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Interview: Mandala - The Game of Life’s creators discuss their innovative board game adaptation

Interview: Mandala - The Game of Life’s creators discuss their innovative board game adaptation

Earlier this week, Mandala - The Game of Life, one of the most successful board games of the past 40 years,received a digital makeover for mobile devices.

When it first launched in 1982, Mandala introduced one of the most innovative concepts to how a board game could be played by jointly using the board and dice to determine player moves. Nearly four decades later, this innovation still holds up so well that very little has had to change for the digital incarnation. The game still poses its unique challenge of balancing random chance with player strategy.

We spoke with the Mandala’s creators to learn more about what went into creating this faithful adaptation.

What do you think Mandala offers that you can’t get from any other title on the app stores?

The board game mechanic of Mandala is completely unique and no other mobile board game features this style of game control, movement and rules. This mechanism is what made the original 1980's board game such a huge success. We have created a very exiting playing environment by designing a unique setting for the Realm of the board as well as adding Atmospheric Sounds that are in 432hz, the natural frequency of the earth. (Provided by the amazing Phil Strickland @anaamalyzenmusic -

What are the most significant changes you've brought to the digital version of Mandala?

The way we have adapted the controls for mobile makes for a much easier player experience. Thus controlling the rings, selecting the dice and automatically moving your pawns are all taken care of by the mobile experience. With additions to this we have turned the original playing items (plastic dots) into much more personable elements Like Characters and Pawns all originated from elements we find in the real world. EARTH, WIND, FIRE, WATER, SPIRIT, TURQUOISE, AQUAMARINE, OBSIDIAN, CITRENE and CARNELIAN (more to come)

What was the biggest challenge you faced during development, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was most definitely finding a way to cater for a wide range of player types. Players whom like to play short games and others whom will sit and relax for hours. We achieved this by adding 4 things.

  • Allowing players to set their game WIN score. Starting with 2 points to win up to 10 points
  • Creating Three different board difficulties. The harder your difficulty setting the more segments there are to navigate your way through to score points and snipe other character pawns.
  • Three game modes.
  1. Single player (against some low intelligent bots)
  2. Local Multiplayer (allowing up to 4 players to pass the phone/tablet around and play. This mode is much like an real board game feel)
  3. Online Multiplayer - Play with up to 3 other players online.
How has player reaction to the game been so far?

Through our social media campaign we have been very lucky to have grown a community that have been extremely willing to play our ALPHA and BETA versions and feedback to us on gameplay and experience. Most players where instantly grabbed by the characters in the game and their purpose. We have had two great reviews on the BETA by and, both highlighting the depth of the game. Through our analytics we have recorded really good avg game time and great in game engagement with the characters and pawns.

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Do you have anything planned in terms of future updates?

We are in the process of finalising 2 more characters and 4 more pawns. We have also expanded the reward experience with better shop offerings, in game achievements and leaderboards. These updates will be available soon after release. A discovery service for online multiplayer is also being planned.

Luke Frater
Luke Frater
Considered the most likely member of Pocket Gamer's staff to be mistaken for Daredevil, Luke's role of managing sponsored content isn't nearly as glamorous or heroic as the actions of his superhero doppelganger, but he's still a hero to us.