For decades, tabletop gamers have crafted characters, dungeons, and war zones using whatever material was available, from a pen and paper to sculpted metal. But, like many hobbies in the modern age, these games may soon be getting a high-tech upgrade. UK-based company Splendiferous Press recently revealed its debut product, the GameChanger, a damage-resistant screen that acts as a virtual surface for tabletop games, such as Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer 40K.
In its most basic form, the GameChanger is a large HD screen encased in a 10 mm thick layer of clear acrylic with a toughened glass top. Using a connected laptop or smart device, gamers can set it to display custom game boards and then lay it flat on a table, where other people can gather around and play. With the spill- and scratch-proof casing, players don't have to worry about damaging it by setting their game pieces or drinks on top.
According to the developers, the GameChanger is mainly designed for use with several tabletop gaming programs, such as Roll20.net, which allows players to customize digital maps and battlefields from scratch. Gamers plug their gadget in directly with a VGA or HDMI cable or hook up a Chromecast for a wireless connection. The board also syncs to apps on multiple devices, so players can use their smartphones to check their individual stats during a game, while a game master views the entire game plan on a tablet, for example.
If tabletop RPGs and war-games aren't your thing, the screen can be used for more traditional board games as well, like Monopoly or Risk. At the end of the night, the screen can also be propped upright to become an ordinary computer monitor.
The developers plan to produce the GameChanger in 32-inch and 42-inch sized models, each with 16:9 ratio and 1920 x 1080 resolution. Splendiferous Press will offer a few enhanced options for the basic screen, like an embedded Linux ARM, Android, or Windows computer, so the GameChanger can load game boards on its own. They'll even be able to add a multi-touch frame, essentially turning it into a giant tablet. An alternate version featuring dual screens and measuring 36 x 36 in (91.4 x 91.4 cm) is also in the works.
The company intends to launch a Kickstarter campaign on May 30, 2014 with a funding goal of US$50,000, which the developers plan to put towards manufacturing the first batch. Backers will have the chance to pre-order a GameChanger with a variety of different options and prices. A basic 32-inch model will cost $599, while a completely decked-out 42-inch model will cost $1,299.