Kickstarter Project: Is PlaneQuest the Wii of Tablet Games?

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Miniatures played on iPad surface.

The Draken character model for use in the PlaneQuest game.
The Draken character model for use in the PlaneQuest game.

A new game is being featured on Kickstarter that combines physical 3D miniatures within tablet gameplay. This is accomplished by using capacitive sensors built into the physical character model’s base to identify the character and its orientation on the game surface. This is a huge break from the traditional tablet gaming experience in the same way the Wii introduced a new console gaming experience with the introduction of the Wiimote. The biggest difference is that when I saw the first gameplay videos of the Wii I felt that it really captured a new console experience by engaging your entire body. Looking at the introduction of the Wii felt like a natural progression in the world of console gaming. Outside of using a physical stylus on a tablet it doesn’t seem natural to have anything other than fingers interact with a touch capacitive surface. A game like this is going to be really hard to judge without having any hands-on gameplay.

This new tablet game launched on Kickstarter and is called PlaneQuest. It is being created by TabletTop Interactive and they are doing something fairly unique in this game space. It reminds me of the Microsoft Surface demos that were happening at PAX East in 2010 that used physical miniatures on a virtual gaming table. This is less like the Skylanders game since it has much more motion control involved within game play.

I could be convinced that the twitch reflexes needed to manipulate a physical miniature are much easier than overcoming the cumbersome controls many tablet games use. I have yet to be convinced that this is going to be the next evolution in tablet gaming, but what might a game like this inspire? I’m interested in seeing what this space can bring since it’s clearly been left wide open for entrepreneurs to exploit.

What do you think? Do you feel that something like this is enhancing a game play experience in a way that was lacking or is it just a gimmick? Either way, it’s a great way to stand out in an over-saturated game market. As both a tablet gamer and a physical miniatures wargamer, I will be watching this space with interest.

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