Bela Online

👉 What is Bela Online

There is no easy way to play the Croatian version of the game Belote online. With the start of the pandemic in 2020, me and my friends just wanted to play the game. The whole country then went into a lockdown, and there was no easy way to do so. There are some alternatives but all of them lack simplicity and support for phone screens.

We helped people playing in person by creating the Bela Blok, but now it was time to help the players that were locked inside their homes. We wanted to finally create a proper phone version of the game.

🥳 The Team

The second project created by a team of 3 young developers with hopefully many more to come! We started as a group of friends wanting to just build cool stuff that (hopefully) people will love. This is our website, and here you can buy us a coffee.

💖 The Game

There’s many online multiplayer card games, and now add one more to that list! It was challenging to build intuitive UI, allow players to easily connect with each other, and support web, iOS, and Android devices.
Gameplay screenshot
Bots in room screen

Bots

We designed bots that follow seemingly simple set of heuristics to play the game. They are constantly being worked on. Currently, we’re working on making them smarter with MTS. This way, if you want to keep it casual, or are missing a person to start playing, you can always add bots.

Public & Private Rooms

The game can be played with strangers online, or with friends that join room with a password. This was not the case at launch and players could only play in rooms they created or their friends told them to join.

App home screen
Redesigned cards in action

Redesigned cards

Belote is traditionally played with Hungarian playing cards. Players are used to them, but they not as scaleable as standard French playing cards. For that reason, I redesigned them for smaller phone screens while keeping all the characteristics of the original cards.

🚀 Launch

For spreading the word about our app we had two plans. On one fo them we spent months, and on the other one we spent a few minutes. Guess which one was more successful.

Instagram

The initial idea was to build a small community of passionate players of the game. We decided to do it on Instagram. We posted memes related to the game and to the culture. The page slowly grew and at the time of the launch had around 800 followers. It was a lot of work coming up with interesting posts almost daily and we wanted to quit on manny occasions. I would love to say that it was all worth it in the end.

On the day of the launch, we created a post. It got 120 likes and reached a little more than 1000 people. The app download link was clicked ~300 times because of the post.

It’s not all doom and gloom since we still have a passionate community of players interested in the game and in it’s development. However, as far as the app launch goes, it wasn’t what we expected it to be.

Reddit

One of the following days we posted our app on r/croatia. The post was an immediate success. Because of the post, download link was clicked more than 1000 times in the first hour and made game reach the first place in card games on Croatian App Store for a few days.

Ever since the first post on r/croatia, the game has consistently been in the top 20 card games on the App Store. We posted a few times since for major app updates and were given a whole bunch of karma in return. 🥳

📈 Some Cool Stats

  • There are around 1000 daily active players
  • The game has been downloaded 10 000+ times (App Store + Google Play + Huawei App Gallery)
  • There are currently 15 000+ users registered in the game
  • More than 250 000 matches have been played
  • There are around 4 000 matches played daily

🔜 Up next

We’re working on making it even easier to play with new people. The game is also missing sound, which is coming in the next update.

⏬ Download links

🍏 iOS Version
🤖 Android Version
😎 Huawei Version
🌎 Web Version

You can also buy as a coffee here:

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