Firstly, I want to apologize that I have not been doing blogs much lately. I have been busy personally moving house and had other things on. Now that I am settled in, I will be able to continue my blogs more regularly.
Since the last development diary, I have been working on design and testing for my two main games War of Supremacy and Time of Ascendance.
War of Supremacy
Design and Testing
Have had some people playtest the game recently and got some good feedback based on both player actions and emotions as well as direct comments. From this, I will likely change a few things:
1: The accessibility of the game for new players. I have found that the game can become stagnant if one (or more) players have difficulty with the cards in hand. Once players learn the cards and what they can do, the game becomes a lot more quick and fluent. However, it can get annoying to everyone if someone spends ages figuring out what to do. For this reason, I will likely change the balancing and add more blank ability creatures. This will hopefully make it less overwhelming and hopefully quicker generally. I previously added more abilities as I loved having the options and game decisions with them. However, for new players, it may be better to make it more accessible. If the game goes well, there can always be expansions with more complexity.
Second to this, it was suggested that there were too many races. Currently there is five with one neutral race. I will test the game with four. As the game is open to players playing with cards they want, it may be easier for newcomers to play with four only to match cards together easier. Later they can use four different race combinations or add more for more complexity.
2: The win condition of losing all creatures in their hand. While mechanically it works, thematically, some people have questioned why you win this way. It also makes the game last much longer with a lot of people as it is hard to get rid of all the creatures with everything going on. For this reason, I am deciding to test having a secondary win condition. This being winning three (will require testing) rounds. At the start of each turn you can choose to pick up a card or not. If you are trying to win rounds it may be beneficial to pick up, but could also lead to cards you don’t want, cluttering your hand. If you want to win by getting rid of creatures then you don’t want to pick up cards. It adds a small strategic element, but hopefully it will make more sense thematically and may make games quicker to end.
Most people enjoyed the core gameplay once they understood. It was just getting used to the cards and how it worked. Making it more accessible will be a big part of making it popular.
Art and Logo
Pretty much all the art is done for the cards in the initial release.
The logo design has been done, and the card backs are being worked on.
Time of Ascendance
I have been doing a lot recently on the design of ToA. Since people last played, it has perked my interest in design again. I have cut down the number of races to 13 (yes that is still a big number, but it is hard to part with them 😝). I have redesigned the WoS layout and made the starter decks for each. I have also cut down the number of cards in each race and abilities. This way it is more focussed and streamlined. Check out some of the images below. Keen to play and watch people play in the future. Perhaps another tournament is around the corner 😲
Single Player/Co-Op and the Kraken
Having been researching online, I have found that a lot of people enjoy playing single player and co-operative games. People may not be able to play with others or don’t enjoy versing others and enjoy co-operating together to defeat the game. For this reason, I have looked into and designed a single player/co-operative version. The first scenario I decided on was against the Kraken.
So how do I make a single player game out of a high decision making, complex strategy game that was previous 1v1? You as the player will play normally. You will use your mana and have to place creatures and use spells to win. However, the Kraken works differently. It does not have a TimeLine and will instead automatically summon one (or two in hard mode) spells from his deck. These spells can do a number of different things including:
- Spawn whirlpools on your side of the battlefield. This is a borrowed mechanic from the Atlans race whereby it is a trap which makes creatures take 2 damage if they move into it. They will remove the whirlpool when they do.
- Summon creatures that health and attack are equal to the number of whirlpools on the Battlefield. These will attack the first thing they can (creature or territory).
- Gain attack. This can be done automatically through a spell, but the Kraken also gains attack if a whirlpool is summoned in a position which already has a whirlpool.
- Cast tsunami against you. This is a mass damage positional spell.
- Attack from the depths. Will kill the highest time cost creature in a specific row.
- Attack the first thing on your side of the board (whether that be creature or territory).
After the spells are cast, the Kraken will then do an additional attack against you. A lot of the game you have to weigh up costing your own creatures to remove whirlpools as the Kraken gets stronger with more. It is a balancing act as you have to deal 10 damage to every single column territory (which is the Kraken).
You as the player will lose if:
- three of your territories are killed.
- If your dead territories are attacked three times.
- If the Kraken runs out of deck.
- If you run out of deck.
There is a bit of dice rolling for where the Kraken will attack, where whirlpools are placed and a few other things. Sometimes you be lucky, but other times it can be devastating. Sometimes to survive, you just have to hope.
I played a lot of games and I feel the balancing is good. Hard mode I am probably winning 50% of the games. Some races are harder than others to win (with starter decks). My partner played and beat easy mode, but lost in hard. Hopefully the difficulty will make people want to play more and more. Hopefully there is enough replayability, with trying to beat the Kraken with different races. Also don’t try impossible mode (kraken plays 3 spells per turn). I kept dying before turn 3 or 4.
I did also play co-operatively with my partner. We shared the board, TimeLine and turn, but each had our own separate mana. To counter the additional mana, each player was limited to 7 max (opposed to 10 you normally get). It actually worked out quite well, and could have potential for 2v2 mode. It was also easier to defeat the Kraken (slightly) as we could get more things out earlier. With two players, it may (may) be possible to win in legendary mode.
I also thought of race mode, whereby each player was racing to defeat their own Kraken. The Kraken would play a spell and would affect every player. But each player would be playing against their own with their own board. But it would be competitive to try and defeat the kraken first.
I have also been thinking up other scenarios with different mechanics and win/lose conditions to make it interesting.
As mentioned above, I would like to try 2v2. I have previously done this, but it was one player at a time, not with mutual player turns. Previously, it was fun, but took too long between turns, and you couldn’t get the combinations together like in a normal game. With the mutual turns, I feel it could be a cool new mode.
Now I have thought and designed a few new modes, I still want to keep the core gameplay as a 1v1 competitive game. These ideas are just to see what works and be potential options down the track that could cater to different gamers.