Game Geek in existence. Hope that never becomes obsolete...
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Cameron McKenzie
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LarkinVB wrote:
There is a problem if the apps does need server access with the servers down or is left in an unusable state like the iOS version of Golem Arcana. Than it is game over.


What happens if you run the app while your device is offline?
If it still works, you should be fine.
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Rob Davis
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Magellan1 wrote:
Ultimately everything has an expiration date though, even people. So should a middle-aged gamer who is let's say 50 years old just never buy a board game because the gamer himself will probably expire in 20 years or so?

No, we should just get 50% off MSRP on everything!
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