March 2, 2006 Deflexion is an electronic board game with a high tech twist that we suspect has the oomph to compete with heavyweight classic board games such as Monopoly, chess and chequers, as it combines the strategic appeal and universality of chess with modern technology yielding an innovative and instantly engaging game experience. It’s played on a board similar to that of chess and the Egyptian-themed game pieces include obelisks, pyramids with mirrors and a Pharaoh, which needs to be protected in a similar way to the King in chess. Surrounding the board is a raised frame into which are built two low-power lasers, one for each player. After each move, the player presses the button to fire up the laser beam, which bounces from mirror to mirror around the playing field. The challenge is to protect one's own pharaoh while maneuvering to "light up" the opposing player's pharaoh.
The player who first lights up his or her opponent's Pharoah piece with a laser beam wins.
The game has a feel-good story behind it too, evolving through a product design course at Tulane University.
“I came up with the idea in a product design class during my senior year at Tulane University,” said Luke Hooper. “I kept working on it in grad school while getting my Masters in Mechanical Engineering with my advisor, (Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering) Dr. Michael Larson and a fellow grad student, Del Segura who is a retired guy who came back to get his graduate degree for fun.”
“The three of us have done every aspect from start to finish from paper to production. We found our manufacturer by using links from one of my other fellow grad students, named Yi Liang from China.”
Just to make the story more interesting, Tulane University is in New Orleans so in addition to the manufacturing issues involving exacting tolerance requirements for the lasers, the trio had to deal with Hurricane Katrina as well.
Everyone who has tried the game raves about it - during the development and testing phase the acclaim for the concept was universal, and it only costs US$39.95 to buy.
The really bad news is that Deflexion is only shipping to mainland USA at present, so there's a big opportunity for distributors to take on the product in other countries. You can email Luke regarding distribution and licensing opportunities here.