There have been big changes in the Game Industry, Social Games, and Analog Games in the past year!
Most exciting I think it the rise of Hybrid Games, or Computer Assisted Games... I don't think there's an acronym for this yet, but the TL;DR is that by using a computer device to manage the game, it not only reduces overhead of needing the players to do rules enforcement and game state management, but most excitedly, it allows wholly new forms of social, face-to-face interaction and game play.
For example, in the distant past, to share a secret message with another player one would need to walk into a near by room, pass them a note or card, or similar. Either the communications you can share are limited, or details about the communication become public (who is sending/receiving messages for example).
With Computer Assisted Games, players can enter data into their own mobile devices, and send it off to a target player in complete secrecy. Or, (game design permitting) they can spy on communications thought secure.
It's a subtle difference, and it makes all the difference. This is going to change Board Games.
An upcoming entry in this Genre is XCOM : The Boardgame. It doesn't use the computer system for clandestine communication, but it uses a mobile app/ web app to host the game input. Players update the app with changes in Game State, and it responds by providing new input (alien invasions, base disasters, etc) intended to keep the game interesting. This can be used to provide a far more "tuned" experience than a deck of encounter cards. It also operates as a timer, to keep game pressure hot.
It's my most anticipated game of 2014.
Another new Development that I'll be talking about is Virtual Reality.
It's not (at all) within the purview of Analog Games, but this is my site, and I can talk about what excites me.
Analog Games are exciting because face to face interaction is nuanced and interesting. Tone and body language convey so much additional information about Game State that it has the opportunity to engage players more than computer input alone.
VR is changing that. Kind of. By stepping into "Virtual Reality" you are literally putting a barrier between you and other players. In one very obvious way, it introduces new barriers to communication, but in another way it's working to make digital communication more like natural communication (allowing body language like hand and head movements) to enter into your communication.
This is going to be big, and so I'm launching a new section off of my site to discuss my projects with the Oculus Rift.
Good Idea Games >