The phrase “soft system” has come into common usage at PlayTable. But what is a soft system? And why is it a valuable concept for us?
Screen fatigue was a tough issue we faced in our early port of Catan. In fact, the issue is still not resolved. It haunts us. It haunts us to the very marrow of our bones.
Over the course of making several games, I’ve determined that it is necessary to distinguish between public and private tutorials.
Michael and I spoke for a while last night about the cultural circumstances that would need to coalesce to make this device a standard item in people’s living rooms.
Here’s a short evolution of company thinking for the pieces that might come with a PlayTable. I’ll walk through a few of the design parameters for these to get us started. It would be great if some generic set of pieces that came in the box could somehow be changed in order to be used in any app that you download from the PlayTable Store. Why is this advantageous? Because it’s hard to ask players to purchase a new set of pieces for each game they download. Most games should have a standard digital-only version, or should be playable with some standard out-of-the-box pieces.
What if the PlayTable were not so much for games, but were like a palette, where you can put down devices (ie. a remote control car, a cell phone, etc) and open up the source code, or somehow peer into the specs of the electronic device? In this conception it would feel more like an electronic dash board, or operating table, where you can open up and dissect the device on top…
I’m setting up a space to brainstorm some ideas for what people do with this device when they are not using it for Game Night.
I’ve just finished reading a book called The Power of Habit. I picked it up on a whim, but I find that it’s relevant to the PlayTable. After all, the device is a new piece of hardware to introduce into people’s lives, and in some ways a new form of media consumption. So we need to help people understand the new routines for integrating it into their lives.
This is a concept that’s come up in many conversations with Michael G., so it’s worth writing it down. Many board games unfold over the course of hours.During the course of play, multiple people make many small and large decisions. Many little tiny pieces are placed on the board. Hundreds (if not thousands) of little adjustments are made to the play area. Items are gained and lost. Properties are built. Money and valuables change hands. Swaths of land and territory shift.
Today my mom was nice enough to schedule me a meeting with 3 other moms from her work. In this meeting, I wanted to see what a typical mom would think about the PlayTable as well as what was important to her. I learned three big things from this meeting: creativity is extremely important, socialization is getting out of touch, and moms are constantly looking for new ways to educate their kids.