With iPad, You No Longer Have To Learn Board Game Rules [CES 2012]

With iPad, You No Longer Have To Learn Board Game Rules [CES 2012]

LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 – For Christmas, I bought my kids the immensely popular board game Settlers of Catan. We haven’t played it though, because no one can be bothered to learn the rules.

iPad versions of popular board games solve this problem, as I learned talking to the makers of Ticket To Ride.

Ticket To Ride is a $50 board game that has sold 1.85 million copies — a huge blockbuster by board game standards. It’s a simple game, but the biggest hurdle faced by board game publishers is getting people to learn the rules.

“People love playing board games but hate learning them,” said Mark Kaufman, co-founder of Days of Wonder, which publishes Ticket To Ride. Last year, his company released iPhone and iPad versions of Ticket To Ride.

The iPad version takes care of the mechanics of the game — whose turn it is, score keeping, and following the rules.

But it also has a simple wizard, which allows novice players to dive right in without looking at the rules.

“People can play it without knowing any of the rules because the game makes you follow the game path,” Kaufman explained.

To his surprise, the digital versions of the game drove sales of the physical board game. “People buy the board game because they know the rules,” he said. The company saw an uptick in sales after release of both the iPhone and iPad versions.

The digital versions have online player, so it’s always easy to find someone to play online, even in the middle of the night.

Kaufman said he used to love playing the game with his son, who has just left for college.

He still plays him online. “Somehow he manages to turn every game into a drinking game,” Kaufman said. “No difference with this.”

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  • NAlMulaifi

    Please excuse me for typing this here, but WhatsApp is missing on the app store, it’s not there anymore! I’ve tried to contact you guys for several stories I had, but no one ever replies, so I thought I’d share that here.

  • David Clark

    So instead of teaching our kids to abide by the rules, we’re teaching them that it’s easy to follow the rules when: 1) You don’t know the rules, 2) You’re forced to follow them.

    How very bureaucratic. 

  • Shaunathan Sprocket

    Yeah learning is dumb! Let’s give all of our arbitration over to the computer!

  • jgr627

    Please excuse me for typing this here…..nice try but I don’t think that’s going to wrk

  • herms1951

    You’ve dreamed about it, watched HGTV, and and pick out colors. Now make your bathroom remodel a reality, more info, bathroomremodeling.cöm

  • Marissa McConnell

    Wait…his presumably 18 year old son turns all games into a drinking game and that’s ok with him? Nice. Reading instructions and learning are actually valuable skills. This is depressing.

  • B1ackDiamond

    Flag herms1951 as SPAM.

  • Panjan

    You should learn the rules of Settlers. Best game I have ever played and a ton of fun for all ages….

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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