With board games making reappearance in people’s living rooms again as the rediscovery of how much enjoyment can be had with them, I think it’s time to bring a little technology into the design. I believe NFC is the answer.
NFC or Near Field Communication has been around for some time now, but it took Toys for Bob to bring this tech to video games in a very successful way. The Skylanders series melds action-adventure platforming with physical character figurines that when placed on a portal, their digital representation would appear in the game. Kids of all ages, including me, went wild for this wonderful mix of toys and games. Collecting all of the characters was also part of the fun, much to Activision’s delight since money was pouring into their pockets from this.
With the Skylanders series having raked in $1.5 billion in retail sales to date and Skylanders Swap Force releasing this month, we can expect this number to continuously climb.
Taking this formula into the board games arena sounds like an easy idea that no one seems to want to grab hold of and run with it, yet. Board games that rely on lots of physical pieces like Warhammer or Dungeons & Dragons would be much more engaging if I could beam my character into a digital board layout and see it in action. Using NFC, things like adding obstacles, new environments and having easier ways to keep a plethora of statistics in one convenient location only enhance your experience that much more.
I know most like board games due to how much you can let your imagination flow and shape the experience you’re having. Tossing a digital component into it might sour said experience. The good outweighs the bad in my mind, though. With more interactivity using the technology available to us now, we can bring our imaginations to life and the limitless possibilities that come with it.