June 21, 2012

A Camp Classic

Lasting First Impressions of Carpet Ball from Peak Systems

Carpet Ball boxart» For well over 25 years, youth camps across the US have enjoyed a simple game called Carpet Ball.  Essentially a cross between billiards and shuffleboard, Carpet Ball uses billiard balls on a long shuffleboard type table.  Each player places 5 balls in any position within reach of their end of the table and then takes turns rolling the cue ball down the table in an attempt to knock their opponent’s balls into a pit found at each table end.  It is a very simple game but has proven to be a long time favourite of church and youth camps for many years.

When developing an Ultimate Shuffleboard game for iOS, Peak Systems President and CEO, John Sloat remembered the game that his kids played at summer camp and decided to recreate this fun activity on iOS.

Carpet Ball for iOS, like its real-life counterpart, requires two to four players, each with their own copy of the game on their iPhone, iPod or iPad.  Pairing the devices together using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and lining the phone up in front of each other creates the full play table. Shooting the ball on one device rolls it through to their opponent’s device in real time. The object of the game remains identical to the old camp classic: be the first to knock all 5 of your opponent’s balls into their pit.  Easy concept with many different strategies involved makes Carpet Ball a fun an addictive casual game for the whole family.

Carpet Ball screenI played Carpet Ball with my daughter, her on her iPod and me on my iPad and it worked very well, though it would have been better if we were both on the same size device.  We had a bit of trouble getting the two devices to see each other over Bluetooth but eventually it worked without issue and we were off playing match after match.  A single match of Carpet Ball doesn’t take very long to complete so I can see this being the type of game you’d create a ‘tournament’ out of (best 3 out of 5 game, for example) but it was fun for the both of us because it was something we were playing together.  While most iOS games are designed for one player only, Carpet Ball requires you to actually come together with friends and family to play.

The only strange thing we found with Carpet Ball was the fact that one of the two devices was always rendered upside down during the game, but then would return to normal between games. This proved to be a little annoying as one player is constantly having to turn their device around instead of just leaving them both as they are.  It’s a minor point but one that I’m sure Peak Systems could have easily resolved during development.

Carpet Ball may not be a game you’ll be anxious to start playing every day when you get home from school or work, but it is something that would be fun to bring out during a social gathering just to get a group of people to gather around and have fun with.  It is a great party game for the whole family and for only $0.99, you really can’t go wrong.

Peak Systems, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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