Dear Valued Players,

It’s been a journey filled with excitement, and we’re thrilled to welcome you back to the world of Smart Box Games’ newsletter! We’re ready to reignite the fun and adventure in your gaming experience.

As a loyal member of our gaming community, your enthusiasm for Farkle Dice, Farkle Solo, WordPop! and our other captivating titles has always been the heartbeat of our success.

Now, with our newsletter making a return, we’re eager to share exclusive insights, tips, and tricks to challenge your gaming mind and share information about new releases, requested features, and strategies to master our games.

Let’s roll the dice, make new words, and celebrate the joy of gaming like never before!

Thanks a million for being part of our gaming journey!

Todd A. Sherman

PM, QAE, Casual Gamer

Smart Box Games

Take your Farkle skills to the next level. Get ready to embark on a thrilling solo adventure with Farkle Solo! It’s FREE.


Farkle Solo: Experience the classic game of Farkle in a whole new way. Test your luck and strategy as you compete against yourself to achieve the highest score in 10 rounds.

Challenge Yourself: Compare your solo scores to your best rounds ever and see if you can beat your own record. With each roll, every decision counts – can you claim the top spot on the Leaderboard?

Supercharged Gameplay: Enjoy the same addictive gameplay of Farkle Dice, but with a twist and fast paced gameplay. Strategize your moves, maximize your points, and push the odds in this fun solo adventure.

Compete on the Leaderboard: Track your progress on the Farkle Solo leaderboard and see how your best turn and best game compares against players worldwide.

Weekly Score Featured: Every week, we feature the best scores on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Will your high score be among the best?

Ready to roll to the challenge? Download Farkle Solo now for FREE and show off your Farkle Solo skills to the world! Tap the appropriate link below:

Farkle Solo on: iPhone / iPad

Farkle Solo on: Android

“Absolutely crazy fun!!! I love playing this game… The solo part I like because then you don’t have to wait for them to take their time while doing their turn…. Flawless gameplay u guys!!! Keep up the great work!!!!!! 5/5” Amanda

Thanks a million for being part of our gaming journey!


Help us spread the joy of gaming! Please forward this email to your friends and co-workers who share your passion. We rely on you to grow and your word-of-mouth means the world to our small company. Thank you for being a crucial part of our journey.

Wait There’s More

Support: See a bug? Use our support page. We want our games to be of the highest quality.

Feedback: We love hearing from you! Use our Feedback Form to send your ideas. Your feedback is sent directly to me.

Farkle Dice iOS / Play Network. Mark your calendars. I host a Network Play Extravaganza, the first and third Tuesday of every month, between 6:00 – 7:00 PM Pacific Time. If you see a player named Smart Box Games, you are playing against me.

We hope this message finds you in great spirits! 


As part of our commitment to providing an unparalleled gaming experience, we are thrilled to announce that all our Android games have received exciting updates, ensuring seamless performance on the latest phones and tablets.


To take full advantage of these enhancements, simply click or tap here to visit the Google Play store


Once there, explore our diverse collection of games and choose the ones that resonate with you. Whether you’re a casual gamer or a dedicated enthusiast, we have something for everyone!


Update or install ALL your favorite games effortlessly and embark on a gaming journey like never before. Your entertainment is our priority, and we can’t wait for you to experience the thrill of our latest updates. Happy gaming!

Thanks a million for being part of our gaming journey!

Farkle Dice, WordPop! Farkle Solo

Smart Box Games Android Icons

Threeze – A Numbers Combination, Farkle Diced, Farkle Dice DLX

Smart Box Games Android Icons

One more thing, we need your help.


Your support fuels our growth, and we’re incredibly grateful. Today, we’re asking you to be a true game-changer by sharing the joy of our games with your family and friends.


Your recommendation is invaluable, a key to expanding our gaming family. Ready to make a difference? Share the excitement now. Your word of mouth is our most powerful asset, helping us craft unforgettable gaming experiences.


Thanks for being a crucial part of our journey!

Introduction

Embracing asynchronous work can be a game-changer for distributed teams, enabling increased productivity and efficiency. What truly brings this concept to life are real-world examples. In this article, I’ll briefly describe one of our Smart Box Games projects to demonstrate the power of asynchronous collaboration using the simplest of tools, email.

Background

Our most popular game, Farkle Dice for Android, enjoys a global player base. Over the past two years, Google has progressively limited Android device backward compatibility for apps that use Google AdMob and other SDKs. Initially, they used the carrot approach and encouraged updates for better device performance, but then switched to the stick to enforce compliance by threatening app removal from the Google Play store.

