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  • Writer's pictureJason

Our Library: What's a good fit?

I like Board Games vs. I'll Crush my Enemies!

Your board game collection says something about you: “I like board games” or “I really really like board games” or “I like to crush my enemies, see them driven before me and hear the lamentation of their children.” Because every title is rules enforced and we work with the publishers to build our translation, Sovranti asks some very gamer questions before things are added to the library:

Are there genres we’re missing or need more of? Which types of gamers are not being represented? Do we do this long game or two really quick games? What other games are coming?

All January, we announced games as part of “New Year New Titles.” 2021 will be exciting! But this month’s announcements has a few folks asking: “How do you decide what gets on the platform and what is the order of releases?” This isn’t an easy question, but here are some of the considerations:

#1 - Would this make a good online board game?

We like a challenge, but not everything is a good or easy fit for the flat screen. Dexterity games, for example, really feel much more like a video game rather than a board game when translated and take on a whole host of issues. It’s important that translating from tabletop to a mobile screen that the essential challenge and fun is preserved.

#2 - Does this share mechanics with anything else on the Sovranti platform?

We evaluate what gets development time and where it sits in the queue by how long it takes. We want to release new things to play every month. If we take on too many long projects at the same time, that creates gaps in the schedule. Games that contain similar elements to games already on Sovranti are quicker for us to develop. When we tetris our time table together, they can fit in smaller slots.

#3 - Is there a lot of card specific or unique interactions?

Asymmetric Planets & Corps are in BETA right now.

Games that are heavy with unique card mechanics are very labor intensive to translate because everything on Sovranti is rules enforced. Everything needs to be tested and unique mechanics can exponentially increase the amount of situations that must be considered, tested and verified. When appropriate, we roll out games with unique features like these in stages. Each stage, we let our Vanguard testing group check the fun first. Afterward, we gather feedback from users at our Game Nights and it might have the big yellow “BETA” label on it. We want our digital versions of games to be the most fun they can be and we have to set aside the proper amount of time to do that.

#4 - Can we use the platform to improve play?

Setup and score keeping, teaching aids and prompts can help keep the fun rolling and approachable for new gamers. We get really excited when Sovranti not only translates, but adds something to the board game experience. When we do the game right, it makes the game much more approachable. Having the confidence that you can never play “wrong” opens up a lot of titles for folks who might be intimidated otherwise.

Nothing beats playing games in person, but you don’t always have table space or your game backpack either. There is no rule that says you can’t play a tablet or mobile game together in person. Certainly, we’ve had our share of fun with LAN parties back in the day. As we grow our library, we are looking for games to open up the hobby to new gamers and new ways to play games.


Release Updates

Publisher: Fight in a Box

Sovranti Developer: Eric

Developer Eric has been working on bug fixes and minor feature updates. But the next major update would probably be the mini expansion which includes some 'special guest' cards such as The Head of Lettuce Security.

Things to look forward to:

  • Mini expansions

Sovranti Developer: Paul

Developer Paul is making progress on more Asymmetric Corporations including Cosmos and Oasis, which adds some diagonal movement, overlapping resource tracks, placing lifepods on the resource tracks and more! Most recently implemented was the Jump Drive Corp.

Things to look forward to:

  • More corporations!

Charybdis Planet & Jump Drive Corporation

Publisher: Gamewright

Sovranti Developer: Andrew

Displaying deck stacking and card order is cumbersome. For example, when playing as the Meteorologist and using the Forecast ability, the player needs to know the ordering of the cards they draw from the storm deck as well as what order the cards are returned to the deck. There are a number of options available to communicate this information, many of them involve detailed and potentially confusing messages or additional UI changes/text. However, the solution we came up with is elegant, clear, simple, and utilizes animation timing.

Sequential events occur with intentional timing differences to create a much more true-to-life experience that restores many pieces of intuitive information that would otherwise be lost to the players. While timing of animation is not usually thought of as an informational process, it can be used to communicate information to the players that are complex to explain in text or prompts but easy to grasp if you see them done visually.

Here’s an example: the Meteorologist chooses a card to bury in the storm deck and needs to place that card at the bottom of the deck. Adding a pause to the animation when a card is being buried at the bottom of the deck draws attention and makes it clearer for the players.

Things to look forward to:

  • You can now travel between tunnels

  • Soon to be added is the Navigator character

Forbidden Desert Meteorologist Forecast & Bury Ability

Publisher: Magpie Games

Sovranti Developer: Eric

Eric has been primarily focused on implementing the ‘New Rules’ mode adding dynamic gameplay elements. There are 6 different rules cards that each affect the game differently! Whenever there are dynamic rules introduced in a game, it presents a challenge to the developer because they may have made assumptions about the game rules that no longer apply. In some cases, there needs to be some code re-work to get these to work correctly.

Things to look forward to:

  • Implementing ‘Kitten Selection’ and an a-la-carte style game options selection.

  • Chaos Mode!


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