Teburu could be the future of board games that gamers actually want

Board games are enjoying their time in the spotlight right now, but I’m not just talking about stuff like Monopoly or Cluedo. There’s been a boom in titles that vary in playstyle, complexity, and design, appealing to a wide range of demographics.

Given that board games are still mostly entirely physical (with some popular titles getting digital board game adaptations and ports on Tabletop Simulator), it’s pretty hard to imagine what the future of gaming will look like. of society without imagining the Star Wars Hologame table. But a bridge connecting us to this fantastical holographic configuration may finally have appeared.

Teburu is a platform created by Xplored which can be described as a console for your games. It allows tabletop games to take advantage of digital assets and features, while retaining the physical and social aspects that make them great. The platform itself simply unfolds and needs to be placed under the physical game pieces (provided you’re playing a Teburu supported title).

Part of its appeal is its simplicity. The system uses a combination of sensors built into the board, a series of electronic ID tags that must be placed on figures and tokens, and the official Teburu companion app.

The board can also track individual tiles and even comes with physical dice featuring sophisticated technology that allows the app to read and record your scores. Most of the marketing materials I’ve seen focus on Teburu’s own game – The Bad Karmas and the Curse of the Zodiac – but other Teburu-compatible games are also developed in conjunction with Vampire: The Masquerade and Sword & Witchery.

A fantastic hybrid solution

It goes into the other Teburu’s major appeal for nerds like me is that it’s still a physical system. I’m a big fan of board games and tabletop RPGs, and while I love playing titles like Terraforming Mars or Scythe on Steam, video game versions can’t replace the feeling of sitting down with friends, in person, around a table, with snacks.

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It was something we sorely missed during the Covid-19 pandemic shutdowns. Playing online certainly scratched the itch, but it can’t replace the real deal for me.

The board game community contains many collectors who enjoy physical hardware, including myself, and I’m not ready for tablets and computers to make my growing pile of rulebooks and RPG games irrelevant. for the moment.

The Bad Karmas does a great job of showcasing Teburu’s abilities. This is a boss fight style game where players will move character miniatures around a board while battling huge monsters inspired by the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Although you still have to physically move your models on the board, you can view important information on your smartphone, which acts almost like a controller. A separate tablet, such as an iPad, will display all essential game information, including player turn order, enemy health, and a general overview of what’s going on in the game.

While you will have to move enemy figures around the board, Teburu will control their actions and movements. It’s like fighting an AI video game enemy rather than one that’s usually dictated by random dice rolls. Teburu’s base has other features as well, with different lighted sections that indicate the direction of incoming enemy attacks. Thanks to these sensors in the database of your player models, the enemy AI knows exactly where you are on the set.

At the end of each match, you’re even given a video game-like scoreboard to wade through. The companion app awards titles for player achievements, such as match MVP or most damage. It really does feel like a hybrid system rather than a true analog or digital board game, so although it’s not a hologram, the goblin part of my brain that loves flashing lights and graphics gets definitely feels soothed.

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The next step in physical board games?

I’m not just excited for The Bad Karmas though, as fun as that title sounds, but for what Teburu might offer more mainstream titles in the future if it proves to be a hit. Yes, there are official collaborations going on, but if Teburu can be expanded for use in other established games, then I’m completely sold on the idea.

This will require a ground development within the companion app, but having the ability to enjoy your favorite games without any annoying or frustrating admins seems like a blessing. One of the biggest problems we have when buying a new game is learning the ropes and trying to remember a complex new set of rules. Slow learners like me have to treat initial setup and play like a pancake – the first one never comes out right.

Teburu is able to correct players if they try to perform an action or move that is against the rules. While physics rulebooks collect all the information you need to play a game, stopping to swot up can be a nuisance, and often “illegal” moves won’t be detected until many moves after that. they have already happened.

Naturally, it’s not going to be something that all board game fans will enjoy, so it’s aimed at a slightly specialized demographic, but it certainly seems like it’s somewhere between traditional board game systems and something being entirely online or even VR-based.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen board games dip their toes into the digital world either, with One Night Ultimate Werewolf and Gloomhaven both having an official app that can be used alongside the game. the Dark also made waves last year upon release thanks to the integration of a mobile app to manage enemy movement, story content, and general digital game administration.

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Supporting a crowdfunding project comes with risk, so we can’t advise you to commit, but if it’s something you want to support, there’s still time on Teburu’s Kickstarter. The €170 (about $185 / £140 / AU$250) price tag is steep, but far from extravagant in the world of tabletop games, where Warhammer miniatures can cost a small fortune and many of the best games in company cost as much as a full-priced triple-A video game.

I really hope Teburu keeps its promise, and thankfully Xplored founder Davide Garofalo has confirmed that Teburu will be an “open platform”, hoping to provide development kits to companies of all sizes who want to bring their games to the platform. This will allow players to use existing board games in their collection (including figurines and tokens from those games) with Teburu in the future.

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