How the gaming company Coase, plans to launch a digital collectible card game on the Tezos blockchain and take advantage of blockchain technology to create a modern economic system containing a tournament, competitive system and marketplace.
TLDR: Coase is the gaming company comprised of the core team members, Kathleen Breitman, Zvi Mowshowitz, Brian David-Marshall, and Alan Comer. While the name of the digital collectible card game being built on the Tezos blockchain has yet to be decided, Coase seeks to tackle four key areas of weaknesses behind popular games such as Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone. Those key areas are a reduction in barriers of entry, becoming more watchable, implementing increased player interaction and lastly, being playable on a mobile device.
So, What is Coase?
There’s been a lot of misconception within the Tezos community, in relation to, Coase actually being the name of the digital collectible card game being built on the Tezos blockchain. This is not the case, rather Coase is the name of the gaming company formed by the core team members Kathleen Breitman, Zvi Mowshowitz, Brian David-Marshall, and Alan Comer. The actual name of the game has yet to be decided on, but in Kathleen Breitman and Zvi Mowshowitz’s latest interview on Tezonomics, it is expected to launch early 2020.
With some of this confusion and lack of there being a lot of public information on the card game being built by Coase, I decided to ask Kathleen Breitman a few questions, to which she provided some great insight into. Below are my questions for Kathleen and her provided responses following thereafter.
Looking at the list of core team members of Coase shows quite an impressive list. There is a Marvel Comics designer, a team member who has built AI engines for Pokémon and Magic: the Gathering, an MTG pro, and hall of fame member, and yourself as the Co-Founder of Tezos. How did you connect with all these people and create such a powerful core team?
Arthur has known Zvi for years and Zvi has spent most of his life ingratiated in the Magic community. This was his curated list of awesome designers.
As enumerated on in the concept paper, a game will fail if it isn’t “great” and people don’t enjoy it. With Coase, you are placing a lot of resources towards design to actually making the game enjoyable. How does Coase plan to address “deal-breaker issues” of games like Magic: The Gathering by reducing barriers of entry, becoming more watchable and implementing more player interaction?
An original turn order, a new resource system, and a design that optimizes for quick, mobile play. (Many strategy card games are derivative of physical mechanics; our design is digital-first).
What challenges do you foresee in terms of adoption with the digital collectible card game you are building?
Introducing markets into an app and eschewing the lottery-style, Skinner box tactics of free to play will be a monumental challenge in its own right.
As extrapolated on previously, the core team at Coase is more than impressive. While doing my research on all the team members, their backgrounds and experience suggest they have a lot to offer with the digital collectible card game they are building on the Tezos blockchain. Let’s do a quick rundown of this highly curated list of awesome designers and members.
Zvi Mowshowitz is a former Magic: The Gathering professional player, hall of fame member, columnist, and has held an R&D position in multiple games including MTG. In April 2006, Zvi decided to quit the R&D scene, a previous “dream job” of his, explained in greater depth on a column post. Additionally, the majority of core team members apart of Coase was curated from Zvi’s own personal connections in the gaming industry.
Brian David-Marshall was a founding partner of Malibu Comics in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Malibu Comics was later absorbed/bought out by Marvel Comics in the early 1990s. Brian has more than 20 years of experience in the comic and gaming industry at companies such as Marvel and Crusade. Brian is also the Chief Creative Officer of Coase.
Alan Comer serves as the Cheif Technical Officer (CTO) for Coase. Over the course of Alan’s career, he has built AI and rules engines for mainstream games such as Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering. Alan has over 20 years of experience building rules engines and digital games. One of Alan’s most recent association was being employed at Valve Games, the company behind the hit Left 4 Dead, Counterstrike, and Portal games. Valve has been reportedly worth “billions” and is considered one of the most successful gaming companies in the world.
While many in the Tezos community already know Kathleen, Kathleen Breitman is the Co-Founder of Tezos — a self-amending cryptographic ledger capable of amending itself through a formal on-chain governance process. Kathleen holds a degree from Cornell University and prior to Tezos, Kathleen was a senior strategy associate for R3, a blockchain consortium of more than 70 financial firms. She also worked at several major companies such as Accenture, Bridgewater Associates, and The Wall Street Journal.
What is Coase Trying to Solve?
