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Tabletop R&D

Tabletop R&D is a Queen Mary University of London spin out aiming to bring
decades of research on Computational Intelligence to Tabletop Board Game Design

Our Goal

We want to help board game designers create better games, faster. Our tools will contribute to different stages of game development, providing additional insights to your play-testing processes and helping you create robust and balanced games.

How do we do it?

We create digital twins of board games that allow us to simulate thousands of games in a matter of minutes. We use Computational Intelligence to analyse simulation results and provide you with statistical insights into your game. We can quickly accommodate changes in game design and provide you with updated reports.

What is in it for you?

As a designer, developer, or publisher, you may get custom answers to questions you have about your game, such as evaluation of different strategies, game balance, frequency and types of actions played, victory conditions triggered most often, etc. Check out our current projects to get an idea of what we can do for you.

Responsible Insights

Our automatic methods do not use any data extracted from human play, nor data pulled from public domains. They are also easy to integrate with the current game development process as supplemental tools, and not as a replacement of human labour.

About Us

Tabletop R&D is a new company that offers game designers automatic testing services, via the creation of digital versions of tabletop games. We automatically play games thousands of times and extract in-depth gameplay statistics, to answer broad or specific design questions (such as balanced board setups, winning conditions triggering most/least, the estimated power of individual cards etc.). As a supplemental tool for the game development process, we hope to help developers find solid designs that meet their expectations, so human playtesting time can be used most efficiently to determine subjective aspects such as look and feel, fun and engagement.

Events and News

We will be at UK Games Expo 2024! We will show a demo of our platform for automatically testing tabletop games and first look at our latest work and case studies. We look forward to meeting you at stand 1-654. Get in touch if you'd like to set up a meeting to discuss our services!

Book a meeting at UKGE24

We organized a board game playtesting event at Queen Mary University of London on February 17th 2024, and a Game AI Meetup in the evening of February 16th 2024. More information here.

We were at Essen Spiel 2023! We showed a demo of our platform for automatically testing tabletop games. Thank you to all who stopped by booth 4E128. Get in touch if you'd like to set up a meeting to discuss our services!

We were at UK Games Expo 2023! We showed a demo of our work for the first time, with our platform for automatically testing tabletop games. Thank you to all who stopped by stand 2-1069 and shared enthusiasm for what we do!


'’Tabletop R&D has carved an impressive niche for itself by specializing in AI-assisted game testing, which will most certainly be the way of the future. They went above and beyond with their analysis by not only providing an easy-to-follow report document, but also a fully playable web-based app. Their report helped us pinpoint issues with scoring at higher player counts, and this would have been much more difficult to catch in traditional tabletop testing. I wholeheartedly recommend this service.’’ - Charlie Bink, Game Director (Underdog Games)

'’The service from Tabletop R&D was incredibly helpful when. helping us spot patterns of play and dominant strategies. The team were very thorough, explained everything well and it’s certainly helped us to improve the game. We would definitely use the service again in the future, and recommend it to others.’’ - Mark Cooke, CEO (Bright Eye Games)

Case Studies

Bringing automatic testing tools to Tabletop Game Design.

Bigger Fish (Underdog Games, In development 2024)

Bigger Fish is a fast playing, press your luck card game for 2-5 players. You will flip cards from a deck with the goal of collecting as many fish as you can to add to your buckets. When the moment is right, you will attempt to score points from the fish you’ve collected in your buckets. The first player to score 10 points wins! (In a 2 player game, the first to 15 points wins.)

Sirius Smugglers (Alan Wallat, In development 2023)

Sirius Smugglers takes place over multiple rounds. At the beginning of each round, play is simultaneous – players secretly pick a Location Card from their hand and place it face-down. This is where they will land their Cargo-Ship. Only when everyone has finished deciding, do all players reveal their choice simultaneously by flipping their Location Card face-up. Actions are then performed in order of players’ Ranking and determined by where they have landed. For example: loading cargo, selling cargo, paying or betraying your Crew, etc.

Violet and the Grumpy Nisse (Pedro Pereira, 2022)

Violet and the Grumpy Nisse is an asymmetric 2-player trick-taking game: Violet and Torech. Each turn, one player plays a card, the other responds with another card and players compare the cards to determine who won the turn. Multiple things can happen: Violet progresses her journey, her lantern loses fuel, her fear increases, Torech uses his traps. The game ends with a win for Violet if she reaches the end of her Journey. Torech wins, if Violet's lantern runs out of fuel, or if her fear sneaks up on her before she gets to Ordep (kickstarter).

Puerto Rico (Andreas Seyfarth, 2002)

In Puerto Rico, players assume the roles of colonial governors on the island of Puerto Rico. The aim of the game is to amass victory points by shipping goods to Europe or by constructing buildings (BBG).


Raluca D. Gaina

Founder, Director, Technical Manager

Diego Perez Liebana

Founder, Director, Project Manager

James Goodman

Research Associate

Damien Anderson

Software Developer

Martin Balla

Research Associate

Contact Us

Email us using the contact form below. Mail address: Queen Mary Enterprise Zone, Walden St, London E1 2EF, United Kingdom