Guest Post - Hybrid Gaming

I am a great believer in the world of hybrid board gaming. As technology advances it allows us to implement it into our games and enhance our experiences effortless and seamlessly… Well mostly. The keyword here is “enhance”, I don’t want to use tech in a board game if it replaces the human elements that I find so endearing. I want to use to tech to bring atmosphere to my games, or to streamline my games, removing the tiresome book keeping. I want the tech to make the games easier to teach, more reactive to my style of play or to help bring the game to new depths of strategy and storytelling.

I admit we are not there yet but every attempt brings us closer to the utopian future I dream of. Here to present his idea of the next evolutionary step is Kevin Sturdivant with the Game Slate. Is it a good next step? It’s certainly a bold idea, let me know what you guys think in the comments.

GameSlate origins

The GameSlate was born of inspiration from other board game fans, who wish to be more immersed in their craft. At the beginning of 2016, I had the notion to design a gaming table for all my favorite games. I had previously designed several enlarged maps for wargames to allow the miniatures to easily fit on the spaces provided, but this time I wanted something a bit more flexible.

I started with the internet, of course, and was amazed by all the many different table designs and creations by talented fans. One was dedicated to Twilight Imperium. Another was dedicated to X-Wing. Still another to Pathfinder. However, the one thing that all these designs lacked was flexibility in the form of switching from game to game. And the table took up too much room in the house. Thus, the idea for the GameSlate was born.

Instead of an entire table, The GameSlate is a tabletop device that lies flat where the player’s miniatures or tokens are placed upon the surface. Each press or release of a figure triggers a gameplay function; such as attacks, movement, or skill use. Player cards are digitally mastered and manipulated through swipe gestures; the cards turn, shuffle and flip.

Digital cards

The multi-touch grid allows multiple, simultaneous touch points which is a new innovation that makes the GameSlate possible. Multiple touch points translates to multiple figures on the gameboard at once. After a month of work, I was able to make the multi-touch device work with the software, which was a happy occasion indeed. Not just for me, but for every one who benefits from this innovation.

The Benefits for the Player

Include the Casual Gamers: The GameSlate encourages casual and new gamers through a lowered learning curve and novice play settings. We all want more players in our gaming sessions, but if the new player is confused, they will never play again. Our software is designed to help the new player and challenge the expert all in the same setting.

Remove the Boring: As the game proceeds, lost counters, lost dice, rule clarifications, other bookkeeping tasks, such a moving the turn marker become unnecessary. Thus, the overall gameplay time decreases and allows a speedy resolution.

Enhance the Awesome: Lastly, there is the enhanced game experience with lights, sounds, and gratuitous explosions and special effects. When playing licensed games, my gaming group would often put on the theme music from the show, but now the GameSlate performs lights, power effects and musical scores just like any AAA video game production.

A Bridge between Worlds

We feel that the GameSlate will help revolutionize the board game industry, which has been attempting to jump to the video game format for several years. When porting a board game to the video game format, the video game port changes the board game dramatically or forces the players into a “hot seat” turn order. Neither of these instances is great for the immersion that we, as board gamers, crave.

Within the last few years, there has been a massive wave of board games and board game designers emerging through Kickstarter, which is awesome. What this means is that the barrier to entry to the board game market has been lowered significantly and competition is increasing. The GameSlate is a new way to differentiate a board game brand through enhanced features, painted miniatures, and even special effects.

We have confidence that this project will fund because of the usefulness of the GameSlate. It was designed to be versatile. For instance, current mobile game apps can be ported to the GameSlate easily. So, in addition to the software offering that Sturx will make, I will be encouraging current mobile software developers to port their application to the GameSlate market to round out the game selection and thereby have a large selection of game apps available to our customers. Thank you for your support in making the GameSlate a reality. Trash the board; Amp your game!

Thanks Kevin. If you found this article interesting you can check out GameSlate on kickstarter and don’t forget to leave your opinions down in the comments.

Until next time…