1 min read

Blockchain-powered tabletop games

I'm fascinated by projects that use blockchain in the physical world. Gaming and financial dApps are the most common applications of blockchain because they're easier. You can do everything on-chain or at least on computers. When you leave the digital realm, the data stored on-chain can be unreliable.

You can improve data reliability by incentivizing human moderation. Let me explain with an example.

Imagine you're publishing a board or card game. The traditional way to make money is through a small markup on game sales. Even if your game becomes popular and players set up tournaments, study the rules, judge games to ensure fairness, etc. You typically still make most of your money from game sales.

Enter blockchain. Instead of printing thousands and thousands of cards like Magic, Pokemon, and all the rest do, issue every card as an NFT. Players can manage their collections online and order prints of the cards they own at cost. This makes the NFT basically a warranty/proof of ownership. You don't have to worry about the condition of your physical game components.

Lots of players won't care about this. Go ahead and sell game components to them cheaply so they can play with their friends. The key is tournaments. Players who want to compete for prizes will need to verify they own the cards in their deck.

You could do this with a centralized service with more effort, but NFTs have more in common with physical game components. Just because you designed the game doesn't mean you should have control over what your players do with it. Let them self organize tournaments, offer prizes, and moderate games for fairness.


P.S. One benefit of this approach is that it's less wasteful. If you use a non-PoW blockchain, you should have a smaller environmental impact compared to printing and shipping a bunch of game components that people won't actually play with.