Ohm’s Quest is a steampunk-inspired cubical device that acts as a sort of escape game console. You can scan an NFC-enabled card on a side of the cube, and it starts a new story with interactive challenges that you should solve as a team.
While we don’t cover board games very often on TechCrunch, there was something fun about Ohm’s Quest when I talked with the team behind it. This project sits at the intersection of escape rooms, board games and tech creativity.
The team already launched pre-orders on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It raised €230,000 from more than a thousand backers and it expects to ship the game in early 2024. The starter kit currently costs $249.
“We design audio stories in which you are the hero. You play together with a team against the story. As a result, there are characters in the story who need your help to solve problems,” co-founder and CTO Allison Klopp told me.
And the interface with the game is these cubes pictured above. You get two cubes in the box and you can connect them with a cable — they communicate wirelessly but there are multiple slots that will be used differently depending on the story. On one side of the cube, there is a control panel with LED-enabled buttons and a directional joystick and a dial.
There’s a speaker to hear the story as well as a built-in accelerometer. On another side, there’s a tiny display that can be used to display messages or the time remaining before something dramatic happens.
“As these interfaces come without any context, we add context with cardboard elements, such as cards, instruction manuals, game boards,” co-founder and CEO Etienne Pouget told me. Some cards have an NFC tag, which means that the cube can also receive some information from specific cards.
Some challenges involve sound mixing, solving a labyrinth, asking questions to potential murderers using cards, passing a chemical element from one cube to another, etc.
It’s a hardware/software play and Ohm’s Quest expects to ship a new story every month when the cubes are available. The team is also working on a mobile app so that you can buy new stories and transfer them to the cube.
Some stories will be purely digital — you’ll be able buy them at home and print the instructions to play them. Other stories will come with new accessories — game board, figurines and cards.
Ohm’s Quest also hopes that it can create a community of players around its game. There will be a creator mode so that the most enthusiastic players can design their own stories. The Ohm’s Quest team could then work with an illustrator to create cards for those stories — story creators would be compensated.
As you can see, the team behind Ohm’s Quest has plenty of creative ideas for its puzzle-meet-story platform. There could be new cubes in the future as well with new interaction methods. “The one we’re dreaming of is a cube with an olfactory interface to create investigations using scents,” Pouget said.