What is it? An app designed as a hub for interactive tutorials so you can jump in to a game and learn to play without touching the rulebook.
Race to the North Pole is the first game on the app, a competitive take-that racing game.
The Deets: 2-4 players, 30-60 minutes
Designed by: Jouni Jussila, Tomi Vainikka
Published by: Foxgames (Poland), Playmore Games Inc. (Finnish Publisher)
One of the biggest growth hurdles the hobby has to face is that many people tend to shy away from new and unfamiliar things. Even some of the easiest games to teach and learn can look intimidating at first glance, because you just don’t know what any of those parts or graphics or icons represent. If you have an experienced gamer willing to read the rulebook and teach a game, that certainly clears out some of the obstacles, but what about people who might just want to pick up a brand new game they see at Barnes & Noble?
Enter Dized, a digital app for phones and tablets intended to provide a new way to learn games without having to study thick rulebooks. If all goes as planned, you’ll be able to use the app to jump straight into a brand new game without even opening the rulebook once.
Dized itself is intended to be a hub of interactive tutorials, and the interactive aspect is what really sets this apart. Sure, you can Watch It Played which explains the rules and shows you how it’s done, but if you have questions or need to stop and pace through it step by step, it’s a lot more tedious. A Dized tutorial will step you through the game turn by turn, letting you know what you need to do with graphics to showcase examples and allowing you to step through things at your own pace.
The creators are working with publishers to create licensed tutorials. Obviously, the more games on the platform, the better. It’s not going to help you much if you buy a new game and load up the app only to find there’s nothing for you.
It’s also planned that the app will be free to users, and they’ll make money by licensing their tutorial platform to publishers to get their game a nice high quality tutorial.
Right now Dized has just one tutorial for the game Race to the North Pole. This game was at least partially created to showcase the potential of the app. When we sat down for a demo, the guy simply started up the app for us and sat back and watched, and the tutorial got us going. It was interesting, because it didn’t just throw all the rules at you – it took us through a few turns, gradually introducing new rules. It admitted there would be things you could do if you already knew the game, but first plays of any game are usually skewed. The idea is that you learn the game quickly by playing, and the next time around you’ll have the full suite of rules.
Race for the North Pole is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You have a team of arctic explorers trying to be the first to reach the north pole, but you can’t just head straight there. The paths are winding, and you’ve got the other teams to contend with who may try to sabotage you. And then there are the storms, which force you to rotate the board – a large, two-piece dial – which changes up the paths via transparent sections of the top layer, and moves your set of action cards. It’ll keep you on your toes for sure.
It’ll be interesting to see if Dized catches on. Even as a more hardcore gamer, I could see using the app to teach myself games before introducing them to my group – or, if I get my hands on a new game and don’t have time to learn it, giving the tutorials a run. It all depends on the app gaining traction with publishers, though, and I guess we’ll see in a few months if that starts to pan out.