Skip to Content

The crossover from tabletop to mobile game

Hey there! Hamish from Pocket Sports here.

We've been quietly working on something that I'd now like to share.

Pocket Sports started with a firm objective to bring people away from the screens and back to the tabletop for some real social, face to face, sports action with dice.

For a small part (40,000+ sold games) we've achieved that goal, but the time has come to look beyond the solid and into the digital/mobile platform.

As Pocket Sports as micro games with very few components, this has made the transition over easier than more complex games.

I have a video recorded below with my usual design diary walkthrough and me talking about what we plan to achieve while showing the beta prototype being played in real time.

I'd love to hear any feedback, comments or questions anyone may have. It's a new step for us as an indie company and I hope the digital versions may complement the analog and vice versa.


Looks amazing!

It takes out the trouble of figuring out what die you need to roll next!

It's freaken AMAZING! Since I've tried the Beta - and thought it was cool. Thanks for sharing... Was FUN.

Keep up the great work Hamish! New innovation is what making something like this possible...


Update: What I like is that the game is "simple" to play. But behind the scenes everything is being managed by the "code" (so-to-speak). It's a very cool implementation of your Pocket Sport Basketball!

Oh yeah and when you do ADD AI, make sure you need to "click" to watch the plays not just sequence them with a pause only. Like the AI player rolls the first die and then you need to "click" to roll the NEXT die, etc. "Click to continue..." OR something like that!

Update #2: I'd still think it would be cool if you had "in-game" credits that could allow you to "Re-roll" a die or force your opponent (AI) to "Re-roll". It could be done smart, like if your opponent rolls a "6" and it's a really good roll, you'd need to spend 6 Credits to force a re-roll.

Could be like 20 points for $1.00. And you could start the game with 20 Free points (to give you a taste of how re-rolling with credits works).

The you can establish a ladder:

-20 points FREE (to start with)

(Maybe start with a $1.00 scale and work upwards from there...):

-$1.00 = 20 credits [$0.05]
-$2.00 = 50 credits [$0.04]
-$3.00 = 100 credits [$0.03]
-$4.00 = 200 credits [$0.02]
-$5.00 = 500 credits [$0.01]

Something like that. Just an example - to give you a feel of what you might be able to define and use. This scale is again an EXAMPLE.

Just some things to consider and think about... Not saying you will implement them... Might encourage some spending of real money given "credits".

The online MMOs are filled with this. For example Stormfall doesn't even allow you to build WALLS around your castle unless you BUY credits. I like the FREE to TRY - and if you want more credits you can buy them (if you really get into the game)!

Update #3: If you set a "real-time" timer... Like 5 minutes per HALF ... would be real cool. So players will be fast to click to move the game along. And using credits to force a re-roll (maybe in SOME instances) - like a COOL-OFF period after using credits: (depends on the cost:

6 = 30 seconds
5 = 25 seconds
4 = 20 seconds
3 = 15 seconds
2 = 10 seconds
1 = 5 seconds FOR THE OPPOSITION and to IMPROVE your own roll, it could be the opposite values

1 = 30 seconds
2 = 25 seconds and downwards...

Just some FREE ideas!


I figured maybe others should have a look at Hamish Design Diary regarding his Cellular Phone App for Pocket Sports Basketball...

Really cool looking App they have designed. Good potential for this game to penetrate the over-saturated App phone marketplace.

Anyways take a look and maybe comment on what you see...

I'm sure Hamish would like some more opinions/eyes on his progress...

Tumbleweeds are blowin'

Thanks questccg

For your suggestion on the app. We plan to go with a FREE version because as a new app on the block, the number of users is critical to all any upgrades or monetization efforts.

The fact it is part of a physical dice game will be an interesting pitch and I'm curious to see how the uptake of both versions may be help or hinder the range of games....

I guess this progression is beyond what most on the forum come to seek but Pocket Sports also started here, asking questions, looking for playtesters, commenting on others work etc

It's only now we are pivoting to an additional business model that might also suit other designers games here too :)

If you have time, please check out the video!

It looks great

The sounds get a bit annoying but then again I always play my mobile games with no sound so it isn't a big issue for me.

Does the game have a 'shake' function so that players can shake their device to roll the dice (reminiscent of how some people have a special lucky move when rolling physical dice)?

I'd be interested in following how this goes as my game is an abstract that players like, and many that play it buy a prototype set off us, but we can't find a publisher and since abstracts really struggle on Kickstarter we are now considering just making a digital version only.

Good luck, and please keep us updated on how it goes.

