in which the case for buying an iPad is almost made

When Apple announced the iPad, I was so unimpressed and bored with it, I couldn't even muster a "meh." It seemed to solve a problem that didn't exist, and while I kept waiting for Apple to make the case for it, I don't think they ever did.

I mean, if I'm going to spend five hundred fucking dollars on a device, the company had better make a very compelling case for why I need it. They should also not tie it into the worst mobile service provider in the history of known space, but I didn't even get that far on the decision tree, on account of it costing five hundred fucking dollars and just being a big iPod Touch.

I'm not knocking anyone who thinks it's awesome and shiny and a must-have precious, I'm just saying that at the moment, the iPad (oh, what a truly unfortunate name) isn't for me.

However, I saw an article this morning that made the first move toward a compelling case for the iPad: boardgames. I'm not talking about checkers and chess or even Monopoly … I'm talking Ogre, Car Wars, Settlers, Battlelore, Talisman, Arkham Horror, Dungeon … I think you get my drift.

It would be incredible to play boardgames that look like boardgames on a tablet device. You know that awesome Carcassonne game on Xbox Live? Like that. Imagine how awesome it would be to play Car Wars on a tablet: it would look just like the Deluxe Edition, with counters and a map grid and everything, but all the math and DCs would be done by the computer – unless you really wanted to overlay a turn key, I guess. You'd never have to worry about the dog crashing into the table and knocking your vehicles around, you could play against an AI, and you could flip over to another window to go shopping at Uncle Albert's, all the way back (or, uh, forward) to the fantastic 2037 catalog.

If I could take books, and movies, and boardgames I love with me when I went on trips (even if it was just a commuter train trip for an hour) then I would have to make a substantially more difficult saving throw versus WANT. Right now, I just have to roll a positive number, with a +20 bonus and no chance of critical failure.

131 thoughts on “in which the case for buying an iPad is almost made”

  1. I’ll be more impressed when you can link 2+ iPads expanding the “game board/area” across them.
    Had it launched with a DC Comics Reader/store for use with Non-Torrented comics I’d have run over grannies and Children to get one.
    The ability to carry 75 years of comics with me in something that weighs less than a couple TPBs would be a temptation i couldn’t refuse.
    If the screen size was a 1:1 scale for a comic page I might even consider selling my soul.

  2. I really like the idea of board games on the iPad also, but the big thing for me is going to be comic books. What could be better than reading my weekly comic books on the iPad. Once that kind of application is in place and I can avoid going out and spending $4 on a monthly comic book, and I can get it through a store like iTunes, I will be running out to get an iPad. Being able to carry ALL of my comic books, magazines, novels and wil wheaton books on a device that is portable like this, will make the iPad a necessity. It’s got REAL potential, but for now, without Flash support especially, it’s just a cool device which I won’t be spending my hard earned cash on. It truly is just a iPod Touch on steroids. Not thanks Mr. Jobs.

  3. Barely on-topic, but related to your comment: it drives me crazy that there is no PDF reader for my iPod Touch, so at least Apple has their act together in *that* regard with the iPad.

  4. Curse you, Whil Wheaton!!
    See, the nice thing about being a kid was that my parents had complete control of my disposable funds (which rarely approached $500) and they had an extremely effective unary system for administering it (“No.”).
    Now that I’m all grownified, it’s pretty rare that I can’t scrabble together $500 … except that all too often it goes to buy iStuff instead of, say, formula for the baby. (I kid! She’s 12 now anyway!)
    It would be a lot easier to resist the passion song of such extravagances if it weren’t for the enablers such as Wil and his ilk!
    I will be on queue Sat. morning to adopt early yet another toy for which I really have no need. And then I’m going to the batting cages, and then to have birthday cake with a group of strangers.

  5. There are already two systems for playing boardgames on PCs, Cyberboard (Windows only, PBEM only) and Vassal (any machine with Java). Vassal is open source and can be programmed with game rules to enforce player action. Vassal games can be played live over the internet or via email. See for details.

  6. Wil, just in case you missed my tweet earlier today: I’m part of a three-man indie development team that will bring Carcassonne to iPhone soon (and ofc, a bit later, iPad).
    If you are interested in beta testing, just mail me at monkeys at
    A few teaser screens are available at

  7. Full of teh awesome with a stout foam of win on top.
    I think I need a second job just to pay for all the creamy-filling geek goodness that I need to fill the doughnut of my life.

  8. I’m terribly sorry but I wasn’t paying close enough attention when I first saw that url… I swear I read about three different ways before I read what it really was – and all three made me gigglesnort.
    Thank you. You may now return to your regularly scheduled geekdomness.

  9. The iPod/iPhone Dropbox app has a decent PDF viewer. You probably want to “favorite” the PDF first to store a copy locally for speed.
    I’d love the heck out of some Car Wars (or Illuminati) on a tablet. Maybe the combination of cheap Android tablets and the free SDK will drive some interesting stuff too.

  10. Wow oh wow, Car Wars and Talisman. Sometimes I wish I could spare the time and go to my local game shop and do a showcase of some of the old classics instead of that Yu-Gi-Oh crap they play now (might be out of touch haven’t gone to a store in a long time but I still see people playing at my local Carls Jr so I assume its still popular.)

  11. As if reading your mind, DoW announced “Small World” for the iPad last Friday!
    I know Fantasy Flight Games has looked at doing digital versions of their products in the past, but they’ve never quite panned out on the PC. I’m having lunch with a friend of mine who’s a project manager at FFG, and I suspect the iPad’s possibilities will be a big part of our conversation.

  12. Sigh. We’re fools. It was an April Fools item. Click to buy and you’ll feel teh Fool.
    Then click on the “You guys better fucking make this thing” link. Because seriously. Seriously.
    April Fools makes my ass twitch.

  13. Imagine the Advanced Squad Leader geeks with all those pieces (and all that advanced mathematics) as zeros and ones. Or the Star Fleet Battles. Heck, I’d settle for playing OGRE/GEV over an Ipad with someone remotely.

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