New Game Design Whitepaper: How to Build Companion Alexa Skills for Board Games

Catherine Gao Mar 09, 2020
Tips & Tools Design Game Skills

We are excited to introduce a new voice gaming design whitepaper that will help you build engaging companion Alexa skills for board games. Today, customers have access to thousands of games that can be played on hundreds of millions of Alexa-enabled devices. Publishers and designers have also taken the opportunity to add voice into an analog gaming experience for one of the most popular game categories worldwide, board games. For example, check out Ticket to Ride and Ticket to Ride Europe by Days of Wonder to play the award-winning train adventure board game with Alexa.

We met with creators in the board game industry to learn more about the business, game design and most importantly, the passions and needs of board game players. Through this process, we compiled best practices for building immersive board game experiences with Alexa and published our insights in the How to Build Companion Alexa Skills for Board Games whitepaper. Download your copy today here.

Why Create Alexa Skills for Board Games

The selection of physical and digital board games is growing rapidly, and customers will continue to expect new and more innovative ways to play. Adding Alexa can enhance the board game experience and help make the game stand out from others. Board games benefit from voice interfaces because they provide:

  • Natural, Hands-free Interaction: Customers can use their voice to naturally interact with the game without needing to put down their cards or game pieces to control a gamepad, smart phone or tablet.
  • Communal, Social Experience: Playing board games is a communal experience, and Alexa provides a way to learn about the rules and facilitate other game tasks without disturbing the flow of the game or social interactions. Additionally, an Alexa skill can play with users as well.
  • Dynamic Game Content: Building an Alexa companion skill allows you to offer players new content, either for free or using In-Skill Purchasing, which deepens the game experience and helps you attract more customers.

What You'll Learn in the Whitepaper

We developed three conceptual use cases for Alexa companion skills. They address needs and desires from board game players, publishers and creators and also utilize new features and use cases for board games that are only possible with voice technology. In this guide, you’ll learn the design principles for the following:

  • Teaching: Your companion skill can help gamers who want an alternative way to learn about the rules. You’ll learn how your Alexa skill can provide interactive tutorials, respond to rule-related questions and use contextual knowledge of an ongoing game to guide players.
  • Hosting: You can use your skill to create a more immersive and fun game experience for your players. For example, you’ll learn how to use custom voices, sound effects and music, utilize Alexa to keep time or conduct operational tasks, add new gaming content, and have Alexa act as a game master.
  • Playing: Your skill can also play the game too. You’ll learn how your skill can act as one or more players in a game by using different voices to differentiate between the “virtual players”. This allows customers to play games when they don’t have the minimum number of required players or when adding more players makes the game more dynamic and fun. 

Get Started Today

Download and read our new whitepaper today and get started with designing an Alexa skill experience for a board game. Get your copy here.

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