Shaken....not stirred

I like the novelty idea of shaking the phone to roll the dice...but I'm sure it would wear thin after a few games. The dice roll does react to how firmly you swipe your fingers.....although I've yet to try it on my phone (only tried the dev team's sandbox dice roll function)

The gordy sound fx was added by me to make the video a little more won't be the final soundtrack. I want to get commentary to call play by play


I've been playtesting it more and more. It jammed once more when the dice rolled to the "bottom" of the screen. Also noticed some "errors" with the fouls like it says "roll 4 to score" and I rolled a 3 and it gave me a point... Things like that ... you may want to have it playtested some MORE.

But I really think it's a cool webapp (at this stage).

It's a nice "filler" webapp... You know while I'm waiting to finish something from downloading or taking a short break.

It's really well made - some bugs - but not many.

Great job Hamish!

Don't need any "gimmicks"

The game is pretty solid AS-IS. But it seems like the "monetization" aspect to be a little vague. Maybe a 30 second promo at half-time could be one way to go... But I personally prefer a "credit" system which could ENHANCE game play.

Also instead of 5 minute halves - I would go with 3 minute ones. This means the game is over in just over 5 minutes... Will make the game more interesting and bring back more players to the game.

I'm trying to elicit more responses - from our members.

Please tell Hamish your thoughts/ideas/suggestions/comments/etc.!

If you use a 3:00 TIMER

If instead of scoring a specific point value, you use REAL-TIME clock (like 3:00 per half), I would add a "dice timer". Means that you have like 10 seconds to roll the dice. If it does NOT happen, at 10 seconds it rolls automatically for you.

WHY? Because I may score 2 points and get back possession of the ball and RUN the clock to win 2:0.

With a 10 second timer, it ensures that the game moves forwards without too much stalling.

Just thought about this ... because people might CHEAT... :)

Trust issues

That is an odd pitch... you started with a firm objective to bring people away from screens, and after selling a bunch of games, now you're making an app? I would just leave that part out because the commitment doesn't sound all that firm, it just sounds like you do whatever you think will sell.

Constructive criticism isn't just for games, I'm critiquing your marketing approach with an earnest desire to help.

I sincerely wish you all the best.

I think...

The Strategy behind Hamish's motivation is to ENCOURAGE more game sets being sold. So while the App introduces a player to the "Pocket Sports" brand, the goal is to convert them to a physical game buyer.

Plus the App version is great "on-the-go". Like if you are on the BUS or waiting for someone (Doctor, Accountant, etc.) you can play a quick game.

The App takes all the guess work out of figuring which dice to roll.

That's good because it helps the player LEARN how to play the REAL dice game. And that's where the hope is more players will buy a physical copy of the original game...

Hamish, correct me if I am wrong?!

Most excellent

questccg wrote:
The Strategy behind Hamish's motivation is to ENCOURAGE more game sets being sold. So while the App introduces a player to the "Pocket Sports" brand, the goal is to convert them to a physical game buyer.

That's cool, I can dig it. I just wanted to share my knee-jerk reaction to the words he offered, because I always figure that if I'm thinking something, others may be too.

Keep in mind, I'm also one of these wretched detestable souls who has a disdain for apps in general, and I'm suspect of people involved with them. I know, I know, I'm a horrible person -- I can't help it! It's that "Justin Beiber", "The Bachelor" kind of hatred that you feel when something is unthinkably popular and doesn't deserve it at all!

I love video games, I've downloaded and played hundreds of apps and continue to do so, but it's only because of a fool's hope that I'll finally find one that's satisfying over the long-haul. Never do. To me, they're just a huge time-wasting step backwards for video game progress, but I understand how they've broadened the market unfathomably, etc. etc. etc., and I'm all for the success of others in whatever way they see fit.

Life ain't supposed to only include things that I like personally -- then no one else would have anything to do. hahaha

bbblackwell wrote:That is an

bbblackwell wrote:
That is an odd pitch... you started with a firm objective to bring people away from screens, and after selling a bunch of games, now you're making an app? I would just leave that part out because the commitment doesn't sound all that firm, it just sounds like you do whatever you think will sell.

Constructive criticism isn't just for games, I'm critiquing your marketing approach with an earnest desire to help.

I sincerely wish you all the best.

I never mind anyone sharing their thoughts......perhaps if you knew the back story of Pocket Sports, with 5 years on the market, we are an annualised range of games. As far as other indie designers...I know very few who sell through and continue to resell year after year. Consideration should also be given that we don't crowd fund, rather, we put up our own capital to make sure games are made and our brand continues.

Our marketing approach came from boot strapping and building on opportunities that came our way through awards and licensing arrangements.

It is true we pitched dice games as an alternative to screen still rings true.

I'm going to assume you yourself have a game or range games on the market? I'll also assume you market those games and try for distribution?

I've been running Pocket Sports for 5 years, full time, non stop. 18 published games, 40,000 units to date....and now yes, we are adding a digitised version to the line sup. I'd say my commitment sounds, has been and is a solid as any big name company competing in the industry.

