Wolfire Games, the original creators of the Humble Bundle indi funding initiative, has released a new game that shows just how board games should be played online: with far less rules and real time players.
One of the problems with online board gaming – and card games to a similar extent – is that you’re bound by the rules with links of iron. That is, they are enforced for you, not by your knowledge of the game or by your fellow players, but by the rules of the universe the game is made in. You aren’t rolling two dice because you picked up two dice, you’re doing so because the pressed the “roll dice,” button and two dice were rolled.
However that’s not how it works when playing board games in the real world. Mistakes are made, rules are learned and ultimately it’s less about the game itself and more about the interaction between players. Desperate Gods looks to inject some of this mentality into PC board games.[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WD0gMu0LDU’]
By stripping out any inhibitive rules and simply letting players throw dice, draw cards and move their pieces however they want, they entrust the players with playing the game properly. This might make public games with unruly players a bit difficult, but ones with friends become far more enjoyable. Not only can you fiddle around with pieces during your opponents turn, but you can see their mouse pointer too and watch their actions. Even the music is synced up to make it a shared experience, but with the convenience of online play.
Thinking this is the way board games should work on the PC, Wolfire has made the source available in the hope that people will mod the game to make other games playable online too. You can download the Desperate Gods for PC and Mac for free here.
KitGuru Says: I like this a lot. As a big board game fan, it’d be great to see more of these sorts of games appearing online with more of an honour system that one that’s set in stone.