Back when I used to work at Sony Online Entertainment many, many years ago, I became a board game geek. The game designers and producers gathered once a week to share their sizable collections and obscure finds up in Mira Mesa, Calif., and I got hooked. The fact that the Game Keeper chain of stores was simultaneously going out of business and liquidating their supplies encouraged me to start building my own game cabinet, and I profess without shame that I rapidly became a full-blown board game geek.
I still like hunting for new games, and a few years ago at the New York Toy Fair I came across the brilliant and simple tile-based game called Hive.
Like a cross between chess and dominos, Hive's hexagonal pieces are shaped like insects, each of which can move differently on their mission to surround the opponent's queen bee. I tried to order Hive online but it wasn't available, and no local game retailer would stock it. I finally found the game in a small town in Devon, England, while visiting my in-laws, and paid close to $35 for it.
This long story comes to a quick point: I found Hive on the iPhone App Store last week for $4.99, and instantly bought it. I hope this trend continues, and it should.
Hive joins my collection of Settlers of Catan, Go, Mancala, and what I'm sure will be many, many more board games shrunken to pocket-size on my iPhone. It's wonderful, and I feel like it's groundbreaking, too.
While game systems like the Nintendo DS and PSP have had a variety of fantastic titles, they'd certainly never proceed into European board games. The low overhead and microprices on Apple's ever-enormous App Store becomes, for both developers and consumers, a great live petri dish to grow a new legion of board game fans. … Read more