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Last year, Disney released the Marvel Playmation system, described below.

Playmation is the next step in the evolution of play, where digital gets physical and imagination becomes real. The groundbreaking system of toys and wearables uses smart technology..

As far as I can tell, this objectively meets the first four criteria of on-topic for the site, with the last one being questionable.

  1. Be playable on or around a table
  2. Have objective rules of play and win conditions
  3. Offer dynamic challenges, either through other players, randomization, or both
  4. Be playable by hand, by human players implementing all of the rules

However, this seems to be clearly off-topic on Arqad because is it not a videogame. It doesn't even work well with the first line of on-topic for Arqade: "Arqade is for passionate videogamers from all platforms, including consoles, computers, handhelds, and mobile devices."

I've gone through everything on Meta that seems relevant, including the main on-topic post. There seem to be conflicting opinions on whether games with AI opponents fit on B&CG.SE. This game is played against a (randomized) AI and players choose what scenario they want to play, and it's cooperatively if they want. Are questions about Playmation on-topic here or do they belong elsewhere (or nowhere) on the Stack Exchange network?


After writing the question, it occurs to me that this might be analogous to the question "Are store-purchased Laser Tag sets on-topic here?" The noticeable difference on Laser Tag is that you're playing with or against other human opponents, while Playmation only allows cooperative play against AI.

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  • By "games with AI opponents", do you mean "games whose only opponent is AI"? Chess, Checkers, and Go have AI opponents, and all three are definitely on topic here. – Rainbolt Apr 8 '16 at 16:52
  • From the video on that site, this appears to be a toy with some interactivity and software. It's unclear that it's a "game" as we would define it, with rules that are possible to implement by humans sitting around a table playing with inanimate objects. – murgatroid99 Apr 8 '16 at 16:59
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This is not a board or card game as we would define it, and is not on topic here. The video on the site shows that this Playmation system is a set of toys with some software and communications capabilities for interacting with each other, and possibly some storage systems for recording state. So, if we consider the four on-topic criteria:

  1. It is playable on or around a table, but only for a very broad interpretation of the phrase. The game encourages players to move around within the space where they are playing, so it may be more accurate to say that it can be played near a table.

  2. On the linked site, I can find no description of the rules of the game. The "rules" that it demonstrates appear to be limited to "do what the toy/app tells you to do" and "point one toy at another and press the button".

  3. The game does appear to present some form of dynamic challenge.

  4. By my reading, the intention of the "playable by hand criteria" is that the game must be at least theoretically possible to play without the interactive functionality of any game-specific piece. For example, some versions of Monopoly have credit cards and a simple computer for tracking players' money, but the game could also be played with numbers written on pieces of paper. This game appears to require the toys and their software functionality to be playable.

By my interpretation, this fails 3 of our 4 criteria for being a board game, so it is absolutely not on topic.

For the sake of completeness, I would come to exactly the same conclusion about a Laser Tag game, for the same reasons.

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  • For point 1, I've always interpreted this more loosely in order to be more inclusive of edge cases. For point 2, there must be objective rules since the game is programmed. There are board games where the rules aren't known at the start. I think your point 4 is probably the most salient; implementation without the technology makes perfect sense as to why it's off-topic. I was fairly certain this was off-topic, but I wanted to see what others thought. – SocioMatt Apr 8 '16 at 18:15
  • The interesting part for me is where (or if) this actually fits anywhere on the SE network. It has a set of rules where there is the possibility for objective questions (e.g.: "Is it easier to defeat villain X with move Y or Z?"). However, this doesn't seem to fit into the scope of any current sites. – SocioMatt Apr 8 '16 at 18:16
  • In that game you linked, the rules are clearly listed on the page; they are simply not a complete description of how everything in the game works. And even if you don't count that, there is a major difference between "the rules are not known in their entirety to any player at the beginning of the game" and "the rules cannot be known in their entirety without reverse engineering closed-source software in an embedded device and server software that an app connects to." – murgatroid99 Apr 8 '16 at 18:23
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    Regarding point 1, this is far past an edge case. Nobody would look at a group of kids running around a house pointing light-up toys at things and say "that's a nice board game those kids are playing". – murgatroid99 Apr 8 '16 at 18:28
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Here's a quote from a Forbes.com article on Playmation:

[...] what results is a game-like experience that requires players to run jump, shoot, hide, stand still and even leave the room at some points.

You don't typically run, jump, shoot, and hide around a table, so Playmation doesn't meet the site's definition of a board game.

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