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New techs brings board games back

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Last Updated: May 7, 2014

Tech-patent developer uses technology to create a low-tech board game for children.

Dan Shapiro has a great reputation as someone who has created several technology-related patents. He has also sold a company to technology giant Google and he has worked in Microsoft.

His latest venture, however, is somewhat peculiar to what he is used to creating – he used technology to create an offline board game for the kids.

It is expected that technology would erase old-fashion children games since tabs, smartphones, android phones, game consoles, pc games, etc. have eye-popping effects, great online communities, and visceral actions that offline games don’t have.

But it is ironic that it is actually technology that is bringing back board games and other old-fashioned kids games back to market trend. Mr. Saphiro and other independent designers found a gold mine in the low-tech games because of the advent of new available technologies.

Mr. Saphiro said the new technologies of today have opened up a generation of creative gameplay innovations that could not yet be done before.

Because of the new technologies of today, tabletop games can be turned from concepts to reality. Most of these board games are fantasy and strategy genres – think Dungeons and Dragons.

Technologies such as 3-D printers can easily create the figurines, prototypes and dice needed for the game. Online retail giant Amazon.com can help distribute and ship these tabletop games taking out middlemen in the equation.

Crowdfunding sites gives developers and designers the funds needed to start these boardgame businesses and study the demand for this market.

Even though the video game industry wiped out its low-tech counterparts, tabletop games still maintained a consistent growth.

Trade publication ICv2 shows that hobby stores in the US increased its sales at 15 to 20 percent every year for the past three years. According to Amazon.com board games sales have increased significantly from 2012 to 2013.

Crowdfunding service Kickstarter reports that the money raised last year on tabletop games was $52.1 million surpassing the amount raised for video games which is only $45.3 million.

There is a big boom for average designers as they put up ideas, get it funded and then get it marketed, according to Peter Adkinson, a designer who sold his tabletop game publisher Wizard of the Coast to Hasbro in 2001.

Saphiro’s major successful tabletop game is Robot Turtles, a board game, which subliminally teaches children computer programming basics.

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