What is a LOCAS game?
So you've heard the term LOCAS game, but what does it actually mean?
Well it's an acronym for: Local and Online Competitive Action Strategy and has it roots firmly set in social gaming in the same physical space. It is the unavoidable evolution of the humble tabletop board game, played with others in the same room, instead of opponents being exclusively virtual.
Although this is less common in video games there is a clear appreciation and demand for games that allow gamers to play locally. This is evident in the recent surge of board-game sales over the past decade. Gamers want to play with friends in the same room, sharing a beer and a few nachos and we want to ensure that LOCAS games are continued to be made for years to come.
LOCAS titles are very much associated to board games, and with good reason. Many of the mechanics are similar, although a LOCAS title must include extras that can only be achieved with the inclusion of a computer.
A few key aspects of a LOCAS title:
1. Not single player. Games are not social when they may only be played by a single person. There must be at least one other human player for a title to be considered LOCAS.
2. It can be played locally. This might seem a little obvious but its important to understand the implications for making a game that can be played locally. Game mechanics requiring a certain level of discretion must be handled via an alternative interface, such as a mobile phone, AR glasses or networked computer. Fortunately technology has caught up and this is now possible.
3. It can be played online. That's not to say locked exclusively to online multiplayer, but does allow online players to make up the numbers in the case of human absence. Games that are exclusively online or local play may be considered as LOCAS, however inter-connectivity between the two is generally preferred.
4. There must be a shared space. In board games the shared space is always the game board. It is the central reference point that all players may view simultaneously and propels the game forward. Other game elements such as cards or units may, or may not, be visible to other players and are therefore not considered part of the shared space.
The shared space sets the foundation of the game's social involvement from all players and is the point of reference for all forthcoming events.
5. Match-based with a definitive winner. Many video games don't need a winner. Open-world games can be played and enjoyed without ever completing the main story. Action games encourage players to reach the end of the game in order to win but this is a different win as it symbolises the end of the game.
LOCAS titles much like board games, will end thousands of times in their lifespan. Players repeat the process over and over due to their match-based nature. This also ensures a relatively short play time and provides an immediate sense of achievement or ass whoopin' respectively.
6. Is only possible with a CPU. The main difference between board and LOCAS games is CPU managment. Most board games function without a CPU, LOCAS games however cannot. A CPU is needed if the game is to be played as intended without making changes to its core mechanics. LOCAS supports the view: "if it's not broke don't try to fix it"; there's no point making a digital version of a paper and card game that brings nothing new to the table.
Lets consider Monopoly Plus, the video game port of the traditional board game. Although it displays nice animations and updated graphics, the core gameplay is identical to its parent paper and card version. All the game's core mechanics can be replicated without a CPU. That's why all LOCAS games have been designed from the outset to be played only on a digital platform and include mechanics that push the envelope of traditional board game mechanics.
7. Does not rely exclusively on RNG randomness Although many LOCAS titles may use an RNG to randomise aspects of the games progression, the player still has a level of control to influence the final outcome. Some LOCAS titles use external hardware such as a Dice Plus, to influence the final outcome.
A major gripe of most board gamers is a computers inability to portray the feeling of luck. All LOCAS games put the luck back in the hands of the players, where their actions will heavily influence the outcome of events.
You can find out more and see other up and coming titles at www.locas.games
Posted on Aug 30, 2017