DropMix: My Favorite Game Mechanism by Jamey Stemaier:
One of my favorite game designers and people in the industry overall is Jamey Stegmaier from Stonemaier games. To me he's a great designer, he's inclusive in his thinking and he always seems to be forward thinking with regards to board game design.
In his video series "My Favorite Game Mechanism" Jamey examines specific game mechanics, thinking about how they work, why they work and in some cases, how they could be utilised in other games.
One of his most recent videos talked about electronic based card game DropMix from Harmonix. I own DropMix and it's smart, but before seeing Jamey's video I hadn't given it a lot of thought with regards to tabletop board games. Now, that's all I can think about.
DropMix uses RFID technology in which the base console reads cards placed upon it. Each card contains a chip, the best reads it on touch, it's swift and works well.
The use of NFC - near-field communication - tech in board games hasn't really been touched upon, but it could be magical. Now I will say I'm one of those gamers who prefers pure cardboard over cardboard mixed with phone apps, but the thought of a truly interactive BOARD is tantalising to say the least. Imagine a game where the board and components can relay sound effects and music, where placed cards or chits have an aural effect on the gameplay. A small battery pack for the board could be thematically engaging with regards to the look and a small speaker might even work in the pack itself. You wouldn't need a screen on for aural only effects, thus keeping your attention on the all important board and components.
You're thinking of the possibilities now aren't you? Sadly no one has moved on it. A quick search of Boardgamegeek shows user "netwomble" brought up the idea of NFC tech in board gaming after experiencing the Skylanders games. That was 5 years ago (January 2013). I'm stunned no one has utilised this to the full, but I am hoping Jamey is already planning to. With the tech getting cheaper it's only a matter of time before someone uses it properly and who wouldn't want to be first?
A few have tinkered with it, but who will be first to truly bring it to the fore? Let's see where this goes, or if it's ignored for another 5 years.
Jamey Stegmaier's Video discussing DropMix: