The Man Behind Star Wars' Holochess is Making an AR Boardgame

By Gerald Lynch on at

Forget the hyperdrive, forget the gunner's seat – the coolest thing about the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars is its Holochess table. Making a brief appearance in last year's The Force Awakens, it was one of my favourite things about the original Star Wars, and lead to one of the most quotable lines from the franchise:

Now its creator Phil Tippett (yes, the Phil Tippett otherwise known as Jurassic Park's perennially failing dinosaur supervisor) is set to make a real-life augmented reality game just like the Holochess tabletop he dreamed of way back in '77. HoloGrid: Monster Battle will take advantage of modern virtual reality and AR platforms to make battling beasts appear right in front of your eyes.

Working with developer HappyGiant, Tippett's studio has created a game similar to card battlers like Blizzard's mega-popular Hearthstone. While details on how the game itself plays are few at this point, the AR effect will be created using photogrammetry, similar to how the Nintendo 3DS's packed-in playing cards could make Nintendo stars appear through the screen when pointing the handheld's camera at them.

Except presumably this time it'll all happen through an AR or VR visor. Mike Levine, president of HappyGiant specifically mentions "new platforms like Magic Leap, HoloLens, CastAR, Meta and [...] Vuforia", alongside Oculus Rift and mobile devices. No release date has been announced so far.

It certainly looks like great fun, matching the surprisingly-brutal attacks of those early Star Wars battles. Just remember to let the Wookie win, should you somehow find yourself playing against a hairy alien on another planet.