Integrating Bitcoin into video games is not a new phenomenon, but what about an actual physical game that is themed around the currency? Bitcoin Empire is what you get, the first ever Bitcoin-themed card game has arrived on Kickstarter.
Bitcoin Empire: The First Ever Bitcoin Card Game
Bitcoin has a past with games, most notably with video games, being regularly used as a substitute for in-game tokens. This approach has been often used to promote the digital currency to layman.
The Bitcoin Empire card game represents the first time a traditional, physically-based game has centered around the virtual currency. The game is meant to bring a new audience to the Bitcoin world by targeting board gamers. Additionally, Bitcoin Empire already has an active crowdfunding project to get the concept off the ground.
The point of the game is simple: finish with more bitcoins and you win. Most card games employ a similarly simplistic dynamic, but just as with all games, this is much easier said than done. As Bitcoin Empire simulates the Bitcoin ecosystem, there is a lot to keep accounted for while engaged with other players.
You play as a unique character by selecting a ‘character card’ and the player has quite a few to choose from as the game is designed to accommodate two to four players at once. Although the characters are evenly matched, the game’s official rules provides a way to settle disputes over character selection by rolling a dice, or via a coin toss. The cards feature prominent figures in the Bitcoin community including Satoshi Nakamoto and even a Dorian Nakamoto card, the man who was falsely accused of being Satoshi in 2014.
Once a character is selected the player is then tasked with building Bitcoin exchanges, the feature of the game that allows users to earn in-game money. Additionally, the game also requires players to hire specialized professionals to manage their resources. This is all done while trying to avoid the various means by which other players can sabotage them, e.g., using lawsuits, hacks, and smear campaigns.
The game goes through a three-part series of phases: Mining, draw, and action. Every phase coincides with one turn, and with each turn you revolve through each phase.
During the mining phase, each player and their respective exchanges generate a bitcoin each, the player then draws a card and places it face down near their character card or their exchange. During the draw phase, the player adds a card to their hand by either drawing another card from the deck or picking up a face down card. The last phase is the action phase, where the player reveals one card from their hand, which prompts a function that the other players must resolve.
Once the last card from the deck has been drawn, the game ends. The winner will be determined by the amount of bitcoins labeled on the cards kept face down in front of each player.
Promoting a Family Friendly Image
A Bitcoin-themed card game may be a quirky, and even original idea, but it’s also an idea that seems to lack usefulness in terms of benefiting the cryptocurrency. Video games have been used to introduce Bitcoin to new people, but this makes sense when both exist on a digital platform. Unlike video games, there just doesn’t seem to be any obvious cross-over appeal with traditional tabletop games.
In fact, it may even be that tabletop and board games are not really a good way to promote anything in the digital age. However, game creator, David Thomas had other plans in mind when designing the game. David wasn’t necessarily trying to appeal to people already predisposed in some fashion to Bitcoin, or to people who already hold a favorable view of it.
Instead, the purpose of creating Bitcoin Empire, in effect, was to try and soften the image of the cryptocurrency and to promote trust in Bitcoin itself.
A lot of my friends and family really enjoy tabletop games but they see Bitcoin as this dangerous, volatile, alien investment but they don’t really know very much about it, or the history of it. I am hoping that this card game will introduce them and lots of other people to Bitcoin in a fun new way. I think the lesson that I want people to learn from the game is that Bitcoin itself, is corruption proof but Bitcoin companies aren’t.
One way the game does promote a friendly image onto Bitcoin is by essentially satirizing major events, either funny or serious, that have been overplayed by the media, such as the collapse of Mt. Gox or the hunt for the real Satoshi.
Thomas is not only the creator of Bitcoin Empire, but has also created the decentralized and encrypted email service Davemail. He’s also a passionate member of the Bitcoin community, and the creation of the first ever Bitcoin card game is just another way he’s tryng to make a difference in the crypto world.
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