How to group people on a web service without a login?

March 5, 2011

Thinking out loud here. A favourite boardgame in our family is “Stockmarket” – a classic from the 1960’s that is fun all (yadda yadda.) We have a game underway at the moment (well, on hold since last night anyway 😉

Here’s my train of thought:

Wouldn’t it be great to have an iPhone app to keep track of your cash, stocks and give you a running total net wealth as you play? Of course it would.

Then the marketing brain comes on : but the market would likely be too small to justify the development. But if you made a web app, it could be usable no matter the client and upgrades for new games would be instant!

Then geek brain comes back in : how would you sync a web app’s users (i.e. people sitting at a table playing a board game) easily? Without a registation process?

To restate the problem: I’m wondering how to associate players in web browsers to the same game.

What is you were to create an alpha-numeric key out of the players first initials and their ages (or the hour the game started)? This would create a (most likely) low-collision key (along with the game chosen) so the web app could link the various users together in tracking the actual game that they have on the table in front of them.

That’s pretty much it. Imagine a key for the game stockmarket : m37m33j14a11 for example. Plenty of room there for multiple games running at once without many collisions on a lookup table, wouldn’t you say?