Caribbean game inventor joins Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple in the social gaming industry
SANDRA HAREWOOD, a Barbadian black, female inventor, has just launched her digital game RAID Word Game, on the Apple App Store and on Google Play. RAID is an addictive word game that users can play with family and friends at a table on a board game or on a mobile device.
RAID is now available for iOS and Android, promises fast, furious fun for players. It’s touted as the world’s most absorbing and intense word game.
When asked why she was entering this “non-traditional” area, Harewood stated: “Female and minority owned businesses should seek to enter industries that are growing and offer a sustainable audience and customer base. Google Stadia, Microsoft Games (owners of Xbox), Amazon Games and Apple Arcade are all heavily investing in the exploding social gaming industry. I believe my word/strategy game delivers compelling content for people who like to relax and unwind by playing games and also those who seek some brain exercise and challenge depending on the mode of play selected.”
To get the app developed she sent a prototype of the board game to Cartamundi, the largest manufacturer of cards and board games in the world who manufacture for the biggest players in the industry. Cartamundi’s European Digital Team reviewed the prototype, thought the game had good potential and agreed to develop the app.
Harewood came up with the idea for RAID when she noticed she and other guests getting bored during a game night because they had to wait too long for their turn to play. She subsequently created this fast-paced word game where all players are engaged 100% of the time and that also involved an element of strategy. When RAID was tested by Toys “R” Us executives in New Jersey, they described it as “having good play value, being simple to learn, easy to play and being cool and exciting.”
A fundamental element of the gameplay is that it’s always everyone’s turn to play all the time, keeping everyone involved, absorbed and intense. Players draw from the same pool of letters, which are constantly being replenished, and compete against each other to fill up their rows with words before opponents. A player can “RAID” or capture their opponents’ words by adding letters only if they are able to create a new word. It’s a game for players of all ages, especially adults who are uber-competitive, as well as more casual players and children.
When asked if she faced any challenges in her journey as a Black female entrepreneur Sandra Harewood said: “The publishers of the Harry Potter books did not think that boys would read an adventure book written by a female author hence the name of the author JK Rowling rather than Joanne Rowling. Similarly some focus group participants stated that they thought that a number of people would not buy a board game or even download a free game app invented by a Black woman and that I should consider “fronting the business with a white man”. My response? I can only believe and trust that most people would judge the game, after playing it, on the quality of the gameplay, not anything else. I never considered hiding my identity”.
“We’re really excited about our mobile launch as millions of people will have the opportunity to download and try this free, new App,” said Harewood. “If people have fun beating the computer – artificial intelligence bots – in the App they’ll also enjoy our board game version which will be available on Kickstarter from September. The board game offers the chance to play face-to-face with friends and family, something we have all been missing. Board games will be delivered to customers by November – in time for Christmas!”
The RAID team intends to continuously upgrade the app and the next version will see numerous features being added including multiplayer play online, in-game chat and hundreds of levels of AI bot skills to make the game user friendly for an even wider audience.