Welcome back to our Breakable Toy showcase series! If you’re a board game fanatic like Kat, a Launcher in our 13th Boston Cohort, you've probably experienced a paralysis of choice when it comes to deciding which of your many board games to play. Sorting through stacks of games to find one that fits the mood and number of people playing can be inefficient (and takes away valuable playing time). Why not build an app to take care of those pesky decisions? That's exactly what Kat did for her capstone project.
Using APIs from Amazon and scraping information from BoardGameGeek.com—a site with a library of more than 3,000 board games—Gameshelf gives users the ability to catalog all their games and offers automatic “what to play” recommendations based on the number of players the user enters into the app.
But that's not all. When you're hanging out with a group of friends, the last thing you want to do is find your computer and log into your game library. That's why Kat decided to integrate Amazon's Echo service with her app, so all users need to do to get a game recommendation is ask, "Alexa, ask Gameshelf to find a [number] player game." Within a few seconds, Amazon queries the user's game database for games that can be played by the number of people in the group and returns a game recommendation that fits the user's criteria. By making the decision to integrate the app with Amazon’s Alexa, Gameshelf allows users to communicate using words rather than text or interface.
Here’s Kat with the full breakdown:
(If the video isn't working in your browser, here's the direct link.)
If you're a music nerd or a data visualization geek, check out Musicabulary, a project built by Filipe, a Launcher in Boston's 12th cohort. Suppertime, by Meredith in Boston’s 16th cohort, will help you get dinner on the table. And if you’re headed to Somerville, Massachusetts, Somerville Guide from Emma at Boston’s 15th cohort provides many options for explorers.
During the final two weeks of every cohort, Launchers flex their creativity and newly acquired coding skills to create a capstone project, also known as a “Breakable Toy.” They utilize everything they’ve learned to build an app of their choosing, with most centering their project around a hobby or passion.
We love exploring these projects and seeing the amazing feats Launchers can accomplish in just two weeks. With this series showcasing Breakable Toy projects, we hope the world is just as impressed as we are at the end of every cohort.
Have an idea for an app you'd build as a Launcher? Apply here and tell us about it!
Lauren Alworth is a former member of the Launch Academy marketing team.