How we helped to successfully digitize a card game for a wider audience

Case: Topaasia

Topaasia is gamified facilitation platform for participatory discussions to develop teams and organization’s important themes easily and effectively. We participated in the the project for digitizing the game for better scalability.

Case Topaasia: Key image

At Kodan, we’re passionate about modern web development and user interface design. We also love building awesome applications that offer meaningful experiences for the user. Add to that our keen eye for detail and enthusiasm for experimentation, and it’s easy to see why we were so excited to be asked to digitize a popular team-building game, Topaasia. Gälliwashere, the game’s creator, also wanted to make use of our love and experience of creative design and building infrastructures. We were happy to oblige.

Our challenge was to change the format so the game could be played in digital environments and remotely, via conferencing and video call solutions. Digitizing the format also meant changing the old school business model from a one time purchase of traditional playing cards, to a monthly digital subscription that would allow regular updates. Teaming up with the software development company Vincit, our designer Ville Yli-Knuutila was tasked with designing the format.

Creating the digital version through a user-driven process

We wanted to know what the game was all about, so we monitored some players, and then had hours of good times by playing the game ourselves. But the fun didn’t end there. We then created the wireframes and developed the style guides and visual components for the new format.


Once we were happy with that, we designed and played around with several prototypes of the game which were tested with customers, until we had a product that was technically advanced, user-friendly and visually pleasing for the player.

We followed the agile method throughout, and finished the development side of the task in two-week sprints. Throughout the journey, our designer Ville worked closely with Gälliwashere who provided consistent feedback on our work, allowing us to experiment some more to develop the best possible version of their much-loved game.

Interviewing HR professionals and identifying future changes

Digital formats tend to create lots of helpful data, and we also wanted to know what data was useful to HR professionals, so we tested some dashboard prototypes with them as the project proceeded.

This gave us an understanding of customer needs regarding game playing data in their organisation, which helped us gauge the response to the new format. We also identified aspects of the game that users would need help on in the future, to ensure that the digital Topaasia game would be just as fun and easy to use as the traditional format.

Retaining old customers while attracting a new demographic

The first MVP version of the game was finished and it was tested and sold to a selected group of people. According to the customer’s wishes, the current game is a hybrid of the old physical and the new digital format, with a special emphasis on the remote player feature. Chatting with a real-world audience allows us to identify well-perceived aspects of the game and any future development that is required.

Changing the format of a successful game was a risk, as the game had already received excellent feedback. But you can only win big by taking risks. By working closely with Gälliwashere, and listening to the needs of the customer throughout the creative and technical process, we were, however, able to retain the love of existing customers, while creating a modern format for a wider audience. In short, everyone was a winner.

All our customers have given excellent feedback about the user interface and we couldn’t be happier with the end result.
— Jussi Galla, Gälliwashere

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