Merging modern technology with board games has always been a controversial topic. Many players, who love the board game medium, value its independence from the digital media, smartphones and video games.
Recently more and more examples show, that digital games can be merged with some traditional games. Last year Chronicles of Crime proved, that players want (and like) experiences of this sort. Same with Detective, that happened to get nominated for Kennerspiel des Jahres 2019. Both of these games require the use of a dedicated app to work, and add mechanics that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
CMON is often considered a company, who started the plastic-mini board game revolution on Kickstarter. They’re still kings when it comes to the amount of money collected from backer pledges ($52,776,872 so far). As more good competitors pop up here and there, it might be high time to test something new and possibly get another revolution on their hands. And that revolution goes by the name of “Teburu”.
Teburu is based on technology by Xplored – an Italian company attempting to merge video games with physical world components in: education, toys and gaming. The collaboration with one of the biggest board game makers feels like a match made in heaven.
How Does Teburu Actually Work
Teburu was called a “console” probably because it’s a device used for playing plenty of different games (all by CMON). Users install the player app on their phones. Another one called the “gamemaster’s app” is installed on some bigger device – laptop, tablet or even something with screen sharing (worked for Chronicles of Crime for me). But that’s not where the digital stuff ends.
Teburu also contains special ID tags for game components and a mat able to detect where each element of the game (mini, door token, equipment) is located. There’s even more. A dice has another set of chips which not only figure out your roll’s result, but also send it to all the paired apps. Apps perform actions related to that roll ( e.g. shooting to a zombie) and make you skip the entire part where you count damage, defense values and who knows what else. The app even makes shooting sounds when you fire your arms or open doors. Apps are used to make the storytelling deeper and the gameplay smoother, while still keeping the traditional elements like dice rolling in the game.
Since CMON is calling Teburu “a console” it should have some strong launch game(s) to attract audiences (think Halo or Zelda BotW). And what choice would be better than their flagship Zombicide franchise.
A new Zombicide game was hinted on the recent TMNT minis. These were said to also be compatible with “the second edition of Zombicide”.
Now, along Teburu, CMON has also announced Zombicide Evolution – Las Vegas – which, according to some guesses, might be the new edition of the series and a remake of original season including mechanics developed in later installments. Nobody knows if it will be playable without Teburu (or if the second edition is something else) so far, but having Zombicide launching along the initial campaign will certainly give it a huge boost.
Are board games going to get redefined now and go towards digital enhancements? Most likely not, but we will see many more titles and implementations based on this idea. Especially since Project: Elite and Cthulhu DMD were briefly shown in Teburu’s trailer.
The Kickstarter Campaign
The campaign for Teburu and Zombicide Evolution is planned for 2020. More impatient fans can check out the device on Gen Con 2019.
It’s still unclear whether older games will be compatible with the device. Some simple ID tag NFC stickers could work, but only time will tell.