Friday, January 21

We tested OLEM, the board game console that will arrive in 2023

Take the feel of board games, and the modernity of robotics. Mix the two: you will get OLEM, a small console designed by the start-up LudoTech.

The objective of the three founders, Alexis Lemey, Mathieu Legeay and Nicolas Silvani, is to offer “augmented” games with new mechanics. Does the concept seem abstract? Here is an example: in “Guardian and Thieves”, players must explore a dungeon guarded by an evil Guardian, which OLEM plays. This one carries out patrols on the plate. As soon as he spots a player, he walks towards him, and emits a disturbing red light.

Nine games have so far been developed. But when it goes on sale in 2023, the OLEM game library should have at least 20 items. And there will be something for everyone: strategy, bluffing, escape game, cooperative, solo, family … Something to reach the widest possible audience. “In the long term, we hope for an operation a little similar to that of the App Store”, explains Nicolas Silvani. Creators – beginners and experienced alike – will be able to sell or offer their games for free access in the game library, which is expected to grow over time.

The price of OLEM will be around 280 €. Included are the console, the recharging base (count eight hours of battery life), ten new games, and a “hardware kit” (board, tokens, figurines, etc.). Half of the games require the download of a free smartphone application, where the user can find tutorials, his personal game library, and new features.

Fall back into childhood

Is OLEM worth it? If the concept is intriguing, the test is definitely convincing. It’s hard not to fall back into childhood when faced with a robot that makes noise, moves and lights up. Very exciting, OLEM gives any audience an irresistible desire to play. The passion of its creators surely has something to do with it. At 26, the three LudoTech engineers designed several games themselves (and a few victory jingles).

Another advantage: OLEM can be carried everywhere, all the time. The console weighs just 500 grams and can be moved on the table. As for the equipment kit, it can be reused on several games: ideal for going on vacation or being transported to friends.

But beyond these qualities, OLEM blows a wind of novelty on the playful world. Artificial intelligence is creating a whole new set of games, and the possibilities are endless. “This allows the imagination to go even further,” says Alexis Lemey. “Between the screen and the speakers of OLEM, it is possible to create an entire character, where you would simply have a card or a figurine in a classic game”. And we grant it: the result is very refreshing.

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