After reading the concept paper, we can see the failure of games such as Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering to adapt and innovate in the economic and digital realms. At the core, building upon predecessors and other successful collectible card games, in the digital realm, Coase is seeking to address four key non-economic issues that can be learned from popular games such as Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering.
The four key issues Coase’s digital collectible card game they are building are trying to solve are the following.
- Reduction of non-economic barriers to entry.
- Becoming more watchable.
- Implementing increased player interaction.
- Becoming playable on a mobile device.
On the first point, it has been acclaimed MTG has been very poor at finding/onboarding new players to the game. This can be evident in the lack of quality tutorials for beginners wishing to learn more about the game — all of which is crucial to reducing barriers of entry.
Secondly, one can see from Magic: The Gathering, the lack of watchability. Since MTG is a complex game, watching Magic is a means to actually learn more about the game. For beginners, a lack of understanding of what is going on is a big problem with watchability, one which if properly solved could also reduce barriers of entry.
Thirdly, there needs to be increased player interaction without sacrificing or risking the game’s strategic depth. The game Eternal incorporates a reduction in how much the cards interact and includes a change to the interface to make interaction play smoother. Other games such as Hearthstone, however heavily limit player interaction. This is done through not allowing player choices or options during their opponent's turn. The cost of this instills the loss of the game’s strategic depth.
Lastly, in the era of 2019, where it’s estimated over 5 billion people in the world own a mobile device, a game needs to be playable on one.
Introduction of a New Marketplace System
At the forefront of Coase’s design, is the introduction of a marketplace system. This system will allow for the game to stand out and not have the cards strictly used for play. We’ve seen a few popular examples of how Non-Fungible tokens (NFT’s) like crypto kitties and land within decentraland functioned — creating a verifiable scarcity of a certain asset. In a similar fashion, Coase’s digital cards will not only be used for play in the game but also can be bought via an auction and marketplace system.
In this sense, the cards can also be investments, one which if the game garners enough adoption, could be worth something down the road. The beauty in this is that unlike traditional, physical cards that can be prone to damage, wear and tear, or being lost indefinitely — Coase’s game will allow for lasting collectibility. The concept paper extrapolates further on this and provides a few interesting examples.
Pay for each card once and then own it forever.
People can speculate on the future value of cards.
Players should be able to choose what cards they want for their deck, play their games, and have the game take care of all card management, buying and selling for them.
Players can offer cards for rent…
The aforementioned quotes taken from the concept paper are just a few of many examples. Additionally, another interesting segment is that the cards in Coase’s game will be designed to allow cards to adapt based on their accomplishments. The quote pulled from the concept paper below, explains this in greater detail.
Our cards will never begin their lives as premium offerings, beyond being able to purchase low-numbered cards in the initial auction. If you want your card to shine, win games with it. As the card and you prove their worth, the card will accumulate a record of its deeds, stored on the blockchain. When milestones are reached and triggered, the card can then optionally be modified to reflect those accomplishments, including gaining several levels of premium or shiny general look, and icons that reflect the particular accomplishments.
The usage of automation in the form of AI and/or bots will also be welcomed and introduced to the game.
We welcome players using our game as a way to make money, and even welcome the use of bots and other automation, but we want those profiting to do so in a way that enriches the experience of other players, rather than being disruptive.
Players will also be allowed to start their own tournaments and leagues with their own ideas and decisions being cast towards the format of those structures.
We will also allow players to set up their own tournaments, leagues and ladders, with their choice of formats, structures and prizes, and provide positive-sum prize support for them automatically, including credits towards major tournament qualification. The more popular formats and styles will then be integrated into our centrally organized play.
Lastly, the players will have a strong voice and be able to engage in voting “via proof of stake”.
Once markets exist for all cards, each crypto address and its associated player/owner will have a collection of cards that has a known quantity of each card, and a known XTZ value. All games played and accomplishments achieved are also recorded. Players will be given a voice in community decisions based on a combination of what they own and what they have accomplished, as appropriate to the current decision.
In summation, Coase seeks to develop a digital collectible card game that not only addresses the issues of their traditional predecessors but takes tradeable card games into the crypto era. Building upon the successes and setbacks of those before them, Coase seeks to introduce the design of new economic and competitive systems that greatly enhance player experience, while laying the groundwork for lasting collectability, including an auction and marketplace system that replaces contemporary distribution through randomized physical card packs.