Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
So last weekend I attended Sacramento’s unpub mini, which is where unpublished game designers go to show off their games. There was somewhere between 6-9 people there showing games, and I brought Village Defenders to show for funsies.
I had some great playtests and, more importantly, got to play some super fun games brought by some really cool folks. I was blown away by how great the games there were and hope to see a few of them on kickstarter soon.
Obligatory Village Defenders action shots:
So I’ve been spending the last few months designing and developing a game from a bundle of ideas into reality. I use the term ‘develop’ loosely as there is very little coding actually involved in the engine I’m using, but the same concepts seem to be recurring over and over.
I’ve heard that game development can be complicated, and luckily the engine I’m using takes care of most of the complicated bits (collision, menu interactions, etc.) The vast majority of the other stuff can be boiled down to objects and variables (and their interactions).
There’s some distinct differences between video game design and board game design. As a non-expert programmer, the most important difference being how vision is translated into reality. In a video game, there are likely things you want to do, that you can’t do (either as the result of knowledge or lack of practicality), and you have to adjust your vision in the appropriate manner. In the world of board game design, this never really has to happen. Regardless of how balanced or complicated or fun it is, anything mechanic or concept you can dream of as a tabletop design can be done, as there is really nothing lost in translation.
Regardless, it’s a new set of challenges and I’m enjoying the process of puzzling out how to translate my vision into a playable game. The game is expanding and getting bigger, which is daunting at times, but I’m looking forward to it.
I haven’t posted in quite a while because I’ve been hard at work on another project. This new project is still game-related, but it’s not a board game.
I usually don’t like to go into details about the projects I’m actively working on. It’s some weird psychological thing where I feel pressure to finish something, or maybe it prevents me from change things in my mind; I’m not sure. Bottom line is, I’m werid and this, unfortunately, isn’t the best way of approaching something new from a marketing standpoint but I’ll try to release some info as soon as I feel I can.
So it looks like Village Defenders didn’t win, but I got some kind words and good advice from the judge. Overall the experience forced me to finish the game so I’m grateful for the opportunity and experience.
I have a ton of projects I’d like to focus on so I’m not sure where to spend my energy right now, but either way I’ll try and keep the blog up to date and whatnot.
Until next time!
Keep calm and play games.
So luckily VD made it into the finals of the TCG contest. (Link here)
I would have probably scored myself lower in some areas, but I suppose we are all our own harshest critics. We’ll see what happens, wish me luck!
The End is Near
Well the contest is now two days away. I ordered a final copy of VD to get some accurate actions shots for TCG, but it seems the US postal service isn’t cooperating with me. They claim it should have arrived yesterday, but it appears today it’s still in Philadelphia, which is quite a ways away from California.
Anywho, at some point I’ll be taking pictures (and possibly a video) and putting them up when it does finally arrive.
There were quite a few challenges I encountered over the month of creating, playtesting and developing Village Defenders, some of which I’ve covered already. After most of the big development changes were made, the main challenges I ran into involved pricing on TCG. Miniatures are expensive and I had to have 12 of them, and I factored around 18 of them into the original cost, assuming that each creature would be represented by a miniature. Once the combat change was made, however, I was forced to add dice to the game, and I’ll tell you what, polyhedral dice are not cheap. Sure, a lot of players will have a set of polyhedral dice, but you can’t make a game and not include the necessary components, so I was forced to put them in. At $0.75 a piece this sent me over the brink of my 29.99 price point and I had to make compromises.
Treasures and Chance
There is something to be said for random elements in games. As a gamer born in the realm of competitive gaming, I’ve be taught to hate them and that anything that removes skill and replaces it with chance is pure garbage. I could write a book about how I feel about this topic, but in short, over the years I’ve come to realize that a game can be fun, can require strategy and skill, and can also involve elements of chance to develop tension and variety. Coming from this mindset however, I always feel obligated to allow the players to offset chance elements (within reason). This is where treasures come in. Previously, treasure cards didn’t add a whole lot to the game, and simply made it easier. If you were doing bad, it could help out, and if you were doing well, it would put you in a position where you couldn’t lose. Because of the puzzle effect, they simply didn’t impact the game a whole lot. With the introduction of the new combat mechanic, treasures now had a concrete role. I reworked the treasure cards where some could be used to enhance the change of a successful attack or otherwise mitigate some of the randomized elements of the game.
Before I get into the nitty gritty, I’ll very briefly go over how Village Defenders played initially, so you’ll have a basic understanding of the game, and I’ll fill in the rest later. Essentially the game is a certain number of players (1-4) each were assigned a hero card which represented their ‘hero’ in-game, and each hero had one unique ability and some health points. The village was set up using tiles which were a sudo-randomized assortment of tiles which represented buildings and tiles which were just normal tiles with no effect or relevance (other than you could move through them). Once the village was generated, creatures would be drawn and put onto staging tile which would then lead them to the village.
Heroes would take turns, and on their turn they were assigned 4 action points which they could spend to move, attack or perform special actions. Moving from one tile to another, for example, cost an action point. Attacking a creature and using certain abilities costs an action point, etc. Action points are lost if not used at the end of their turn, and it proceeded until all the heroes were finished and then the creatures took their turn. Some creatures focused on attacking buildings and others focused on attacking heroes. The win condition was to outlast the onslaught but you could lose by either losing half of your starting building tiles OR having each hero be defeated. As the game continued, you tracked your progress using a counter/card which would increase the number of creatures you would draw and make the game harder as you progressed through it.
Because I wanted the game to repayable, a modular game board was something I wanted early on, but later had doubts about (more on this later). The fact that this village that you’re defending changes every time you play would really help from keeping the game from getting stale. Even though there are other randomized elements, the village itself plays a big role in how the game is played.
Page 1 of 2