It’s the latest title from Theresa Duringer, a board game fanatic and indie game developer. And it could help Temple Gates Games build a critical mass for the title as it tries to forge its way on emerging game platforms. Temple Gates is launching the game first on mobile and the PC, and then it will launch it in the future on VR.
The indie title is based on a bestselling board/card game which has won Best Card Game, and Card Game of the year from BoardGameGeek, Fairplay, and TricTrac. It has sold over a million copies worldwide as a card game.
The game represents a kind of pivot for Temple Gates Games, which previously made Ascension VR, another tabletop game that the company converted into a VR title for the Samsung Gear VR mobile headset.
Duringer said, “Weren’t we a VR studio? Yes. I love VR. As a developer I couldn’t ask for a more rich design innovation space. We made Ascension, another board game in VR, but it’s hard to get enough users to gain that critical mass needed to sustain multiplayer community. One of the things we’re doing with Race is solving that problem. Our VR version is already underway – and we’ll integrate the multiplayer pools from all platforms including mobile, tablet, PC and VR into one space so there is a maximum of evenly ranked opponents for players at any given time.”
The Race for the Galaxy game is based on the acclaimed galactic conquest card game, where you expand a space-faring civilization by playing cards that represent technological advancements and colonized planets.
In the game, you can rush for a military conquest, build an economic engine, or invest in victory point generation by choosing which cards to build, and which to use as payment.
The original title was developed by Tom Lehmann, and Rio Grande Games published it in 2008. It sold more than a million physical copies, which is huge for a card game. Duringer met Lehmann through a ballroom dancing community, and he invited her to come play the game with him. Then she pitched him on doing a mobile version of the game.
Duringer tapped an artificial intelligence engine developed by AI pioneer Keldon Jones. Jones created an A.I. for Race for the Galaxy as a research project on neural networks. He released it as open source code, and Duringer used the A.I. as part of her game in a partnership with Jones and Lehmann.
“This game uses the most advanced neural network AI in the digital board game space,” Duringer said in an email. “That means the AI will present a formidable challenge even for advanced players. The AI for this game has been in development by neural network researcher Keldon Jones for 10 years.”