Hey everyone! This is our first blog entry of many more to come, and in this one we will tell you more about the idea behind Tabletopia. How did we come up with the concept? What is our goal? How do we reach it? But, most importantly, why board games? It seems that in our age of mobile devices and social networks one just doesn’t have the luxury of spending a few hours to play a game with friends. Actually, that’s not true: there are a lot of people who love and play board games.
See for yourself. More than onehundred fifty thousand people visit the annual boardgame festival called “Spiel” in Essen, Germany. People come from all across the world to take a look at new tabletop games, buy older ones or play with other visitors. Yes, that is indeed the largest convention, but there are more events for people who love board games. Moreover, the fans have other means to find friends and board games. For instance, the BoardGamesGeek community has over a million members and there are over seventyfive thousand games in the website’s database!
Of course, many of us would like to go back to the good old times and spend more of those long weekends playing with friends at a real table. Alas, nowadays this is hardly possible: we have jobs, families and other responsibilities. Even if we do find the time to play, it’s not always easy to reach our friends. Some of them work at different hours, some live in other cities or even overseas, some don’t play anymore or want to try a game you have no interest in.
Thankfully, that’s not the largest issue humanity has encountered. The solution is pretty obvious: digital versions of board games, which became a logical evolutionary stage. You all heard of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft or Magic: The Gathering Online, didn’t you? But those are rare exceptions: sadly, most implementations of board game have failed. You can count really popular ones on the fingers of one hand.
Neo classic – Keltis – winner of the Spiel des Jahres 2008 – now in digital format on Tabletopia
Why does that happen? First of all, developers don’t want to risk investing resources in development and promotion of a digital version of each board game. Since the competition is really high and the project will most likely get lost among thousands of other games. There are hundreds of digital board games in the AppStore and Google Play, but only a handful of them are popular and have large communities.
The other, less fortunate games, have only a handful of players and it’s very hard to find anyone (especially a worthy adversary) to play against online. So the most important feature of digital board games – multiplayer – isn’t working properly! Of course, there’s still an AI, but usually computer controlled opponents are only good against new players who are still learning the rules of the game. As you know, it’s VERY hard to build a decent AI for a complicated board game.
Another issue is the interface. Developers of digital board games try to make the UI closer to that of videogames, but the result is catastrophic: a digital adaptation plays very differently from the original board game. Why is it so hard to simply copy familiar actions? Rolling the dice? Moving game pieces? Drawing and playing cards?
But have faith, there’s a solution. What if there were a website with many different games and a huge devoted community? Actually, there are projects like that on the web, but most of those were developed by the enthusiasts in their spare time, so the experience they offer isn’t really top notch. Moreover, existing projects do not have an appropriate business model for working with players, game creators and publishers. Finally, and that’s really important, usually they don’t have a mobile version. With the booming smartphone/tablet market it’s a crime not to have this option.
Imperial Settlers at the real table and on Tabletopia – the same look and feel and the same “gaming interface” players are used to
Having said all that, we believe we know the recipe for success. And it sounds simple: create a website without the aforementioned issues and bring in players and games. But how do we do all that?
What is Tabletopia and what does it bring to the market and players? Tabletopia is the most sophisticated virtual table for board games in terms of functionality, aesthetics and usability. And to support that, we have an aggressive feature development plan and a dedicated team of ten experienced developers.
Now it will be much easier to demonstrate new games to publishers and gamers – 5 seals of magic – will have its international debut in 2015
Tabletopia is accessible and easy to use for all parties involved: players, game creators and publishers. Here’s why.
Creation of Tabletopia started early in 2014, when Tim Bokarev – author of the concept of a digital publishing platform for board games – invited his friends and partners Artemy Zinoviev and Dmytry Sergeev to take part in the project. Artemy and Dmitry are the creators of Playtox and have a lot of experience in the gaming business. Tim is known in Russia for different projects in a digital field (Promo Interactive, Next Media Group), but also actively participates in a board game business (Igrology studio and Tesera.ru).
By spring 2014 Artemy, Dmitry and Tim created a company named Tabletopia and started the development. The team was quickly assembled, and the project has been moving rapidly since. The main development team is located in Novosibirsk, Russia, but there are more people working on the project from Russia, Ukraine and Germany.
From the very first demonstrations and pitches the project has found an active support from well known board game publishers. This will allow us to have the most popular and exciting games on Tabletopia right from the start! Hopefully, you will like that and will look forward to Tabletopia’s launch.
Please find out more about Tabletopia from these presentations:
Project presentation: http://tabletopia.com/tabletopia.pdf
Presentation for game creators and publishers: http://tabletopia.com/tabletopia_for_publishers.pdf
That’s all for now, but we plan to update this blog weekly not only with the development progress, but also with our other achievements and goals. So stay tuned for more and see you at our digital table soon!
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