Developing an Ethical Free-2-Play Game Economy on Blockchain : CryptoCurrency


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City States: Medieval is an empire building strategy game in development for Android, iOS, Desktop and Browser, utilizing the Stellar Networks integrated SDEX to build the first transparent game economy on a public ledger. Original post on Medium.

The basic gameplay of CS:M is similar to most other mobile empire building games. You build different buildings that gather or produce resources that you use to build more or level up existing buildings. You then have production buildings that can enhance resources or craft new goods which are again used to level up or equip units with. The big difference is the high Pay-2-Win factor most of these other games have. Without spending a lot of real world currency, you soon run into paywalls where you have to grind for days to advance only little.

Buildings used in City States: Medieval

Obviously the developers of these kind of games are happy the more players spend on the game. It is designed this way to encourage maximum spending, often manipulating players to spend more by gating content. The question we asked ourselves was: How can we turn this into a better game-experience for everyone?

Greed is the reason why such game-mechanics exist. What if we replace the developers as the sole receiver of real money spent in the game with the community at large? The ‘dreaded whales’ that spend to advance faster or to just pick up to players that have more free time to play could enhance the gameplay for everyone.

Buildings used in City States: Medieval

Markets in games often use arbitrary numbers fixed by the devs. There is no real exchange of goods but simply a swap in the database. With CS:M we are exploring the option to run the exchange of all in-game items on the immutable public ledger of the Stellar Network. The integrated exchange (SDEX) enables us to create a real economy that responds to supply and demand of in-game resources and goods.

All tradeable items and the in-game currency HEX are issued as assets on the SDEX. This provides transparency since all transactions can be followed by everyone. You don’t have to trust the developer because everything is open in plain sight.


A player buys HEX worth $10 from the shop, then uses the HEX to buy other resources like Wood, Stone etc. As a result, the demand and therefor the price of these resources goes up. Due to the purchase, the supply for HEX also goes up which lowers the value of HEX temporarily. When we receive the fiat money (USD, EUR etc) the player spent, we start to buy back HEX from the market to even out demand and supply again.

The rise in value may encourage other players to exchange their resources for HEX and ultimately cash out to fiat currency. Over time this will balance out in a price range where it is still affordable to spend real money for one side and still profitable enough to cash out for the other.

Screenshot of very early build with placeholders.

Balancing supply and demand will be the most challenging for us. We expect to adjust output of buildings and requirements to level up throughout the whole games life but especially in the beginning.

To deter farming accounts, cheater and hacks there will be several restrictions on paying out. Only active players are eligible to get paid and every gamelog will be inspected before approval. Accounts found to be cheating or set up solely to farm resources in order to sell will be banned.

We are raising only $15,000 in an equity token sale to secure financing of the development. Own a share of this games future profit with an investment of only $50. More info here.

If this is a game you may be interested in don’t forget to join /r/citystates and follow us on social media (check sidebar on our website) to keep up to date with development and information.

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