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November 2014 Retro Gaming Article

November 5, 2014 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

World of Yo-Ho brings your smart phone into a pirate-themed board game

World of Yo-Ho I grew up playing board games. From Monopoly and Water Works to Battleship and Uncle Wiggly, I loved a good romp around a board. Even as my Atari 2600 later enveloped me, I still loved playing board games. Any time I'm in a toy store, I'll look through the board games for a new gem.

That "gem" is getting harder to find. Even though I couldn't resist "Kiss" and "Adventure Time" themed Monopoly, I still strive to find captivating board games that my son and I can play.

As he and I delve further into video games - we currently love local co-op games between our 2DS handhelds - I try to keep some momentum behind board games.

He still loves playing them and I hope that wonder will continue. We always play Treasure Pools in the Summer and Zombie Dice whenever the mood strikes. My son enjoys playing Card Wars on my Android phone as much as likes explaining the physical card game to me. It's based on a crazy card game depicted in an episode of Adventure Time.

Iello games logo I love the mechanics of the Card Wars app and seeing how the action plays out when we get out our 4 decks and Floop the pig... among other things. But wouldn't an integration of digital and board be a possibility? Seeing the Wii U tablet used as a separate info source during game play on the TV, has made me wonder if personal screens could be an interesting element in a board game.

Board Games Meet Digital

Iellow Games have been working on this idea and have come up with World of Yo-Ho that lets each player use their smart phone as a playing piece and a private screen to track items. They have a Kickstarter campaign with more info and a few videos to give you an idea of how the game play works between smart phones and the board.

From their Kickstarter account:
A board game where your smartphone is your pawn! A video game that brings people together around a board.
'World of Yo-Ho' is a fantasy game of adventure and piracy on the high seas! It's a new type of gaming experience that combines the tangible and social pleasure of a board game with the interactive and adaptable mechanics of a video game. The game is for 2 to 4 players and features a Large, two part, high quality board that represents the minutely detailed world of Yo-Ho. At the same time, a free downloadable app turns your smartphone into a ship. Simply place your phone on the board and set sail for adventure!

What I like about this game is that the integration of smart phones isn't simply to capitalize on mobile gaming's popularity. The phone is your ship and also can be removed from the board to monitor and update your holdings. The phone has a specific purpose in conjunction with the board. They seem to compliment each other rather than being a novelty.

There are several play modes including one in which game play is possible with only one smart phone or a tablet. This is nice feature if all players aren't smart phone owners. It lets you play as a family without everyone needing a phone to play along. I like the concept and hope this will spur more interest in board games and using modern technology to enhance certain elements of play.

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