For these games, you need at least 4 tags to have real fun. (You can get a sense of the tangible UI with just 1 tag, but you can't really play. You can play Shakespeare Shuffle with 3 tags, but it'll be a bit too easy).
Here are some suggestions for how to get tags:
1) Check your wallet to see if you already have any "contactless" or "tap"-able cards.
Some cards that may work include:
- transit cards/passes (the contactless kind that you just "tap" or "wave")
- So far, the following cities have NFC cards that we have heard work: Beijing, Boston, Helsinki, L.A., London, Miami, San Francisco.
- ID badges
- hotel keys
- promotional cards (e.g., Ovi gift card)
If you have some, try them and let us know if it works (or not) by sharing your experience in the Discussion section.
The phone only detects the cards, and does NOT collect, write, or change data on them. No data is collected or sent to Nokia or any other parties. No data is changed on the card, so you can continue using it for its original purpose after playing with it.
IMPORTANT: We do not recommend using credit cards or passports (or other sensitive or hard-to-replace cards).
- Your data is safe. However, from our and other users' experiences, these types of cards do not work consistently with the games for various reasons, including possibly the antenna placement in these cards.
- Also, we do not want you to risk physically damaging (e.g., scratching, bending, tearing) or losing the cards.
2) Share the fun. Get together with friends and pool your cards together.
If you have some NFC-based cards but not enough, try finding friends who may also have cards. For example, if you have 4 friends or family members with 1 transit card each, then you can start playing these games. Your friends don't need to have NFC phones, just one or a few cards each. You can all play these games by passing the phone around and taking turns. (These games are more fun played with a group anyway.)
The only caveat with this approach is that if you are all using the same kind of card, you should mark your cards with your name before you play, so that you don't end up with each other's cards.
3) Buy NFC tags or cards online.
If you don't have these cards at all, or if you want to get more of them (for example, so you can play a more challenging game of Nokia World Flags), you can try buying these tags online. Do a web search for "NFC Tags" to find online sellers, or check the "How do I get tags" threads in the feedback Forum. (You should be able to get these tags for around 1 EUR each at low volumes, not including shipping.)
- We tested these games with Type 1, Type 2, and MiFare Classic and Ultralight tags.
- Just get plain blank tags. No need to customize or write anything to the tags.
- Please feel free to share your experiences (and read of others' experiences) in the "How do I get tags?" thread in the feedback Forum.
We hope to have more options for buying NFC tags in the future.
The Simple Answer
The best way we have found so far is to touch or hover the tip of the phone over the upper edge of the card or tag. If that doesn't work, try the center of the card, or try the other edges of the card. (This works for almost all cards we have tried.)
You may have to wait (usually around 1 s) for the phone to detect the tag. If you pull the phone away too quickly, the phone may not detect the tag. If the phone takes more than 2 s to detect the tag, and tapping anywhere else on the card does not produce better results, then the tag may not be usable for our games. (Please share your experience with us.)
After you tap one card, you may have to pull the phone far away enough from the tag, before trying to tap the same or a different card.
The best way to hold the phone is at a slight angle. We like to think of it as holding a "magic wand" or a "magic magnifying glass". You do NOT need to lay the phone flat on the card to scan a card. (That will probably work too, but probably wouldn't feel as natural to you.)
The Longer Answer
The phone emits a scanning field from an area somewhere around its upper back side (the exact area varies depending on the phone). NFC cards and tags have an antenna embedded in the card. The phone is able to detect the NFC card if the antenna (or at least a sufficient part of the antenna) is within the scanning field of emitted by the phone. In most card-format NFC tags, the antenna is arranged like a "race-track" around the edge of the card. Thus, tapping near the upper edge, such that the body of the phone is over the body of the tag, gives you the best chance of getting as much of the antenna as possible within the field of the phone.
Some cards, however, actually have a circular tag embedded somewhere in the card (usually the center). In those cases, tapping the edge may not work, but tapping near the center of the card (or just slightly above it) would work. In a few types of cards, the antenna is smaller and is neither at the top edge nor the center. In those cases, you may have to look for the right position that works, or you may just not be able to play with that card.
When the phone detects a tag, it doesn't try to detect another tag until you remove the tag from the phone's field first. This is why if you tap a tag, and then want to move on to the next one, you have to lift the phone far away enough from the previous tag, before putting it down again. If it seems like you are tapping the cards and they are not working, first try to see if you are just not pulling the phone far away enough between taps.
Finally, some "contactless" cards use some other form of RFID technology, and may not be detectable by our phones.
Note for Nokia 600 owners: one some phones (like the Nokia 600), the scanning field may be centered lower than in the other phones (i.e., more towards the center of the back side of the phone). In our experience tapping the upper end of the phone with the upper edge of the card still works reliably, so the simple answer above still works. However in cards where the antenna placement is unusual and that doesn't work, you can try positioning the phone so that the antenna is just slightly above the middle back point of the phone.