Tuesday, August 20, 2019

How deep can a dry erase game be?

One of my fantasy goals is finding a dry erase game that has the heft of a game that, you know, has components. Basically, the idea of playing a heavy game while sitting in an airplane. And, yes, we already have that and it’s called use a tablet, silly. Which we have done, in fact.

Still, the idea of going low tech is appealing. There’s the ‘look ma, no batteries’ factor, of course. However, actually doing something with real stuff with your hands adds a visceral level to a game.

A few years back, I checked out a game called Akua that looked like the ideal I was looking for. It was a perfect information game that was just a board then add different colored markers. So, mechanically, it is the kind of game you can play on a Greyhound bus. Which was a really cool idea to me, even though I haven’t been on a Greyhound in a dog’s age.

The problem was that Akua was intricate to the point of being convoluted. It didn’t flow. I am not saying I’ve completely given up on it but it’s got issues.

Basically, I’m asking for the unreasonable :D The game I want needs to be simple enough that it can work within the medium but deep enough to be meaty and satisfying.

Well, I’m going to craft a couple games that I think will scratch a similar itch.

One is Tempus Imperium, which I understand to be the prototype of the Tempus Quest series. It’s a Roll and Write but you use the time and date instead of dice. I’m quite curious to see how it turns out and I might check out the Tempus Quest series if I like it. It’s infrastructure building with a random setup based on when you’re playing it. No dice required, just a watch.

At the same time, it’s a solitaire so it kind of fails one of basic my needs. But the idea, if it works, seems like a good building block.

The other game I’m looking at is a Catan variant called Catan Coop. It’s an ink friendly Roll and Write where you’re working together to each get seven points before the bandit destroys too many hexes, which the bandit can do in this variant. You keep track of resources on a table on the same sheet of paper as the map. You do need dice and a pawn for the bandit. Beyond that, everything is either drawn or notated on the one page. 

It does lose some points in that you do need dice and some sort of pawn. But I suppose that a metal clipboard and a magnet for the pawn plus some sort of tiny dice tray could make it work for the mythological Greyhound that I’ll never get on.

Still, for a stupidly portable form of Catan, it’s worth my looking into. Print the board with the table one side, the rules on the other, and laminate it. I can stick that in my bag where it will take up no space and play it anywhere. This is Catan for a backpacking trip.

If it’s any good, of course. I mean, it doesn’t have development cards which is a major loss but understandable to simplify the game.

As I’ve already mentioned, the idea of a travel dry erase heavier game is unnecessary. Honestly, tablets make more sense. But it’s fun to think about.

No comments:

Post a Comment