A new mobile game called Run An Empire aims to combine the strategy of skill needed for the likes of Civilisation or Settlers of Catan with the real world – by turning your local area into the game board.
The developers Pan Studio have just launched – what else – a Kickstarter, to raise the initial £15,000 they need to finish the game, and things are going well – with it being nearly 2/3 funded.
The way it works is by using the iPhone’s geolocation, so that when you go for a run it will figure out where you’ve gone on a map and ‘capture’ different territories once you’ve looped around an entire area. As all players use the same map, you can capture territory from other players, and they can take it from you. Apparently to secure a location, doing multiple trips around the same area will make it harder to take. So if you run the same circuit every morning, you’ll build a veritable fortress.
Apparently the focus of the game is on the game, and not fitness – though that is obviously a fortuitous secondary outcome. The developers also reckon that success in the game will come from the determination of players and not just sheer physical ability (though I wouldn’t fancy my chances if I lived on the same street as Mo Farah).
What’s also nice is that the app will display various analytics on the amount of territory you hold, and you can customise your empire’s name and crest, for showing off to other players.
It sounds like fun – and is a good demonstration of what augmented reality can do for gaming. Here’s hoping it inspires Nintendo to make a real Google Maps Pokemon game too.