Predictions on Clash Mini (Autochess) BEFORE SOFT LAUNCH

Supercell just announced that their autochess Clash Mini will be starting their softlaunch on November 8th (next Monday). And before I end up crafting a deconstruction (which I very likely will), I wanted to take a game design challenge.

Based on my article which analyzed the status and mechanics of the Auto Chess genre and the pics that I took from the original trailer, I have some ideas of what the gameplay is going to be.

So here are my gameplay predictions. Let’s check on Monday how many I got right:

1/ Combat will be simplified and more exposed than on other autochess games. Gameplay will be more based on movement patterns of different minis and physical effects on the board (push, unit movement, path blocking…) than on similar games.

2/ Units will have rank-up mechanics during battle, but not synergies. Or synergies will be significantly different than in other games, not based on factions. Maybe they just happen naturally based on the behaviors of the units.

3/ Minis will be unlocked & upgraded, and players will play with their own collections or maybe combine their collections into a single pool. I also think that players play with a selection of minis, rather than with the full collection.

4/ There will be powerups on the field which will alter the behavior or aggro of units (like the meat in the pic), and they’ll be key to “redirect” formations of units.

Final Thoughts: I am Bullish

As an autochess lover, I’m obviously biased by this one. But I see a good opportunity:

  • None of the games of the genre are in their best moment: Auto Chess: Origins is nowhere near the numbers it made in 2019, DOTA Underlords haven’t been updated in more than 5 months, TFT is stable but getting just a tiny fraction of the downloads that it got on launch…
  • Most games within the genre are extremely similar, pointing out that the genre is ripe for disruption. A new, fresh proposal could both attract disengaged fans of the genre, or introduce it to new audiences.
  • Most of the big titles in the genre have a cosmetics only approach to monetization. This may mean that none have tapped on the actual money-making potential of Auto Chess in terms of monetizing power progression or collection.

Based on what we have seen so far, Clash Mini will be tackling the issues of accessibility, and being Supercell they’ll have no fear integrating F2P monetization mechanics, and SC has also significant experience with competitive games. This could work.

The biggest challenge that I see is if it’ll perhaps be too casual. After all, one of the hardest things in games to achieve is to build a deep game for the masses
In its effort to make mechanics more manageable, games often remove the magic ingredient that generates depth and engagement.

I’m looking forward test Clash Mini on Monday.

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