Our team is spread across the globe: our Art Director, Jim, resides in Tokyo, our lead Android Engineer, John, is in Bozeman, Montana, and I serve as the Product Manager and QAE and I live in Bellingham, Washington. We embrace asynchronous work due to our experience and confidence in this approach.

Tools We Utilized on the Project for Asynchronous Collaboration:

  1. Email
  2. Google Docs and Sheets
  3. Bitbucket
  4. Firebase for app testing distribution
  5. Google Play Console

Our Project Goals

Our journey began with a high-level email outlining the basic requirements:

1. Update the code linking in the newest SDKs

2. Convert all HTTP links to HTTPS across all app languages

3. Allow players to opt out of Google Play login (we use Google Play for high-score sharing)

4. Modernize launcher icon

5. Integrate Firebase Crash Analytics

6. Address all issues found during testing

Progression of the Project

John took the lead by updating all relevant SDKs and then addressing all errors and warnings until he successfully built the project. He also updated the copyright information, URLs, and menus. 

During this process, John discovered Google had made significant design changes in how Google Play integrates with app, which he communicated via email, seeking input from the team. We installed the latest build from John and collectively examined the design changes to better understand the user experience. After exchanging a few emails with images we arrived at a design that John swiftly implemented.

As the day ended for John and me, it began for Jim in Japan. He researched how to create full-size launcher icons and by the time we started our day, provided us with educational YouTube links to get us up to speed. Jim then handed off new art to John. After a few iterations, the new launcher icon was integrated into Farkle Dice, and wow, it looks great.

The majority of testing was regression, validation and verification. Testing occurred on each build, with any issues found sent to John, with images and steps to repeat.

Once all issues were addressed the final chapter was distribution and user communication. Wearing both my Project Manager and Quality Assurance hats I wanted to limit risk and decided to do a gradual rollout release, starting at 10% and ramping up daily to 100%. Release notes were added to Google Play and a push notification is scheduled for next week.

Key Takeaways for Successful Asynchronous Work

Clear Communication: Effective asynchronous communication hinges on accurate descriptions with images and links to videos. I avoid abbreviations or acronyms. For example I always wrote “Firebase” and never “FB”, because in my brain “FB” = Facebook. 

Visual Aids: Enhance issue reporting by incorporating screenshots with prominent annotations (I’m a fan of using large red arrows), making it easier and faster for team members to understand and address problems.

Organization: Keep conversations focused by retiring resolved email threads and initiating new ones for fresh topics.

Encourage all team members to collaboratively edit documents for clarity within Google Docs. (I am thinking of switching to Notion or Confluence to take advantage of their comprehensive editing tools).

Time Zone Advantage: Leverage time zone differences to your advantage, if possible, by scheduling overlapping working hours for quick responses. For instance, 4:00 PM Pacific Time is 8:00 AM in Tokyo.

Trust Your Team: There were times I was tempted to send John a Slack message on an issue I found because it felt urgent. In reality, it was important but not urgent. Not dm’ing John and sending him an email instead prevented interruptions to his coding flow and allowed him to manage his time to its fullest efficiency. 

Conclusion

Our project progressed quickly without the need for any meetings. The entire software development life cycle was efficiently navigated through asynchronous collaboration. Now, we’re ready to replicate this success with our remaining five apps, with Farkle Halloween and Farkle Solo already underway. 

We have used asynchronous tools in the past and we are always reviewing new and interesting solutions but no matter the tool it is people who make great software. 

I encourage all teams, especially dispersed ones to embrace asynchronous processes to unlock your team’s full potential.

Farkle Solo

Earning today’s top score is just a tap away in the new Farkle Solo for Android release. We updated the app to run great on all new Android phones, including the new Nexus 6. We rewrote How to Play and we integrated Farkle Solo with Firebase from Google which allows us to improve the game through error reports.  Thank you to our players for the great suggestions and bug reports. Our goal is for you to have the best gaming experience and we couldn’t do it without you. Let us know what you think by sending us an email.

We recommend you update as soon as possible.

We rely on word-of-mouth, please let your friends and family know about Farkle Solo.

Release Details

  • How to Play – It now includes several images to clarify game play and you can now printable.  The latest version of Farkle Solo links to the improved How to Play. Scroll down to access the Print button.
  • Notifications – We want to make sure you know when new versions are available. This is an optional setting that you can turn on or off at any time.
  • Error Checking – Google’s Firebase sends us a report on how our code is doing. This report will tell us where our code is not running as efficiently as it could or if Farkle Solo had problems executing on a new CPU. Since there are thousands of different Android phones and tablets worldwide we appreciate the report. Now when you purchase a new phone Farkle Solo will still run correctly.
  • Android Studio – This is an entirely new set of tools released by Google to develop Android apps. Switching to it was a significant amount of rework of the code. But the change resulted faster and smoother game play