As May the 4th dawned, so to did the Kickstarter for HoloGird: Monster Battle, the Augmented Reality Board Game that will undoubtably be known as “That Monster Chess Game they played on the Millenium Falcon”.
Being made by Tippett Studios (a.k.a. Phil Tippett, the creator of the monster in that Star Wars chess game) and HappyGiant, HoloGrid: Monstr Battles is an incredibly cool concept, and after having seen it in action at PAX East, I think it has a lot of viability in a lot of different ways.
HoloGrid: Monster Battle is a hybrid CCG/turn-based tactical strategy game, brought to you by Tippett Studio and HappyGiant.
With the goal to defeat your opponent’s Champion, the game uses team and spell based combat, set on an AR tabletop-like playing board, allowing intense battles to take place.
- Platforms: Mobile for main goal (iOS/Android), many others if we hit Stretch Goals.
- Boxed Product: The game is a one-time-fixed price purchase. This is NOT a Free-To-Play mobile game and we won’t bother you with in-app purchases (read my lips!). We may introduce new creature card packs over time, but only if you want ’em!
- Strategy: If we hit our Stretch Goal of 30 Creatures, that’s well over 100,000 team combinations! The base 8 units provide over 400!
- Unique Abilities: All units will come with their own unique abilities, movement ranges, and more; allowing for endless amounts of strategy. See Creature Gifs below for more details.
- Character Classes – Champions, Tanks, Specialists, Ranged/Shooters and Fighters.
- Spells – Like the Creatures, every spell will be unique, and have the ability to shift the tide of the battle.
- Fast Paced: The game matches take only 10-15 minutes, so you can play a quick session or multiple matches in no time.
- PvP / 2 Player Game – The game is for made for 2 players/teams.
- MP – Local Multiplayer included, and Remote Multiplayer if Stretch Goal hit
The thing that surprised me most when seeing the game in person at PAX East 2016 was the fact that it was being designed, from the ground up, as a fully functional pseudo-board game. The intent for the game is very clearly to be played in AR and eventualy VR, but you could just as easily play the game with the cards alone if your power happened to go out. Each card has artwork of the unit, a description of any special abilities they may have, and then values for their attack, health and movement.
This makes me a whole lot more confident that the game isn’t a gimmick, trying to ride the VR and AR bandwagon that seems to be making its rounds these days. More that a few games that are coming out are using VR as a gimmick to drum up interest and perhaps sales, but HoloGrid: Monster Battle isn’t that. It’s a passion project and the bringing to life an idea that many of us grew up with.
The Augmented Reality used in the game works remarkably well. There were a few hiccups on the busy convention floor when Mark Levine showed it to me, but that’s to be expected with thousands of people running around, bad convention hall lighting and the many strobes of the other game booths going off. In a slightly less chaotic environment, I don’t see any real reason for the AR to be any sort of barrier to entry.
The game essentially works by you selecting cards for your team of monsters, including one champion monster, and laying them out on the table in front of your AR enables tablet. The HoloGrid App will pick these up and you’ll see the monsters come to life in 3D. You can select a couple of different playing board “Battlegrounds”, move your monsters into position, and then the game begins, ending when one side kills the enemy Champion.
There is a lot of monster variety and it seems like something that can be very easily expanded upon in booster packs and expansion. Battles didn’t seem like they would last beyond 30 minutes, so it’s a quick game where you can try out lots of different team compositions without a huge time investment.
HoloGird: Monster Battle is looking to raise $100,000 in 34 days, and I can’t see this being a major struggle for the project. What may seem a stretch to me is the timeline for distribution. The campaign is beginning this month, and they are planning to release the game to Backers in November, and as a retail release in December. The game is already very clearly well along, so perhaps this isn’t as much a stretch as I judge it to be, but it is an ambitious goal to be sure. There are a number of stretch goals, adding in remote multiplayer and more creatures and numerous reward teirs. If you’d like to support the project, then head to the game’s Kickstarter page.