Oak Games

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Oak Games is a producer of game apps for ios (Apple) mobile devices, with roots in the world of handmade obscure abstract strategy games. The site is a fun vanity site. Please understand that the beating heart of it is the Corkboard, a de facto blog.

What is an abstract strategy game?  In this article Mark Thompson waxes lyrical about abstract strategy games. There are online games (and puzzles) but the experience of playing these as computer games is not as good as playing physical games face to face with another player.


Blue Circles was the first game. It's a solid little game, worth playing a few times.
The popular Binary Key is like the old Mastermind game, although not inspired by it.
Snakebite is an innovative game where snakes wrap right around the board.
Chessball is a nice, fun, underappreciated app.
Hunt games are limited things. Diamond and Ruby is a hunt game that's actually very good, very replayable.

As of writing, the next app to be made is a trivia app, which can be played in a social context. There are time delays when you blow a challenge, but it is also multiroute. This is not a big test of knowledge, but a smaller set of neato questions.


The handmade games have been pushed off the agenda by the apps, and what you see is an archive of some of the games that were made. I'll put in notes about the construction problems and possibilities. Photography can be tricky.

Will a rethemed Royal Game of Ur show up on the Handmade page?
The old leather Awithlaknannai and Picaria should find a place in there.

In addition to apps and handmade games, there is an emerging Social Games category. There are two games, Loonie and Stand By Me, that have a lot in common. They both involve larger groups, player elimination, minimal stuff-lying-around components, and they have not been tested. Loonie is iconic, starkly simple, personal, backstabby. Stupidly random, or intensely psychological? One way to find out. Stand By Me is a little more colourful, involves multi-person communication, and has a good deal of randomness.

Oak Games is an assembly line app factory that combines a proven ability to make apps together with years worth of invented games plus traditional games.
In theory.

In practice it's a big indecisive mess every time I try to list the apps to be made. This is the never-ending Oak Game Paradox. I compare it to counting wispy ghosts. There are several reasons for this, often multiple reasons for a game. These include:
Experimental ideas, is the game good enough, too difficult to make, should it be combined with another game in a package (which ones?), works better as two-player, has it been done already (traditionals), naming issues, which platform should be used, and would Apple reject it.

Another complication is that the most recently invented game is always the most exciting game. The most exciting game is the one that gets developed, so development stops for the previous most exciting project. At the end of the day nothing comes out the factory door.