Successful launch. The crowdfunding campaign for “Houston, we have a Dolphin” by Hybr, the makers of Soviet Kitchen, runs until July 28th, but has already been successfully funded. Just in time for Christmas, the hybrid card game with the unusual theme should also be available through German retailers. If successful, however, the founders may have more plans for their new game.

Hybr has already raised around 14.000 euros through Kickstarter for “Houston, we have a Dolphin”; the young Dresden start-up had targeted a sum of 9.500 euros. The hybrid card game, which requires the use of a smartphone app, has thus had a successful launch. Although the game should also be available in German retail outlets, supporters of the crowdfunding campaign will be able to get started as early as November.

Dolphins as an alternative to pigs in space

The setting: crazy. The technology: innovative. The presentation: Spacy. “Houston, we have a Dolphin” seems to be an unusual card game in several ways. The makers remain true to the line they followed with the Hybrid game Soviet Kitchen have started to pull. “HwhaD!”, The affectionate abbreviation of the card game title, is no less innovative. An app is used again, but there are some clear differences compared to Soviet Kitchen, as the creative minds at Hybr confirm: “Our goal was to create a social deduction game that was fun for 3-5 players brings. It was clear to us early on that an app would be required to support this. It wasn't until later that we could already use the image recognition algorithm so well in this game ”.

Their new project is “very close to their hearts”, of course it is. A little proud, they declare that they let off steam with the story, topic and illustrations. You can tell in the card game: Everything is colorful, weird, idiosyncratic - in the end presented in such a way that “Houston, we have a Dolphin” is an eye-catcher that attracts attention without having played the game or dealt with the technology behind it. You could say the hybrid broke the boundaries between time and space. Or to put it another way: It's an adventure into unknown worlds. The makers describe it soberly: “With HwhaD! we wanted to create a more challenging game and show that HYBR is not limited to a certain game genre ”.

It is "HwhaD!" a card game, but there is still a little more around it. Photo: Hybr

It is “HwhaD!” a card game, but there is still a little more around it. Photo: Hybr

The idea is initially simple: three to five players take part, each steering a team of astronauts with different skills. The otherwise rather cute dolphins are the insidious, defective elements in this game. While the crew tries to repair the shipwrecked space car, they are threatened with sabotage - by those potentially dangerous space dolphins.

Although “Houston, we have a Dolphin” also uses an app, as does the premiere work Soviet Kitchen, the game idea is completely different, the mechanics anyway. “Soviet Kitchen is a cooperative card game, with shuffling colors as the main game mechanic and poison management through card values ​​as a secondary scene. HwhaD, on the other hand, is a social deduction game, a game with hidden roles and a “traitor” in the playgroup. So it is only semi-cooperative. Then there is the deduction of the card combination and analysis of the possible events ”, explain the young founders.

Hwhad! is more complex than Soviet Kitchen and requires some brooding and cheating.

An innovation that players themselves will probably hardly notice is hidden on the technological level of the hybrid card game: “In contrast to Soviet Kitchen, the HwhaD app does not use any codes to scan the cards,” explain the Dresden-based company. “Instead, it uses an image recognition algorithm developed in-house. This means that the cards can now also be easily scanned in a concealed manner - without annoying codes on the front of the card. In Houston, the app takes on the role of the game master in the form of the on-board computer. While the innovative use of colors at Soviet Kitchen already brought new game mechanics, it is now used as an omniscient black box. " The app gives dosed information so that players have to reconstruct the events themselves. The concept behind it is still new, probably even ingenious. "We are very happy that developer Jonas Kopcsek has already been able to optimize the algorithm to such an extent that it can be used wonderfully in the game," say the makers behind the card game about their technology fox.

In this hybrid card game, the app proves to be much more than just a “hub” from which a game is started - it is an omnipresent means of managing knowledge without directly passing it on to the players in full.

Pizza mafia wasn't quirky enough

The young founders believe that their new work is more atmospheric than Soviet Kitchen. There are video sequences, background music and sound effects as well as an animated game explanation - the app teaches players how the title works. The fact that Hybr relies on an enormously unusual setting this time contributes to the atmosphere. However, the basic idea initially looked far less creative: It was supposed to become a mafia topic first. “The mafia in Palermo is trying to rob pizzerias,” summarize the founders. In the end, the idea was too classic for them, instead dolphins should judge it in space. She was attracted by the space setting, Douglas Adams “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” took care of the rest - in addition, dolphins somehow had to be on board.

The app does not read cards with barcodes, but with image recognition. Photo: Hybr

The app does not read cards with barcodes, but with image recognition. Photo: Hybr

With their new card game, Hybr wants to rethink “Social Deduction”. It was clear to them early on that such a concept should work with just a few players, but without having to lose any of its complexity. “During the design process, it emerged that this game has to benefit from a certain complexity so that there is a complexity even with only three players. On the other hand, we wanted to create a game that, thanks to the app, can be played without a rulebook. These two claims are not easy to reconcile, and it took us a lot of brainpower to find a reasonable middle ground here. " So there is a clever idea behind the concept with the app.

“Houston, we have a Dolphin” as a card game for around 26 euros is not a bargain, but it is not overpriced either. Those who support the game should have long-term enjoyment, predict the makers: “Hwhad, contains more than just cards. A game board and tokens are also needed to play - that makes it a board game. There is also the app. A big part in product development and of course also a cost factor. But it also enables incredible game variance and thus a high replay value. "

Would you like to see more?

Additional content for the basic game is already available: “The first expansion“ Houston, we have a Dolphin! Cyborg Heroes “will appear in store at the same time as the base game is released,” said Hybr. By decoupling individual hero skills, both casual gamers and frequent gamers are to be addressed, the latter are not infrequently demanding when it comes to “Social Deduction”, as the makers of “Houston, we have a Dolphin” know.

The first mini-expansion is already taking place as part of the crowdfunding campaign. Photo: Hybr

The first mini-expansion is already taking place as part of the crowdfunding campaign. Photo: Hybr

Anyone who cannot do anything with social inference games, but has heard of games like “Werewolves from Mirkwood”, published in Germany by Asmodee, can draw a comparison. If you like the werewolves concept, you will be satisfied with the Dolphin base game, says Hybr. "Anyone who has already had experience with The Resistance: Avalon, Secret Hitler or Human Punishment will thank you for the variability through our mini-expansion," say the makers.

The card game “Houston, we have a Dolphin” could, however, be enriched with additional content in the future: “Depending on the response from the players, we will be happy to work on expansions,” confirm the makers. There are already initial ideas in this regard. Maybe the spaceship will “pick up a hitchhiker” one day. However, there should be no in-app purchases, i.e. microtransactions. Extension to the hybrid card game would therefore be predominantly physical in nature. Gradually unlockable gimmicks are currently providing variety: for example, alternative soundtracks or new playing cards that are automatically added to the setup.

Information on the crowdfunding campaign is available here.. There is also the opportunity to support the card game.

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