Thursday, April 27, 2017

Am I asking for the wrong things from dry erace markers?

I've been looking at my PnP copy of Akua, contemplating at how it hasn't seen any play yet. Frankly, we've found it a convoluted and not very intuitive.

I think that that is a side effect of its very nature. It is a game that is designed to be played with nothing but dry erase markers and the dryer erase board. At the same time, it is a game that is designed to be a full game with action selection and infrastructure development.

The format means no cards or hidden information or any random elements. The board and the pen marks have to handle everything and that can be a tall order.

It is kind of funny to think of developing what is basically a travel Euro, when the actual functional solution that we have used has been tablets. But I have to admire the desire to make a physical and mechanical game with such minimal components.

However, a game that I can play with a clipboard and some dry erase markers on a car trip or standing in line or on a plane needs to be one that I can play with a divided attention. I don't think Akua passes that particular test.

So I got to thinking, what kind of game would I want to play via dry a race that would both have the feel of a Euro or German Family Game? In the first thing that came to mind was something like Transamerica, where you would be drawing lines along a map to make connections.

Of course, you wouldn't be able to easily replicate the destination cards of Transamerica on the board. So then I thought it would need to be some kind of action selection game, where you choose to do things like draw track or make deliveries or other train actions. Since I'm clearly thinking about a train game.

Then I realized that might already exist with the pencil-and-paper adaptation of Stephenson's Rocket, another PnP project that I haven't played and really should. While it was designed for each player to have their own board, I think one board with different colored makers for each player should work.

Of course, Stephenson's Rocket, while I'm pretty sure it is more intuitive than Akua, also probably won't pass that test of being easily played with lots of distractions.

And, the truth of the matter is I really need to play both Akua and Stephenson's Rocket, not to judge them as how they work as dry erase games but how they work as games. Akua seems like it would be a good game with the right players. I know a couple guys back in Chicago who would love it but even more who wouldn't like it. And Stephenson's Rocket is a classic but will this adaptations do it justice?

At the same time, does this ideal dry erase game exist? I know there are games that use dry erase well (Some of my friends have raved about Captain Sonar) but one that would work on a plane?

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