With the impending release of the Apple iPad we are bound to see new games intended specifically for that platform. One of the first hobby games getting ported over to the new touchscreen media device is Days of Wonder’s hit game Small World. Small World is a fantasy wargame that has won Games Magazine’s traditional game of the year award. We’ve also reviewed it on OgreCave.Com. The iPad release will cost $4.99 and will be available from Apple’s App Store. This version will only handle two players in a face-to-face, hot seat mode of play by sharing the device. Unfortunately it seems that there won’t be a five-player version over the wireless network in this release, but at least this is a start. Future expansions are planned for the product for separate purchase and download.
I predict we’re going to see at least as many hot-seat games on this platform as networked. Besides being easier to code and secure, more iPad users will be more comfortable just passing the thing around between friends than looking for phantom strangers to play with online. Smart developers will account for this preference in their game design.
The 2-player limitation is too bad, though. I want to lay an iPad out on the table with my game group like it’s a board, with a little interface in the corner for each of us.
They may have the screen size for a three-player game since the three-player game board is on the back of the two-player board. However, the four-player and five-player boards are larger, probably too large to play on an iPad without a lot of scrolling. I’m surprised they had enough screen real estate for any version of Small World, but good for them. Here’s hoping that they port it over to the PC for play along with the other Days of Wonder games on their website.
Mike, what it sounds like you want is a Microsoft Surface gaming table if you want a computerized gaming board. The iPad has a screen smaller than 10″, so that’s not gonna work for most games, other than abstract games maybe, as an actual physical playing surface. I think Sony and some other companies are also working on game tables with loadable game boards and components.
It’s not a big enough screen for doing page layout, either, but people are managing that. I don’t think scrolling is the end of the world. It’s a constraint and a UI challenge, sure, but those aren’t reasons for pessimism; those are reasons to expect to see new things arise from the task of adapting the old.