Discovering the new casualino game

Hi George could you please introduce yourself ?

Hi Olivier, thank you for the opportunity!

I’m George Boychev, my primary role is head of products at Casualino. 

I joined the company in 2016 as a marketing/ seo/ community manager. But now, I’m mainly responsible mainly for product development, monetization and partnerships. 

This includes game and feature design, research and analysis of different markets and cultures, a lot of data analysis on either monetization, balance or AB testing and last but not least partner relationships with both publishers and vendors. 

You launched a new game in February could you please tell more ?

Yes, we did. Our main business is launching html5 games on a social platform, tailored to a specific market. 

This time, after a bit more than a year of development, we’ve launched a game on Unity in a very new approach for us. 

We’ve been “going against the grain” when it comes to the app stores and this time we decided to do a flashy and competitive global game – Domino. 

Why have you chosen that game “Domino” ?

We had a set of very specific targets we wanted to fit 

  • Global game with big presence in USA (to serve as main monetization market)
  • T2-3-4 market that play the same game and we can target for UI as “content” 
  • Both casual fun and hardcore community 
  • To be played mainly as a team game 
  • Short and customizable play sessions in terms of game end rules

Domino just makes sense, it fits all of the above – global game with strong presence in both US and LATAM, has both casual and ultra competitive players, can be played “to” less points and has both modes and team/solo setups. 

This allows us to explore a few verticals and cater to a larger audience – either casual quick games or a more tournament style approach.  

What was the main challenges you faced ?

Not knowing the market was the biggest – both culturally and in terms of metrics. We are covering 10+ markets, but they’re mainly in EU, MENA and US, LATAM was a bit wild to us. 

From a technical standpoint, moving from HTML5 to unity was a big one. We wanted to reuse as much as possible so we had to “discover” and develop a lot before we placed the first tile on a board. 

Last but not least, the competition is a big one. There are some very good casual domino games both multi and single player (cough loop cough), so we had to deconstruct a bit to help us with our launch feature selection and potential growth paths. 

You did amazing tests and market researches before launching the game : Could you please detailed a bit ?

Sure, the first step was to research a lot of organizations and tournament organizers. Watched many tournaments and looked specifically for rule changes between countries.

After that, to get a better idea, we reviewed the top 100 domino apps, ranked in all LATAM countries and recorded main mode, store listing localizations, screenshot details, orientation, tap or drag to play, monetization model, special features, games modes etc. Turns out, everyone calls the game “domino” but everyone also expects different rules. People in Colombia have no clue what “block” and “draw” is, they just know “domino”.  

We also had a few discussions with a few Colombian girls that just happened to have moved to Varna a few years ago – we played a lot of domino in the office with them. We focused more on the experience of live domino – when do you play, how do you position your tiles, how fast do you play, how do you mix the tiles etc. 

After that, we started experimenting with the theme and name. We had a couple of ideas that we gathered feedback for, mainly from PickFu – shared a video, asked questions, prepared names and asked 200 targeted respondents about their opinion and feeling for the game. This helped us flesh out our Mascot and pick a more appropriate name. (The working title was ReyDomino, it was at the bottom of pick list by people, but Domino Duel was at the top)

We’re now mainly testing with creatives and UA – do people prefer red or green backgrounds, dark or white tiles etc. Many of the future changes are based on data from performance marketing tests as this helps us both create a more coherent experience from ad to install and also impression to click to install is a very good indicator of player preference. 

What was the users feedback ?

The most important battle was the name, in summary – 3 people picked Domino Rey as it’s a spanish word, 44 chose Domino Arena (arena means “sand” in spanish), 58 chose Domino Island (but there already is an app with that name and strong brand in Indonesia) and a cool 83 ranked Domino Duel as best name because they associate it with pirates and sounds like a challenge (pvp is implied). It also rolls well off the tongue 🙂

At the end what have you learned from the launch ?

 We’re usually launching 1-2 social platforms per year – either self published or through partners, but with a new product and technology, for a new market, it was definitely an interesting experience. We were not launching the “massive platform with a bunch of features”, careful planning and detailed researches are very key to launching a product you can actually grow, instead of “figuring out what’s wrong” 

Personally what is your best score on the game ?

I personally prefer all-fives, my most recent highest score was 105 in a 75-point game 🙂 

And if you only have to keep one game on a desert island what it will be ?

A deck of cards for sure 🙂



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