August 27, 2014

12 board games begging for Chromecast treatment (and how to do them)


Now that the official Chromecast SDK has been released to developers we are starting to see a slow influx of new apps with support for the device. Indeed, we’re also getting our first few games as well.

Thanks to stuff like Gaming Cast and Casts Against Civility we can turn our Chromecast into a gaming hub of sorts. This got me to thinking, recently, about other games we might see with Chromecast capabilities.

I jotted down a number of “board” games that I think would work quite well in an environment with multiple players surrounding a TV set. Some could be more fun and immerse than others, but I think each could go a long way to getting our faces out of our phones. Conversely, they could lead to us staring at them for good reason!

  1. Pictionary – Seriously, imagine drawing on your phone or tablet in the same manner as Draw Something with your images displaying on the TV. The screen could display a running tally of points, a timer, and anything else relevant to players.
  2. Win, Lose, or Draw – See above for all of the same reasons.
  3. Scrabble – Who wouldn’t enjoy seeing a large board on the TV with scores running down the side and last played words? You can keep your tiles nice and secure and play around with combos on your smartphone; play them on the big board when it’s your turn. The TV could have fun animations for big words, bonus tiles, or other details. Imagine being able to challenge a word and then letting all players cast a vote privately with the tally displayed on screen.
  4. Monopoly – My favorite game of all time, this one could easily go the route of a console experience. I like, however, keeping a list of my cash and properties private. Maybe I want to work out a special deal with another player away from the prying eyes of a competitor. The smartphone or tablet could keep things nice and tight but the TV could give us the board at a glance. Maybe a list of available properties or houses available. How fun would it be to do a silent auction of a property from your phone only to surprise the whole room when you scoop up New York Avenue for $65?
  5. game_lifeThe Game of Life – For many of the same reasons I would like to see Monopoly, this one lends itself to a group setting. Even those who are not playing might enjoy seeing you traversing the board with animations. Questions and scenarios could be posed on the TV while you figure out which direction you want to take using your phone.
  6. Battleship – Sure, we wouldn’t want to see the entire board but it would be fun to see animations of hits and misses. Perhaps a sidebar of last called spots or hits. Maybe a running board of trivia from the movie of its name? Okay, scratch that one.
  7. Chutes & Ladders – This one might be more about the TV screen than some of the others listed, but it could be fun. If, for no other reason, we’d like to spin the little arrow to figure out how many we have on our phone and watch it play out on the big screen. Heck, why not a sidebar that scrolls our win-loss ratio, opponents details, some fun profile stuff, etc?
  8. Clue – Seriously? Who wouldn’t love stringing together their theoretical whodunnit hypothesis and watching it unfold on the TV? Rolling dice, jotting notes, getting room updates, and other details would work great on our phones; the TV could alternate rooms with a cartoon-y and creepy security-cam feed or show the entire board from a top-down view.
  9. Sorry – Draw cards on your handheld device, play it out on the TV. It’s not rocket science but it could make for a fun time with the family.
  10. Trouble – Pressing that bubble can give us the same sound and haptic feedback on our devices while the TV shows the board at a glance. Again, moving throughout the board or overtaking someone else can be as fun as Hasbro wants to make it.
  11. Candy Land – This one lets us spin for our turns using the smartphone while the screen sweeps across the various places in the kingdom. Land on some place special? Run an animated clip or splash some clever graphics on the board.
  12. Trivial Pursuit – All we need is a TV with a broad view of the board, a side bar of each player’s wedges, and questions displayed on the phone. If you want to throw in an on-screen timer, some video clips, and animations for dice rolling and wedges, so be it!

This is just a short list of games and ideas that quickly come to mind. Understanding that many of these are Hasbro, it would be in the developer’s interest to showcase other games, scores from friends, or worldwide leaderboards. Heck, just about all of these could provide a first person view of the board while the TV gives us top-down perspective. Maybe they can throw in on-screen notifications when other players are available and we can take on players outside of the house.

I’d love to hear from you as to what games you’d like to see developed with Chromecast support. Is it one of these or do you have another in mind? How would you perfect the game experience? Please, do consider leaving a comment below!

Image courtesy of Flickr