iPad as Ultimate Board Game Platform

iPadI spend a lot of time sitting around a table with friends, playing board games. I can easily imagine a future where those same friends and I all sit around a touchscreen table, playing games on that table. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when those same friends and I used to all sit facing the TV with controllers in our hands. (Hell, it’s rare, but we sometimes still do!)

Sure, there is something to be said for moving little pieces around, and handing some physical representation of money or resources back and forth, but that physical interaction can also slow the game down quite a bit. (It’s no surprise to any avid board gamer that you can finish an “electronic” version of board games in often much less time than the “real” thing, and only some of that time is spent waiting for your opponents to take their moves.)

I have now had a bit over 24 hours to “digest” Apple’s big iPad announcement, and while there are any number of other compelling touchscreen platforms out there, I have already worked in Apple’s platform, so I am am going to start working on a multiplayer game for the iPad ASAP. I think there is a real opportunity for board games to begin the migration to the iPad en masse, and I want to be part of that!

One big open question on my mind is… will the iPad lay flat? The pictures they’re providing seem to imply that it will (especially the side-on ones), but in the video, we never see it laying on a table or used on a flat surface. And the rotating 3D view they have on their website shows a (no doubt faked) reflection as you rotate it that doesn’t appear to have any flat parts. If it won’t lay flat, (or maybe even if it will) there’s probably an easy hardware opportunity out there for someone.

Lots of folks have already made a big stink about all the things missing from the iPad, camera being the one I’ve heard most frequently, so I’m not going to say anything about any of that other than to predict the next iteration will have a camera, (assuming this one doesn’t flop). I still think there is lots of stuff missing from the iPhone, frankly, and plenty of that stuff would translate nicely to the iPad as well. (Over-the-air syncing and bluetooth keyboard support are still my favorite ones to rant about.)

So yeah, I will be buying an iPad right away when they’re released, and I really can’t wait to play some board games on it.