Board game reviews, news and commentary.
Hives & Easter Eggs (Head In The Clouds #52)
Head in the Clouds
Updated: Saturday, Apr 11, 2015
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but can you judge a board game by its app? Hi, I’m Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise, and this is the question I’ve been pondering recently after I once again passed on the opportunity to purchase the tile-laying game Hive.

Hive caught my eye a while ago because it looked like a nice abstract game I could play with my daughter. I’d heard good things, but never played it. So, when I discovered there was an iOS app version of Hive, I was all up in its mix like I was Betty Crocker, and I decided to check the app out first, in order to get a feel for it before investing in a physical copy of the game.

But then -- like a nightmare -- something happened that’s never happened before. My experience with the app version of the board game ruined it for me. What went wrong?

Well, If I had an iPad here, I could show you what I mean. Let me see if I can find… oh, here’s someone’s. And, ooh, someone’s appropriately-themed candy bar too.

Now, I’m not going to give a full review of the app, because I’m sure there’s someone else out there that could do a better job at reviewing board game apps than me. But, I will say that the problem I had with the Hive app is that I personally found its presentation to be gloomy, the camera difficult to orient the way I wanted, and the 3D models of the tiles have black aliased pixels around them, making it seem cheap and outdated, like it’s ‘95.

And then there were the controls. First, I found it really unresponsive, and more often than not, I’d have to touch the screen several times before it registered my selection. Additionally, to place a tile, you must first click on it, then click on the board to place it. This seemed counterintuitive me, and I found myself instinctively trying to drag the tile up onto the board to place it. I had to stop and think every time. As a result, it artificially increased the feeling of slowness, dullness and sterility that I experienced while playing the game.

I’m sure playing the game with another human would be a ka-jillion times funner. And I’ve heard that there’s an Android version that actually may be better. But the experience with the iOS app caused the game to fall to the back of the pack, to the bottom of the stack, and I’ve just moved on to other physical board games that are on my to-play list, and I have yet to go for the Hive.

My opinion is, of course, completely subjective, and I’m not trying to be a naysayer. Instead, I’m wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience. Has an app ever diminished your interest in the physical version of a board game, or increased it? I’d love to know what kind of sway apps are starting to have on board gamers. I’m out!
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