CMON Looks to Add a Digital Aspect to Their Games With Teburu

On July 18, miniatures and board game publisher CMON announced that they were partnering with Italian video game company Xplored to create the Teburu, "a gaming console that seamlessly integrates the physical and digital worlds, keeping players focused on the board and its components while the system takes care of game rules, enemies’ behavior, and storytelling events." Xplored has already released a "phygital" product called tori, an app that integrates toys into gameplay, and is set to release a similar app called RUNIMALZ this fall. These companies are taking a major leap in the direction that some board games have already in trying to incorporate a digital aspect to physical games, through apps or augmented reality. Let's take a look at what this "new evolution in board games" looks like.

Physical and Digital Seamlessly Integrated

The main component of Teburu is a gaming mat on which boards are placed on that is equipped with sensing electronics that is able to detect where figures with ID tags inside them are placed. This gaming map connect to players' smartphone devices or computers through an app which adds various aspects to gameplay, including maps, real time audio, dashboards, and story cut scenes. A "gamemaster app" is installed on a larger screen and displays features used by all players while individual players use a separate app on their smartphones.

Along with the mat and game pieces, Teburu also includes "smart" dice that also connect digitally to the game. This digital aspect takes care off all that calculations necessary, with all the stats, equipment, effects, and modifiers included. So in all, Teburu consists of a game map, figures equip with ID tags and magnets that connect to the electronic aspects of the map, dice that also connect wirelessly to the game, and an app which players use to utilize all the electronic components in one place.

The first game that will feature Teburu technology will be Zombicide Evolution – Las Vegas which will be be included in the Kickstarter campaign for Teburu itself start to open in 2020. However, the trailer for the product also included games that look to be Cthulhu: Death May Die and Project: ELITE. The trailer also boasts "one system infinite games," however it is unclear whether the hardware will only be compatible with CMON games or games by other publishers also. 

Countless Possibilities, Countless Complications

Though this technology is very innovative and interesting, it is yet to be seen if it will catch on. CMON's table top games can already get pretty pricey, the original Zombicide selling for over $50 and Rising Sun going for over $80, and it's unclear how expensive games with Teburu technology will be. If Teburu ends up not being compatible with other game publishers, other companies may make their own variation of this technology and consumers will have to buy both if they want to enjoy the digital features of games by different companies. Another concern that can be seen on a forum on Board Game Geek about the announcement is that people do not find any need for these digital features. User Chigatterun muses that it "Looks like an unnecessarily expensive videogame. Whats the point of even having a board and minis" and user mutton_chops comments "I absolutely, positively do not need digital content cluttering up my nice, clean, streamlined physical experience, because literally none of the games I enjoy, or have enjoyed over the last 40 years of hobby gaming, would benefit from such complications." However there are those who are optimistic, like user Thunkd as they commented: "Eventually this kind of thing will be an awesome technology... when they've worked out all the kinks and the price drops to the point where it's super cheap. We're still in the "cutting edge" phase where it's wicked expensive, somewhat impractical and probably doesn't work as seamlessly as you'd like. But eventually it will get there." 

Is This The Next Step of Table Top Gaming?

What do you think? Are you excited for this new integration of digital aspects into board games? Do you not find any need to them? Do you think it'll catch on? All speculation aside, CMON and Xplored are pushing innovation in the board game community and no one can say the impact that this new product will have on the future of this gaming medium. All we can now is wait and see how its Kickstarter campaign goes next year.

Pushing innovation is hard work, but someone's gotta go it

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Supporter15 months ago

I wouldn't want to see a digital requirement everywhere in board games but some games work well with it. 

Mansions of Madness is great with the app.  X-COM requires the app and is also quite fun.   They give a slightly different experience than playing a purely physical game.  I don't see anything wrong with that being an option.  

Of course the issue of the software eventually being unplayable is a problem and buying a game like that you should expect that eventually you might not be able to play it.  If it's a great experience with the app and you get a lot of plays out of it then it's fine in my books.