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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.
I didn’t keep a concrete journal of the creation process of Village Defenders, but my notepad doc for VD has most of the ideas I’ve written down from creation until now. I’m going to attempt to take those and put them in some sort of readable format, but in reality they will likely just sound like the ramblings of a lunatic.
Where I’m At
So at this point the core Village Defenders game is essentially complete and has been posted to TCG and submitted to the miniature game challenge, which is what the game was created for in the first place.