For the purposes of illustrating the argument, myself and Aileen take opposing views on the topic of this week’s comic. In reality, though, our views on the matter are in sync: apps in board games are a positive development. The integration of digital elements is taking board games to some exciting places, and I’m certain what we are seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg. Digital integration is another implement in the designer’s toolbox and I can’t wait to see what uses and mechanics are going to be found for it. The amount of innovation we are seeing board games right now is incredible, and the bottom line is that digital is going to help this, not hinder it.
Of course, not every board game needs an app, and contrary to some people’s concerns, I do not think that this is where things are headed. Far from it. We will of course see a proliferation of apps in the coming years as the trend takes hold, but that is what it will be: a trend. There will be a period where it will be shoehorned into games that won’t need it, there will be gimmicks and nonsense, and it will appear to be everywhere for a while. But it will find its level, and best use, in games. The reality is that in a few years time, some games will have apps, just as some games have dice, or miniatures, or expansions.