29 Apr

Are player aids always a good thing?

Saint Petersburg box coverComputers are great at tracking thing. Hundreds of units, percentages of damage, thousands of die rolls – all those are things the computer will love.

All those are things that board gamers complain about as book keeping. Stuff that we don’t like, that slows down game play, makes games tedious and makes us wish for a clean cut computer to handle it all. But do we really want it to?

Here’s the thing. A computer could calculate everything for you. It could give you the damage and success percentages for ever combat before it occurs, it could help you in your decision making in ways an average board gamer can’t even imagine (take a look at AI decision support system research if you want to get your head blown off).

I’ve always been solidly in the “lets get all the book keeping out of the way so we can play”-camp of board gamers. But thinking about it now, with computers so close to board games, makes me doubt if removing all the book keeping is a good idea. Read More