I’m sure most of you- even those who (like me) don’t even have a Facebook account- have heard the tale of Scrabulous, the online Scrabble application that quickly became one of Facebook’s most popular features. Scrabulous was eventually taken off Facebook for legal reasons and replaced with a Hasbro-authorized Scrabble game.
This led me to thinking: the fact that a simple board game that is over 50 years old can have a second life on the Internet proves that above all, people want to have fun with others. Surely there must be other classic games that would be perfect for the Internet.
So tell us: what classic games (if permission could be obtained from the proper copyright holders) would you think make good Scrabulous-style online apps? Any game (board, video, PC) is valid, but they should preferably be easy to adapt to the Internet, competitive, and above all, fun to play against others. Here are my picks:
Monopoly. The world’s most famous board game is an obvious starting point. There’s a reason this game’s endured for over 70 years- it’s simple to play, but the element of chance leads to chaos. Your plan for a real-estate empire can crumble with a roll of the dice as you land on someone else’s and lose all your money. Basically, everyone wants to be rich- and if you can get rich making others poor, all the better.
M.U.L.E.. Combining sci-fi with supply and demand, this computer classic is more backstabbing and (yes) more fun than Monopoly and would make a perfect web app. Four players are sent to another planet. They must use the MULEs to produce food and energy as well as Smithore, which is used to make MULEs. They’re trying to make the colony work, but mainly they’re trying to make more goods than the other players, causing demand to go up once the stockpile runs out- and causing the price to rise. Economics was never more fun. (Harder difficulties add a stock market-style commodity for more chances to get rich- or blow your dough in the Crystite market.)
Risk, Diplomacy, Axis & Allies. All somewhat similar, so I’m listing them together. Whether you prefer the World War I-era attempts to maintain the status quo in Europe and prevent (or start) the war, or the strategy and conquest in World War II or a Napoleonic fantasy era, all three games are perfect for online competitive play. Like the song says, everybody wants to rule the world.