Hasbro, the company behind numerous board games and D&D, recently announced that it’d be teaming up with Italian developer Xplored to create physical / digital hybrids with “limitless digital expansions to physical games [and] seamless onboarding.” That wasn’t necessarily the headline, though; instead, mention of “AI-driven mechanics” took center-stage. Because artificial intelligence is such a touchy subject right now, some eyebrows were understandably raised.
To get to the bottom of the matter, I caught up with Hasbro Gaming SVP and general manager Adam Biehl to find out exactly what this means for some of the best board games, D&D, and beyond. For clarity, you’ll find my questions alongside his answers below.
Xplored and x-plained
Wondering what Xplored’s deal is? It certainly has the right expertise for the job. It’s responsible for digital-tabletop hybrid Teburu, a system that I said might be the future of board games and D&D around this time last year thanks to it enhancing gameplay by automating ‘enemy’ movements or calculations. It also introduces contextual sounds for a more immersive experience, like the creak of a door if your character enters a room.
GamesRadar: Let’s talk about those “AI-driven mechanics” for a moment. Can you clarify exactly what this means?
Beihl: Our approach here is to thoughtfully add multimedia content and digital capabilities to enrich storytelling, game mechanics, and player onboarding, while preserving what people value in board games, face to face interaction and the satisfying tactility of rolling dice and moving physical components. We plan to use AI and other software capabilities to create dynamic experiences that can instantly react to player decisions and rules resolution without the complexity of lengthy instructions.
Because it seems like anything developed as part of the collaboration is a ways off, we’ll have to wait and see for now. In the meantime, sound off with what you think about all this in the comments.
This has been a big week for tabletop – Disney’s new trading card game is making waves after press previews went live, and you can see whether it’s worth getting excited about in my Disney Lorcana first impressions.