Balking at Electronic Board Games

Tichu is now available for the iPhone.

TichuTichu is a partnership card game for 4 people.

Why would you play Tichu on your iPhone?

I own Tichu. I don’t own an iPhone. (I do own a cell phone, and there are no land lines at our house.)

With that introduction, let me take a step or two back.

I’ve been a little uneasy about the concept of board games being given an electronic version. I like playing board games for the feel of the cardboard, the wood, the plastic, the card stock, the glass. I like playing board games for the conversation, the trash talk, the in-game fights, revenge, trouncing, squeaking or eking out of a win. I like playing board games for the post-game analysis, figuring where I went wrong and where I went right, chatting up the same with my opponents and partners. I like playing board games for the looks on the players faces, the high fives, the subtle signals, the groans, the laughter.

Almost all of that is lost trying to play an electronic board game.

And yet, I was willing to concede that there could be times when electronic is the way to go – though I’ve not really attempted that method personally.

Then I read about Tichu coming to the iPhone. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I’m not sure why this announcement struck me with such force, but it did. How can you possibly play a decent game of Tichu on an iPhone?

Update: Apparently it is quite possible to play Tichu online.

I assume (correct me, if I’m wrong) that 4 people would each play from their own iPhones and that each would therefore likely be in a different location. In my mind, that totally defeats all the purposes I have in playing a board (or in this case, card) game.

I could rant and rave some more, but you get the idea.

So I’ll continue to promote playing real board (and card) games here at Fun Board Games. You can read about them here online. Get ideas for purchasing new board games online. Even discuss them here. But go play them face to face with your friends and family – maybe even PiP.

Electronic Board Games: Why I Don’t Like the Concept

4 thoughts on “Electronic Board Games: Why I Don’t Like the Concept

  • September 6, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I somewhat agree with you… the tactile/physical experience is what is important (along with f2f play). But… if people can buy a game for 1.99 and get a feeling for it… or if we gamers can carry it around as a demo… then maybe it will become easier for us to show others what this hobby is about. And some of those people will “upsell” into the cardboard version.

    BTW, as I understand it, the Tichu app is a single player vs. computer only game. Thus, it is simply a practice mode game. Not that this is better, but it doesn’t undermine existing play of the game.

    • September 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks for the thoughts, Kevin. I had to smile when you said electronic versions could give gamers a “feeling” for it. 🙂

      Maybe if I had an iPhone (or equivalent) I would think more along the upsell lines. I guess I’d rather skip that step for fear that’s as far as they’d go and use something like PiP instead.

      If the cost is what prohibits people from buying new games, that’s what I’m here for – to take that risk away with my buy back guarantee.

  • September 11, 2010 at 1:13 am

    iPhone – $200
    Data Plan – $25/mn

    Total/yr – $500

    I would say that’s roughly 10 heavy board games (or like 50 decks of Tichu).

    Cost should not be an issue if we’re talking to iPhone users.

    Just sayin’….

    • September 11, 2010 at 11:02 am

      Right, Matt. I’d rather take a chance on some new games that sound good, even if I didn’t have the opportunity to play them beforehand.

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