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Case Studies in Mobile Board Game Conversion


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A talk I did at MobileMarchTC 2013.

Published in: Entertainment & Humor
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Case Studies in Mobile Board Game Conversion

  1. 1. Case Studies in Modern BoardGame Conversion Martin Grider
  2. 2. Outline: What is this?What are “modern” board games? & Whydo we care?Case Study: CarcassonneCase Study: AscensionCase Study: For The WinUI/UX ConcernsDigital Enhancements
  3. 3. What are “modern” board games?Board game industry ↑ 50% in last 10years1Hobby vs. Mainstream market segment(German Boardgames, or “Euro” games)BoardGameGeek.comIncreasingly blurry line between videogames and “Tabletop” games.
  4. 4. Why should you care?Existing IP commands a higher price pointPotential for cross-promotion IRLDigital enhancements can improvetabletop game experiences. (More later.)Easier to implement than traditional videogames (!?)
  5. 5. Case Studies: OverviewCarcassonne - Often held up as theshining example of a digital board gameconversion.Ascension - Especially “polished” exampleof a mobile card game.For The Win - Only included here becauseI did the iOS implementation.
  6. 6. Case Study: CarcassonneTile laying game for 2-6 players
  7. 7. Case Study:Carcassonne
  8. 8. Case Study: CarcassonneiOS features: Local Play vs human or AI Players Asynchronous and real-time Multiplayer Solitaire variant Tutorial / manual Achievements / Leaderboards Universal app
  9. 9. Case Study: CarcassonneDigital enhancements: Showing possible tile locations. No downtime in asynchronous play. Automatic scoring. No setup.
  10. 10. Case Study: Ascension
  11. 11. Case Study: Ascension
  12. 12. Case Study: Ascension iOS features: (look familiar?) Local Play vs human or AI Players Asynchronous and real-time Multiplayer Solitaire variant Tutorial / manual Achievements / Online Profile Universal app
  13. 13. Case Study:For The WinFor The Win
  14. 14. Case Study: For The Win
  15. 15. Case Study: For The WiniOS features: Local Play vs human or AI Players Tutorial / Rules LeaderboardsMissing features: iPhone only No online multiplayer No Achievements
  16. 16. Common UI/UX ConcernsQ: Should you present the game as thephysical game does? Ideally, try to use the physical art from the original game. (Some don’t.) Showing numbers. (counters, score tracks) Some UI is simply undefined. New art is always needed.
  17. 17. Common UI/UX ConcernsQ: Assuming you want to, how do yourepresent physical objects to bemanipulated on a touchscreen? A: Drag vs Tap (Actually, both!) A: False depth (importance of shadows) A: Animate actions as they happen A: Highlight actions when available
  18. 18. Common UI/UX ConcernsCommon pitfalls: Always animate the AI turns. Clearly show whose turn it is. All public information should be readily available. Reduce clicks whenever possible. (Ideally load external data in the background.)
  19. 19. Common UI/UX ConcernsSuggestions for best presenting themultiplayer lobby. Simplify, simplify, simplify. (As few screens as possible.) It’s not a bad idea to use (or copy) an already existing UI. (Apple’s GameCenter, for example.) Pick good defaults, and make sure “Start Game” is clearly identifiable.
  20. 20. Digital EnhancementsMenial tasks can be eliminated. Counting tiles remaining in the bag. Remembering what someone did on their last turn. Cumbersome scoring can be done instantly.Less potential for cheating. (Or accidentalrules mistakes.)
  21. 21. Digital EnhancementsA game’s interesting choices can bebrought into focus or made more apparent. Carcassonne’s showing possible tile locations.No downtime in asynchronous play.No game setup.
  22. 22. Footnotes & Sources 1. Estimated industry figures were 400MM for 2003, and over 800MM for 2008 according to PurplePawn. ( Physical game images sourced from BoardGameGeek.comMartin Grider ~ @livingtech ~