Belated Rant Tuesday: The Case for Solitaire Board Games

Blarg, late again, but I’m late this time because of this:

I’ve beat an AI character, one that operates on cards and written rules instead of some smartphone app or Flash program or Steam app. It’s as old fashioned as it can be, and yet… something about it feels good. Like, better than computer games. It’s absurd, I know. Here’s what I’ve thought up so far that’d justify this far-fetched idea:

  1. Physical feels good. It’s the same advantage that you get with normal board games. Holding and moving a pawn, slamming down cards… all these can be easily (and maybe better) simulated on the computer but you just don’t get the tactile feel of manipulating stuff.
  2. More physical space means more information. With screen real estates plateauing at 1080p and actually shrinking for new laptop consumers (what is this 1336×768 nonsense), having physical space to “display” information actually makes information feel more handy. That discard pile to the right? At this size, it’s probably easier for me to just dive through actual cards rather than some sort of on screen search interface – this is especially true if the cards are MtG style unique cards.
  3. There are just some things the human brain can compute easier. Special abilities are a pain in the neck to program, but all it takes are a couple of well written words for a human to compute all the interactions. Which usually means with designer board games, you get a lot more text heavy special abilities. That’s a good thing. It’s variety that you don’t normally see in computer games.
… and once in a blue moon, I’d pull out a deck of cards to play (Klondike) solitaire. Blasphemy, I know.

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