Autochesses are very complex games with a huge entry barrier because both playing and improving requires a much deeper intellectual effort than other competitive games that focus primarily on dexterity and execution:
- The core gameplay is based on analyzing ongoing battles to extract insights about their team. And then navigate through multiple layers of complex stats to make decisions about the team composition within the time between battles.
- Top layers of mastery are based on deducing what teams the other players are building, in order to anticipate defenses, deny them key units to their setup by claiming them first from the shared unit recruitment pool, and identifying which team setups are not viable anymore because the opponents already own the key pieces.
Combine this with the fact that a single match can take up to +40 minutes, and it’s obvious why currently it’s a genre suited exclusively to a niche segment of ultra-hardcore players and hasn’t been able to make a dent on mobile (at least in the West).
As a consequence, autochess has remained as a niche concept that hinted at a strong potential but that nobody has been able to find a way to turn into a profitable product ready for mass adoption (at least in the West).
This makes it an obvious target for Supercell, a company whose trademark is to build deep games for the masses, and which already has experience in competitive autobattlers thanks to Clash Royale.
Clash Mini: A vision of how future Supercell games will be like
The ultimate product of this opportunity, Clash Mini, it’s a game with some virtues and a few big flaws, which are explored in-depth in the Deconstructor of Fun article that we’ve just released.
But regardless of its gameplay specifics, their past experience has translated into several innovations on the core Supercell formula, including a content reset system (!!!).
I believe that this hints where Brawl Stars and Clash Royale are going to go in the future (or would like to go), and I assume it will become the new standard progression model for future mid-core games from Supercell.
I invite you to check out the article I co-wrote at DoF with the lords of the board synergies Krishna Israney and Hadrian Semroud to learn more about those changes and get our two cents on if this will become a billion-dollar hit:
PS. The article comes together with a podcast for those that don’t like to read.