Tuesday, 13 October 2015

RomboGames Unite Vintage BoardGaming with Technology, Creates Augmented Reality TableTop Game 'Publish or Perish' for Kids. Now on Kickstarter!

Human emotions confuse me. Together they breed the seven sins and quite evidently, time and again have led to fall of men, nations and kings and yet their is but one sentiment that outdoes the collateral damage of all the cardinal vices combined, Curiosity. From the gobmacked epiphanized faces of Newton and Einstein as they witnessed the forces of nature on the gravitating apple and the magnetized compass to Peter Higgs fighting his tears as Super collider experiment confirmed the existence of his fabled 'god particle'; human curiosity has been the true spoke in the wheel of evolution of human race and yet our education system fails to embrace it to the fullest extent. Children are innocent, they are in void of the harmonal distractions as their brains are busy learning and adapting to this new world. They are simply curious and it is our responsibility to fuel their imagination with fun based education rather than having them cram facts and pass tests; And visually engaging educative videogames that employ hands-on approach are the best way to do it which is exactly where Rombo Game Studio's new game, 'Publish or Perish' comes in.

Publish or Perish is a language independent, next generation boardgame that simulates sub-particle research by leveraging the power of augmented reality. Board games have been around for centuries primarily because they are an easy and awesome way to spend unhurried, friendly and family time together plus they stimulate brain to improve basic reasoning, deduction & strategy while teaching core values like good sportsmanship, playing fair, keeping patience and most of all, collaboration. Publish or Perish leverages the swag of boardgames and amalgamates it with the latest technology amping up the fun factor by making it a more visual experience which in-turn stimulates spatial learning in brain thereby allowing brain to retain more information. Almost reminds me of college! When we used to 'stimulate' our brains by getting 'high' and mighty, lie under the starry skies and contemplate the meaning of Jaden Smith's tweets.

Yes, I will have what he is smoking

Alright so what is 'Publish or Perish' about? Basically after the CERN's successful particle-smashing-accidental-superhero-breeding experiment in the massive LHC, the Large Hadron Collider that confirmed the existence of Higg's Bosom.. I mean Higgs Boson, it turned out that this super expensive experiment was just the tip of the iceberg and we just stumbled upon one of the many. "This spawned new colliders to appear all over the world. Searching for the missing particles of the Standard Model became a race between research centres in Europe, The Americas, Australia and Asia." explained Helena from Rombo Games as her cat gazed into my soul with dis-trustful eyes. Seriously though everything aside, LHC, the fire-womb of the god particle is one beast of a machine whose utter badassery will put tony stark and batman combined to shame. This beast can generate temperatures more than 100,000 times hotter than the core of the Sun, costed £2.6bn and to build that required a total manpower of more than 10,000 scientists from more than 60 countries who apparently had some idle time on their hands to make the infamous LHC rap video to explain you what the hell is going on.

The game is based on an abstract property of each particle called the hypersymmetry factor and it will be upto our team of little scientists to turn their 'sherlock' on and work together to figure out what each particle's secret attribute is. "Bah! The game's all bells and whistles as it seems" interjected Gary, the evil potato. Gary you're gonna knocked out! Publish or Perish gameplay is carefully orchestrated by professionals to make sure that the game is scientifically accurate while at the same time being engaging and fun. Education however is still the prime focus and game sneakily yet effectively teaches your kid that science can indeed be fun. Alright so how does it work? You start off by picking up two particles of your choice: a Lepton and a Quark maybe. Alright, now what? Well Publish or Perish comes along with a free iOS and android app for your device that lets you harness the power of augmented reality, essentially converting your device into a particle reactor! The power of the Large Hadron Collider is now in the power of your hands but beware of unseen consequences like the overheating reactor or the stumbling across the rare prophesied graviton or the god particle itself that can turn tables at any moment!

Nevertheless, the particles are on a collision course and as they smash against each other in full force, sparks fly and their secret ingredients spills out. Appearances and theatrics aside, as the children will do these experiments, take note of the results, deduce and repeat, they are essentially following the basic rules of scientific experimentation and as they do so, they will automatically learn about most of the sub-atomic particles and their properties as well such as an electron has an negative charge or that only the particles with opposite charges interact with each other thereby coming in terms with the basics of particle physics. Particle facts aside, the boardgame is essentially at core an deductive puzzle and solving it requires a thinking moustache, reasoning and math and all this while don't forget that the clock is ticking. Time is very crucial parameter in Publish or Perish and the young scientists will to learn to manage it while cooperating with each other if they want to win the ultimate reward of the game, the Nobel Prize!

Have you ever played call of duty? The last time I logged in a COD multiplayer server, I got absolutely 'rekt', destroyed and 360-noscoped across the screen by the sheer multitude of aggressive sugar-rushed teens that were in-game swearing and cussing on top of their voice. Children are by nature playful and research shows that violent competitive videogames are breeding grounds for aggression in kids. Quite on the contrary, Cooperative, not competitive gameplay is at the heart of 'Publish or Perish' which quite honestly wasn't on the agenda in the humble beginnings of the project. Marcin, founder of Rombo Games shares the ordeal of how they came to this realization "I designed this game with the idea of the 'Publish or Perish' in mind where only the best scientists survive. The competitive rules of the game dictated that players should play against each other to see who could publish some research first. I thought this was a great idea until the first testing session with kids came along. The children automatically started cooperating with each other, showing each other what they had found and deduced! We previously designed our cards so that they could be hidden with ease. Imagine my surprise when I found them face up on the table, being shared along with the results of the experiments. After repeated testing the fact seemed indisputable. The game changed and became the cooperative game you can see." Further more study shows that cooperative gaming elicits pro-social behaviour. So if your kid is the former call of duty berserk-fragger, I'd strongly recommend you to get on the 'Rombo' train.

Publish or Perish is on Kickstarter right now and really needs all your love, support and backing to see the light of day. More than 70 people have already backed the project and pledged more than $4k at the time of this writing out of a total goal of $20k. Why $20k? Marcin explains "We’ve researched all the production and shipping charges and know that we can deliver the game at this price if we’re able to raise our goal of $20,000. As such, we’re only asking for as much money as we need to print and ship the game - because all the work behind it is done!" You can pledge a minimum of $5 that gets you a personalised thank you, an HD wallpaper and science e-book on sub-atomic particles for kids to $999 that scores you a visit to an all expenses paid trip to CERN, large hadron collider in Switzerland! Awesome right? So check out the kickstarter page for yourself and back these awesome guys for rest assured, your pledge will be worth every penny. Also, let us know in the comments below or on twitter / facebook what you think about it. Tag us @dominantwire_ and @rombogames in your tweets. We'll be waiting!

Meet the developers:

Meet Rombo Games, an indie game studio based in UK and Poland. Augmented reality games are their strong suit and children their demographic. Marcin, Juan and Hubert make up the three men development team that share a unique skillset in the domains of game development, engineering and design to create magic, not to forget Helena, their very talented and cute community manager. Making use of AR, sensors or BLE devices they create immersive environments that bridge the gap between videogames and boardgames while making sure to maintain the ambience of the game without breaking the player experience with a technology overload. Publish or Perish is their fourth title after the 'Third eye', 'Hungry Monsters' and 'Roar'. You can stalk these guys on twitter and facebook

- Kaushal Kapoor