Designing for Mobile: The Roulette Board

The gameboard is central to every casino game but it can feel like an added complication to a straightforward experience. For instance, the dice game craps has an intimidating amount of text written on the felt. There’s Pass and Don’t Pass, Come and Don’t Come, and a wide array of numbers that could mean anything. Of course, they do all mean something but not everybody waits around long enough to find out.

The roulette table is similar, although, it’s much easier to understand at first glance. The numbers 0-36 represent all the pockets on the wheel where the ball can land, while terms such as red/black, odd/even, and high/low speak for themselves. Players can also bet on the first, second, or third dozen, a wager that has a lower chance of winning than something like red/black but comes with a better payout.

It’s possible to categorize these bets by separating them into outside and inside bets. Inside bets involve the individual numbers and sit in the center of the gameboard while outside bets are the wagers that have a nearly 50/50 shot of succeeding, such as red or black. In general, inside bets are more likely to be high-risk, high-reward wagers and may require a bit of strategizing to be worthwhile.

Overall, that’s a lot of stuff for players to take in so creating a mobile experience that’s both functional and informative has always been a bit of a challenge. The issue facing developers is that modern roulette is such a vast and varied thing, something which The Hippodrome Casino describes as making “the world all the more colorful”. The site carries American, European, and Lightning Roulette. 

Live Roulette

The Hippodrome Online Casino also has live roulette, which is a different thing altogether. The operator broadcasts imagery of croupiers from its physical premises in Leicester Square, London, so that people playing online can enjoy the land-based casino experience without actually leaving their house. The gameplay is identical to that of a standard game but the wheel is spun by a person instead of a computer.

All this complexity means that, while casino gamers are benefitting from increasingly fast phones and broadband speeds, the demand on creators is growing, as well. Content has to be more featureful and responsive, and the simplicity of roulette isn’t a reason to skimp on design. So, while the onus used to be on developers to get everything on one screen, there’s a feeling that the user experience is now a critical consideration. 

You’re much more likely today to find the roulette wheel and gameboard on two different screens. While this can break the players’ immersion somewhat, it nevertheless produces a much more usable app. The gameboard is infinitely more readable when it’s not competing for space with the wheel, and graphics can be much larger and more detailed. Again, though, this does place a greater burden on developers.

Much like other casino games, roulette has been the subject of a lot of experimentation over the years, despite the fact that the core gameplay hasn’t changed. Melding novelty and usability continues to be an important part of any designer’s job, though.

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