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.
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.”