Introducing Duper

Introducing Duper

Today, we’re excited to introduce Duper, a new onchain real-money social war game created in-house at Curio. As you’re reading, Duper is officially in Alpha.

The Vision

We founded Curio on the belief that unlocking emergent social dynamics is the key value-add of crypto games. Duper is our first step towards upending the status quo. 

Our goal for Duper, the core game, is to become the best digital-native skill-based wagering game. The most enduring skill-based wagering games today, Poker and Mahjong, were created decades ago, long before video games existed. Duper is the best of both worlds — combining the thrilling mechanics of a skill-based wagering game together with the immersive medium of a video game.

But Duper is more than the core game. Duper is set to supercharge esports onchain — an ecosystem of diehard players, collectors, and speculators that collectively engage in radically new ways that web2 cannot afford.

How it started

Almost a year ago, we started designing Duper with a simple goal: to maximize emergent social complexity with a minimal design framework. A game that is manageable to learn but has infinite replayability. At the same time, a game that truly makes sense with onchain stakes.

We are big fans of board and strategy games like Catan, Texas Hold’em, Civilization, and StarCraft. However, despite the strategic element in these games which can be quite deep and fun, the social element is often very predictable. Because there’s only one winner, it often comes down to all-versus-all battles or temporary alliances against the leading player. There are no real “win-win” scenarios.

Does it have to be this way? What if there’s a game with multiple winners? What if players could form alliances that are beneficial but not binding? What if, instead of a rigid objective such as a winner, we give players the tools to evolve their relations themselves? After repeated experimentation, we’ve found inklings of success — a game system that gives rise to bluffing, persuasion, backstabbing, and infinitely many other social dynamics. Despite simple design, no two Duper games feel the same.

Where it’s going

Duper is an experiment to change the way we think about esports. Despite its popularity in many competitive games, the largest esport prize pools, such as the 40 million pool in The International 2021 DotA 2 tournament, are often concentrated only on the very top players. The vast majority of gamers and spectators, regardless of how diehard they may be, don’t have a way to actively participate and compete for prizes of that scale.

We hope Duper is the start of something different. We’re intentionally designing Duper’s esport ecosystem to engage not only players, but also fans, speculators, and collectors in a central way. Everyone, regardless of their role, will have unique opportunities to play a key part. More on this later.

In the next few months and years, as we continue testing and improving Duper, there will be tournaments and seasons with ever bigger prizes. Duper is where the unique fun of onchain games meets the social virality of cryptoeconomics.

Duper Alpha is live today, with rewards and surprises for those who join early. We hope you enjoy.

Special thanks to @apixtwts, @gaby_goldberg, and @jonmoore202 for review.

Our story

At Curio, we are a unique mix of crypto natives and game veterans from Genshin Impact, Pacific Rim, and Halo 4. Previously, we built Treaty, an onchain 4X strategy game with arbitrary social contracts, as well as Keystone, a performant server-side framework for building onchain games. We’re backed by Bain Crypto and SevenX.