I will also do whatever I can to sell games.....if I did anything less than this, I would be failing as a board game publisher :)

Holy smokes... The AI is WORKING!!!

Wow Hamish the LATEST version looks even BETTER! Has AI, better look, and music and sound effects too!!!

You should make a Design Diary with an "Update"!!!

This version looks so much better. BUT I still found ONE (1) bug: when there was a Foul, it said score 4 or higher and I rolled a 3 and it worked.

Some minor glitch...

Really cool Hamish!!! And I like the SHAPE of the NEW Dice (rounded corners)... They also look more professional!

Cheers - and keep up the great work with your team!

Update: I played until 20 points (and won) - but it just stayed on the field screen... Nothing more happened. I think this is because it's a work-in-progress.

I still would try to go REAL-TIME 3:00 minute halves. 20 points can take upwards of 30 minutes. When you're on the subway or waiting for some reason a 5 minute break away from waiting could be cool... But having to play for over 30 minutes ... IMO too long.

But great progress! Really AWESOME now.

No glitch

In the dice game....if you or your opponent score 3 'special move' baskets, you Hot Streak increases and you are 'ON FIRE!' For then on you gain +1 to the shooting (black) die roll. So rolling the 3 + 1 scored you the basket. Keep an eye on your Hot Streak meter top of the screen next time you play.

Again with the time.....I know you keep saying it, and I keep saying it's to a set total of point. Shouldn't take any longer than 5-10 mins for a game.

Still a WIP - we'll go on to build three from here but it's shaping up nicely.

I'll update the Design video later today

You are right...

Took me 7:00 minutes to WIN 20:16. It was close... Just feels longer when you play - I guess. It was kinda close.

Didn't know what "ON FIRE!" was about... Okay so it gives you a +1 to the BLACK dice! (Good to know)... Maybe somehow explain that ... somehow (Not sure...)

The basket effects (swoosh) is cool and the miss effect (ringer) is also cool... The music is good background music - not too loud not too soft.

I didn't time my other game - it just felt like it went on forever since it was back-and-forth misses and continually changing teams. One thing that I like is each dice that has a WHITE CIRCLE on the face = instant score. That's real cool - because as you roll the dice - you try to get an instant score to move closer to the 20 point goal.

As you LEARN the game better - you "seem" to do a better job at rolling the dice. It seems like that to me. So there is some "learning curve" although minor ... as you play your become more experienced with rolling the dice and knowing what to expect.

There are some aspects I'm not too familiar with yet. Like when rolling the "Brown" die, and you get a "Foul". What does the FIRST Black die roll for??? I mean I get you roll 2 (or 3) dice to attempt to score 1 point. But I'm not sure I get the FIRST Black die roll...

And when do you roll the WHITE die? Not sure about that either. It seems like it happens very rarely.

There's a lot of cool stuff going on with this little game. Like I said I'm getting into the nuances trying to understand FOULS and the WHITE die, etc. Those are probably the last aspects of the game - having played maybe like 10 or so games... I'm not sure about.

Maybe you could explain that... I'd personally like to know!


Rules download

We don't have the tutorial set up yet, but that'll explain everything.

You can download the rules for the dice game on the Pocket Sports website. Only 1 sheet, double sided, link below :)

Thanks that actually helped!

I don't think I could PLAY the "physical" version with just those rules. But that's probably because I don't know Basketball (as a sport). But it did help me understand the Fouls and the Referee White dice.

I will playtest some more - and see if I understand the rules as you have sent.

Having an App version is real cool - and makes playing the game easier. My bet is that by having the Apps, more people will buy the physical game. IDK but I'm connecting more with the game as I play it. Reading the rules also has me wanting to try again, hoping that I have better learned HOW to play the game too...

I'm a bit surprised that Fans are so into PS physical games. I can understand the App - it looks Fantastic - much improved from version 1.0 that you have in the Design Diary.

I know this App is not meant to be a Basketball Simulator - instead a PS version of it. I'm curious what else you have planned for this digital version of the game.

Maybe you could share with us some ideas... Personally I'd love to know. But then again, I'm always interested in what other designers are looking to do with their games.

What impresses me the most is HOW you managed to find a Dev Team. Mind you that I don't have any App ideas at the moment. I wouldn't even know where to start to look for people. And I work for a firm that outsources some of our work to India... Our App was created in Croatia... So more outsourcing by contractors.

Never the less it's a very impressive work effort. You should be proud about how they have managed to transform your physical game into an App. They've done a pretty darn good job.

Congrats (seems like I'm the only one congratulating you... but I really like the App and the gameplay)!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Syndicate content

blog | by Dr. Radut