Apr

2

The Rise of Mobile and Social Board Games

Mark Stephens

With the recent release of MindFeud – Monkeybin’s social board game for mobile iOS and Android devices – we thought we’d take a look at the whole genre of social gaming to see what’s happening.

Social Gaming – Not So New!

Anyone claiming that social gaming is new is perhaps missing the point that games were played socially in Ancient Egypt!

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Unless you’re continuously playing “Solitaire” most games you play have a social side – any game with 2 players or more, in fact.

The term “social gaming” has become synonymous in recent years with games played on social media sites like Facebook – such as Farmtown or Mafia Wars for example – but in fact the humble old board games were among the first that lent themselves to the “social revolution” that took place with the rise of these social media sites.

The Mobile Factor

Of course, along with the rise of social media has come the rise of the mobile device – and the inevitable mobile gaming surge we have seen over the past couple of years.

With more and more handsets and tablets hitting the markets the demand grew for games that could be played casually, but were simple enough for virtually anyone to understand, didn’t require sophisticated graphics cards or processors or suck up too much battery power.

The old classic board games like chess, Scrabble, backgammon and card games all fitted the bill very nicely and ticked all the above boxes.

Variations on a theme emerged too. Take the Scrabble concept, for example. Board style social games like WordFeud and Words With Friends (made by the social media gaming giant Zynga) remain very popular with iPhone and Android users, with multiple languages supported.

Now of course we are seeing more powerful mobile devices with hugely sophisticated graphics capabilities – see the iPhone 4s and the rumoured specs of the iPad 3, for instance. But that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the end of simple, non graphic-intensive board games.

Mobile and Social – The Perfect Combination

While device advances mean that developers can create more sophisticated mobile games for iOS and Android these days, the simple beauty of the board game in electronic format on a device you can use on the train, in the street or while you’re in the toilet – lives on!

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With the added advantage of being able to challenge people on a network this becomes like a highly addictive new frontier; friends, contacts or complete strangers can be searched for and invited for a game, so the social element has added hugely to gamers’ options.

MindFeud is in good company with a whole array of puzzle and board type games still popular for people wanting to wile away some time, give their brain a workout and connect with friends all at the same time.

The board gaming scene is alive and well thanks to the fact that the games have gone mobile and social all at once and are usually simple enough for users of all ages to quickly grasp the rules; check out MindFeud and see if you agree.

MindFeud