Published On: Tue, Oct 15th, 2019

Atari VCS’s former architect returns to Kickstarter with new boardgame tablet

Rob Wyatt, the system architect of the original Xbox, has launched a new Kickstarter for the Gameboard-1, a 16-inch by 16-inch tablet designed for tabletop gaming. Wyatt launched the campaign as part of The Last Gameboard, a company which he co-founded along with its CEO Shail Mehta, and where he currently serves as CTO.

The Last Gameboard launched its Kickstarter campaign just days after reports emerged that Wyatt had ended his work as the architect of the Atari VCS retro console project. Wyatt claimed that he hadn’t been paid for his work on the project for six months, and an investigation by The Register claimed that the troubled project had scaled back many of its original goals, with the machine now resembling more of a Linux PC than a games console.

The Gameboard-1 looks like a neat little idea. It aims to build a tablet that can play video games and also act as a digital tabletop board for games played with physical game pieces. The team eventually wants the Gameboard-1 to be able to interact with these physical elements. For example, you could have a figurine that contains your DnD character’s stats, which could then be automatically communicated to the Gameboard-1 once the character is placed on the board.

You’ll eventually be able to purchase individual games for the tablet, or else access them with a “Netflix for games”-style subscription, according to the Kickstarter. You’ll be able to pair your phone with the board to use it as a controller, and the team also wants you to be able to daisy-chain multiple boards together wirelessly to make a larger playspace.

The Gameboard-1’s Kickstarter campaign is currently live, and you’ll need to back the project with $349 if you want to get your hands on one of the tablets. The Last Gameboard is currently targeting a Q4 2020 ship date for the Gameboard-1. In case the Atari VCS wasn’t enough of a reminder, however, crowdfunding release dates are best taken with a healthy pinch of salt.

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