February 28, 2017

Block Mafia

Project: Consumer Mobile Application, built using appcelerator

Target User: Anyone, but a focus on young gamers interested in augmented reality

Goal: Create a mobile version of monopoly where the world is the board and we are the pieces.

Role: UX, Visual Design, Web developer, Product Management, Pitch Man

Block Mafia was, in my humble opinion, one of the coolest hackathon projects ever to grace a hackathon. Our goal: bring the classic board game of monopoly into the real world.

StartupBus is a hackathon on a bus. I’d ridden twice before, and this go around, I wanted to work on something fun and frivolous, but that would challenge my skills as a UX designer. I partnered up with my old buddy Justin Davis at Madera Labs, a fellow UX designer and full stack hacker, and we got to work.

We ended up hacking together a prototype where you could use foursquare’s API to buy any location in the world. The valuation of a property was based on a multiple of the number of checkins. Using location services, when someone walked by a building you owned, they’d be taxed “dough” – the digital currency we designed. Justin worked out some complicated seek-it equations with help from our “phone the friend who happens to be a rocket scientist” while I designed the flow of the app.

We then realized, aside from just buying property and taxing your friends, we needed a way for real estate to change hands. So, if you didn’t like being taxed, you could challenge a properties owner to a “thumb war”, which we designed as an asynchronous tap off mini-game. Whomever tapped the most either lost their property, or got to keep it.

While we didn’t win the hackathon, we had a blast building it, and perhaps some day it will be released to the world.