The Boogie Board is a touch sensitive LED screen mounted in a thin, lightweight plastic shell. There are several Boogie Board models now, but the base / original model is 8.5″ and comes in many colors. The best available color, of course, is black.
Operation is simple: use the provided stylus (or anything else that would work on a capacitive display) to draw on the Boogie Board. When you’re finished, press the big button on the top of the board. The entire screen is erased. There is no partial erasing, so be careful what you do. Think of a digital version of an Etch-A-Sketch.
The Boogie Board is the kind of thing that doesn’t seem awesome until you watch people interact with it. We play a lot of games here, and one idea was to use the Boogie Board as a digital scratch paper so we didn’t have to use paper to keep score.
It’s definitely useful for this, but it’s far more interesting as a conversation piece.
We left it on the kitchen counter a few weekends ago, and everyone had to doodle with it. We have several friends who are illustrators / artists, and they enter some weird ass Buddha mind where they draw and speak at the same time. They’re going to be self conscious about it if they read this review, but a lot of what they say while doodling is more introspective. It’s really cool.
The Boogie Board is supposedly good for about 40,000 – 50,000 erases. The base model does not allow you to replace the battery … easily. You can pry open the case easily enough, but replacing the battery isn’t as simple as it should be. Here’s a short write-up on the procedure, and if you want to play it safe(r) you can buy batteries with the necessary soldering tabs already on them.
If you play a lot of games like we do, the Boogie Board is a nice accessory to have. I’ve used it for games like Farkle but it really shines when the typical scoring mechanism in a game is dodgy, like Dungeon Roll. Dungeon Roll uses little double sided cardboard tokens, an inexplicably each side has a different value. Writing everyone’s score down is much easier than keeping your eye on seven year olds who may “adjust” their scores.
However, the real value of the Boogie Board is as conversation starter. I think the ability to quickly and completely erase a doodle encourages people to draw on it. It’s a cheap thrill.