As gamers we are constantly speculating about the possibilities of technology and gaming. I for one sincerely believe there will come a day when we celebrate the full integration of AR games into our everyday lives and perhaps even a full-dive VR situation like in The Matrix. But we have also had more modest, digestible speculations for decades like the quality, 3D simulation of board games. That means more than a monopoly app for your iPhone or a pixel-poor Trivial Pursuit game on XBOX Live Arcade. It means simulation of the entire board game experience: flipping the cards, moving the pieces, even flipping the whole damn board when you rage quit.
A good question to ask might be why would even want to do that? Isn't the whole point to play the game? Why not just efficiently simulate the actions of the game and represent them with digital dice buttons and avatars? Well, for the very same reasons we as a gaming community have refused to abandon board games for their videogame counterparts in the first place: the fun is in the jank.
And so the jank has remained. Previous board game simulators have been hilariously awkward to navigate and invited a Team Fortress 2-level of pornographic and copy-right infringing community imports. Consider the 2015 Berserk Games title Tabletop Simulator; the modestly titled, sparsely developed 3D sim left so much room for copyright infringement and absurd community contributions that the game was laughed out the business before acquiring any actual necessary support from boardgame publishers.
But all that's changing with Tabletopia. You can really have it all. Both the janky qualities that make tabletop games appealing in the first place and the digitized efficiency of a virtual port.
Tabletopia is, like its predecessors, a 3D virtual simulator. It has the sandbox qualities that allow you to mess around with individual pieces and cards while also possessing subtle efficiency features like board rotation, vs. PC single-player options and the like. The game looks great, too, because it has on-board support from major players in the tabletop industry. For example, right now the Steam copy of Tabletopia, which is free-to-play, comes with a free version of the critically acclaimed Scythe strategy game. And since this game actually has publisher support, the game comes with official art and renders that surpass the can-we-get-away-with-this eye test of rip-off sims.
Now there isn't the largest library but there are a ton of classic games and because of the straight-and-narrow path Tabletopia has walked so far with business support we can hopefully expect and expanded and cheaper library in the near future.
Go check out Tabletopia on Steam right now.