"Identity Games," a Netherlands based game company, has introduced a fantastic new interactive board game that is used directly with the Apple iPad. "Game Changer" may be the first board game to totally allow the user to play an interactive game on an iPad while being connected to an actual game board.
"Toys Bulletin" actually got a demonstration of this great new innovation at the recent New York Toy Fair. It is an amazingly simple yet effective approach to basically playing a board game on your Apple iPad. To begin, you load the free "Game Changer" app from the App Store. Next, open the "Game Changer" template, that measures approximately 11" x 25". The middle portion of the template contains a plug in cradle for the Apple iPad. You simply plug it in, and The "Game Changer" app opens automatically. You are ready to play. There are currently two games that are available and included with the "Game Changer." One is called "Animal Mania," for ages 8 years old and up, and the second is called "The Magic School Bus," for younger kids ages 6 years old and up.
To play either game, you first place the desired game skins directly on the template to the right and the left of the iPad. The "Game Changer" application will provide complete instructions on the iPad display, before beginning the game. The game app keeps track of everything from alternating turns to making certain each player moves the correct number of spaces. Playing pieces are included for use as you move around the game board. It is important to push down slightly on each playing piece each time you make a move in order to register and complete your turn.
We took the "Game Changer" over to our nearby elementary school, which is always eager to help test any and all new products. We arranged for a group of 4 children, ages 6-9 years old to play "Game Changer," and met right after the end of the class day, with a teacher and parents on hand. We were also fortunate to find that 3 of the kids lived in a home that actually owned an iPad.
We first set up "The Magic School Bus" game. It was interesting that the parents and teacher were almost as involved as the kids in the setup and game play, again likely due to their realization that this was truly a groundbreaking experience. We set aside 30 minutes of time for each game.
"The Magic School Bus" game includes a choice of three different adventures. We chose "Space Trip" for our focus group. The kids began to play by using the interactive spinner and away they went. The object of the game was to get to the finish line before your opponents, but there were many surprises along the way, including puzzles and video clips. The sounds and colorful illustrations on both the game skins and the iPad were fun for the kids, who could not seem to get enough of this game. There were a few groans after one of the younger kids actually reached the finish line first and won the game.
Our second game was "Animal Mania," somewhat similar to "The Magic School Bus," but there were now multiple choice questions to answer and chips to collect from each animal region before winning the game. The questions were difficult for sure, but very informative and educational. This game took a little bit longer to play, but finally the nine year old was declared the winner.
We really cannot say enough about "Game Changer." It was fun, interactive, educational and it put the iPad to good use. The 4 youngsters were still talking about it, as they left the building, and the parents and teacher had never seen anything quite like it before. "Game Changer" retails for $56.99 at your Apple Store, and includes both "The Magic School Bus" and "Animal Mania" games. It can also be purchased at Amazon.com.
There are also additional games available without having to buy any more game skins. Once the "Game Changer" app is loaded, players have access to several additional games, all played on the basic template included with the game. They include "Kaboom," "Kaboom Pirates," "Airplanes," Butterflies," and "Chalkboard." We are certain this is just the beginning of game applications we will be seeing from Identity Games for the Apple iPad.
-- RJ Cullen