It feels like a while since we’ve talked about some aspects of design theory, so lets talk about combos. A power that lets you deal two damage to a target, but one to yourself is a good power. A power that lets you ignore one damage each turn is a good power. If you put them together you wind up with something that’s more than the sum of its parts, suddenly your attack power has no active drawback and it’s not really weakened the defence power to do it since your opponent wasn’t going to hit you much on your go anyway. Sweet combo.
Over the course of the last couple of weeks playtesting it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the hero conflict game is suffering for its theme. Mechanically it seems very solid, most of the praise it gets is about the gameplay itself, but the theme could not be more generic. Fantasy warriors fighting for, well I guess they like fighting or something?
Game design for 3DTotal is still somewhat exploratory, with 404 we made a (fiscally) midrange game and Wizard’s Academy was at the top end, with lots of minis and chrome. To complete the triangle our next game will explore what we can do on a budget. The brief is to create a 54 card game using existing art. This is a serious challenge for me, because so far all of our games have been praised more for their mechanics than their art (and the art has been beautiful) but this set of restrictions are all things that limit what I can do mechanically while utilising art assets that we already know to be exceptional. On the other hand wouldn’t it be spectacular if we manage to put something together that got rave gameplay reviews but that anyone could get for around a fiver?
Soon we will finish delivering 404: Law Not Found to backers, so it’s possible to get a snapshot of how the project has performed financially as a whole. It looks like the approximate outcome will be that we’ll have raised roughly as much money as we spent and have about 300 games left over. If we sell those games at £35 each then the project will have made a profit of around £10k (depending on what we end up paying in warehousing) which isn’t great for a project of its size and scope but is respectable. If we don’t sell any we’ll probably wind up with a small loss. Overall things have more or less worked out, but it seems like an interesting moment to step back and look at other paths that might have been taken and that could be taken for future games.
Every now and again I briefly recall that in my first post I promised that this blog would talk about what it’s like to go from being an academic to a full time game designer and all of the experiences that I’ve had along the way. It seems that in general people enjoy my broad and unsolicited advice on the subject more, but today there’s a chance to do both. I ran a stand at a big convention for the first time ever this weekend!