Turn Your City Into a Monopoly Board With Foursquare-Based Game.
August 2, 2012 by
As of Thursday morning I own the Moscone Center. The Mashable office in San Francisco is also mine, as well as a a pretty popular bar across the street from my apartment. Tonight I have my sights set on picking up AT&T Park.
All these acquisitions are part of a new game called Turf. Think of it as Monopoly set on top of Foursquare. The game allows you to buy up property in your neighborhood, purchase add-ons such as additional floors, and earn virtual rewards in the process.
Funded by a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, the game is way different than anything you’ve played every before. “Real world Monopoly” is the one-liner that founder Michael Tseng has used to describe the game.
That description covers the basic premise of Turf, but under the surface you’ll find a much more interesting and complex game.
“When we put out Turf we looked at all the things we like about games,” says Tseng. “When people think casual games they think FarmVille, and we’re not FarmVille. When they think mobile games, they think Angry Birds.
“Turf isn’t about five to ten minutes of addition and endorphin rush — it’s a much slower game, but I think it’s just as rewarding.”
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Locations in Turf are populated from Foursquare’s database. Checking in to a location on Turf earns you coins or crystals as well as experience points, and every location in your city is essentially up for grabs for ownership.
“We took the whole concept of mayorship from Foursquare and we added to it,” says Tseng.
Purchases are made not by price and instead by chance. Buying a location involves spinning a virtual slot machine. Each spin costs a certain amount of coins. Stopping on a “Win” square will win you the location from its current owner; stopping on a “Lose” means you’ll have to try again.
The odds of winning a spin and the cost of a spin vary depending on the property in question and what its current owner has done to it.
Properties can be enhanced for instance with additional floors. Each floor makes your property more valuable, earns you more money in rent, and makes it harder for someone to steal it from you. Construction takes time though, adding a new floor to your acquisition will take at least a few hours.
In the beginning a spin on a location just costs 100 coins. If a location is full built out, then that same spin will cost 8000.
“We’ve found that people will sometimes spend half a million coins to get a location,” says Tseng. Coins can be accumulated from checking in at locations, collecting rent from properties you own, and from converting crystals -– which can be randomly found at some locations -– into coins.
Checking in to a location often (the game takes into account your check-ins over the past 20 days) will also increate your chances of snagging a location from another player.
As you play the game you also earn trophies that can be displayed on a virtual shelf and advance levels as a geographer. Trophies can be displayed in any way you choose.
One of the trophies is an arcade box that the company hopes to eventually bring out mini-games for. That would mean you could visit your friend’s trophy shelf and play a game.
“The way we think about it is that Turf is going to be a platform where we intend to release expansions on top,” says Tseng. “We don’t think of it as this one time game, that we’re going to build and release and people are going to play it.
“We think of it more like World of Warcraft — if on day one we told everyone to pick up hammers and wood and start building. Everyone is building the world for us.”
In a few months Tseng aims to release an update — one that expands the game from taking over just single locations into taking over turfs.
The games also won’t just stop at Turf. “Our hope is to create full-fledged game company,” say Tseng.
Turf is available now in the App store.