Sig Gunnarsson is an independent app developer who has worked on a couple of games available across multiple platforms; Triple Agent! and Sumer. Triple Agent! is out this week, the links to download are below.
Triple Agent! is a social deduction party game for iOS and Android that plays 5-9 people. After a round of beta testing, the game was released on July 20. Although Triple Agent! isn’t a direct port of a physical game, it fits right in with the standard social deduction classics like Coup, Resistance, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, among many others. Triple Agent! provides a similar gameplay experience but does so exclusively through an app. Players are assigned a role in secret by passing the mobile device around the room. From there, each player gets an event. The basics are announced to the group but the details are given only to the player and they are allowed to tell the group what the want. Allegiances are changed and winning conditions are altered on the fly, a twist that would be tough to pull off in a physical game. When all's said and done, every player votes on who to imprison, if a double agent is imprisoned, one team (Service) wins, if anybody else is imprisoned, the other team (VIRUS) wins. We didn’t get a chance to play Triple Agent! before our interview, but we did get access to the beta version and it is a slick looking game that should be a lot of fun.
Sumer is a Steam title that combines traditional worker placement mechanics with real-time interaction which is closer to a traditional videogame than board game. You can check out Sumer here.
We sent Sig Gunnarsson a few questions that he was kind enough to answer:
Pixelated Cardboard (PC): Tell us a little about yourself how you got started in the digital board game world.
Sig Gunnarsson (SG): Sure thing! I’m Sig Gunnarsson, a game designer from Iceland. Before becoming a game designer I worked in a board game shop for several years as well as teaching kids and adults how to play board games most evenings. I dabbled in designing my own games but never published anything. I moved to New York in 2013 and started a masters degree in game design. Board games and the experience of playing games together in the same room never left me. Every video game I tried to make turned into some kind of a digital board game.
There are a lot of unique games that you can make when designing digital board games. It doesn’t all have to be digital versions of physical games. They are also fun of course, but I’m most interested in these new experiences.
PC: Could you give us a brief overview of Sumer?
SG: Sumer is a real-time worker placement/auction game. Up to four players compete in a race to gather resources and sacrifice them to the great Sumerian goddess Inanna. We designed the game to feel like a classic euro-game but its real time elements and M.U.L.E. style auction give it a unique feel, both as a video game, and as a board game. The game is out on Steam Early Access, but it will be fully released once we at Studio Wumpus add online multiplayer mode.
PC: And how about Triple Agent!?
SG: Triple Agent! is another kind of digital board game I’m making with Torfi Asgeirsson. It’s a mobile party game about deception and espionage for 5-9 people and a single device. Each player is secretly assigned a role as a Service agent or a VIRUS double agent, but you don’t know who is on your team. Only the double agents will know who is on which team. The others have to figure out which of their friends are lying and throw them in prison.
Throughout the game you get operations that can reveal information about other players, change your team, or give you a completely new win condition. At the end of the game each player votes on one player to imprison. If it was a double agent, the Service wins! If a Service agent was imprisoned, VIRUS wins.
It’s a classic social deduction game similar to One Night Ultimate Werewolves or the Resistance except it uses all the benefits of being on your phone.
Triple Agent! Main Screen
You are a double agent
PC: What is your role in Triple Agent!, more of the game design side or the development side?
SG: I lean more towards the game design side. It’s just me and Torfi so we both do a little bit of everything. Both of us do the game design together and then Torfi does the lead programming while I do the art, writing and some additional programming.
PC: Why was Triple Agent! developed directly as an app rather than a physical board game?
SG: We play a lot of these hidden role/social deduction games but realized that there weren’t any mobile games like that available that capitalize on the fact that they are digital. We thought it was interesting design space and decided to make something in it. The result was Triple Agent.
PC: Has the Triple Agent! team given any thought to releasing it as a physical game?
SG: There is a lot about the design of Triple Agent! that wouldn’t work in a physical game. The way that teams are dealt and kept track of would be impossible for example. The randomness of the operations and the voting, while possible, would be a lot more tedious in a physical game as well.
PC: When do you expect Triple Agent! to be available on the App and Google Play stores?
SG: We’re really close to release! Sometime this summer is as close to a release date I can tell you at the moment. (Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted before the date was finalized, the game is available now)
PC: What pricing model are you planning for Triple Agent!? Do you have any experience pricing apps, do you have a preferred method?
SG: This is the first app we publish ourselves, but I believe we’ve found a good model for Triple Agent. We’re considering a free version of the game that everyone can play and try. The game will then have one in-app purchase which gives you an “expansion pack” of sorts that gives you more operations, hidden roles and support for more players.
PC: Do you currently have any other games in the works?
SG: I think working on two games at once is probably plenty enough! Well… We’ve already started prototyping a new game in a similar vain to Triple Agent that I’m pretty excited about.
PC: Are you a big board gamer? Do you have any favorites?
SG: Of course I’m a huge board gamer! I guess at the moment some of my favorites might be Hansa Teutonica, Dominion, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Tigris & Euphrates, and Mahjong Riichi.
PC: Aside from your own, do you have any favorite board game ports for Android or iOS?
SG: I like the Tigris & Euphrates one a lot. Torfi and I usually play a round at the airport on our way to conferences. I’ve also had great fun playing Pandemic, Lords of Waterdeep and Mahjong by Nutractor.