Tabletop and virtual games have a variety of strengths and weaknesses. Where tabletop games offer more opportunity for a face-to-face physically communicative gaming experience where players can connect with each other, virtual games are more likely to offer a deeper sensory experience with their more involving visuals where players can more effectively connect with the game itself. However, just because these two kinds of gaming offer different experiences doesn’t mean they can’t be brought together to create something new and interesting.
In the vein of games like Disney Infinity, Skylanders, and Lego Dimensions, Fabulous Beasts exists both physically and virtually to create a deeper more dynamic gaming experience. Fabulous Beasts is a game for one to five players who become gods presiding over an app-connected game world, visible on a tablet or smartphone.
Players then take physical pieces of the game which resemble various animals and scan them into the wider app-world of the game by placing them on a base which is able to detect them. The aim of the game is for players to work together and build the highest tower of animals possible in the physical world, and watch their efforts effect the ecological balance of the game’s virtual world. If the physical tower you’ve built falls, this marks the destruction of the game’s delicate virtual world and your loss. The game’s animals are interesting shapes and it will take some degree of thought to figure out how best to balance them to benefit the team member taking their turn after you.
You can see more of the game in action in the Let’s Play video below:
There’s no doubt Fabulous Beasts is an interesting idea; it modernises traditional tabletop games without removing the tactility and cooperative play that makes them great, it makes app-based games a more social and imaginative experience, and shows that both have the capacity for deeper gameplay when combined.
Fabulous Beasts has just launched on Kickstarter seeking £150,000 with an aim to ship in November this year. At time of writing they’ve raised £28,201 with 30 days of their campaign still to go.
If you’d like to get your hands on the game yourself, pledging £49 plus another £10 for shipping to the UK will get you the core game kit, including 24 beasts for balancing, the electronic sensing platform, the app which is compatible with iOS and Android smartphones and tablets and all of the unlocked stretch goals which are yet to be revealed. Pledging more can get you more interesting editions of the game, all the way up to £499 which will see you receive a handmade version where each piece of the game is unique and you’ll receive a special mention in the game’s credits.