Dear readers of this here my blog on games and general geekness! Fellow gamers and game designers!
After a long spell of silence on here, which resulted from a rush of endlessly flowing artistic mojo (I am an artist working in traditional media mostly as well in case that is news for you), from a productive week when it comes to doing artwork, the mailman tore me out of my artistic “trip” delivering an already very much anticipated package from the United States of America, from The Game Crafter LLC, my print-on-demand games provider of trust and choice, to be more precise.
The contents of the package was two prototypes of my two most recent designs/games, which I was dying to lay my greedy, game designer’s paws on ever since I came up with the games, did the prototyping and ordered a while ago.
Here you can see the overjoyed but in this picture, more than usually, somewhat hobotastic looking designer of both games:
The two games I am holding in hands are
Antediluvian Wars – Extermination
(Official Website at http://www.awetcg.com)
(just call it “AWE”, as in awe-some and awe-inspiring and also awe-ful for Thor’s sake! :D) which would be the remarkably small one on the left and
Elemental Clash HEX (TGC 2-Player “Tribal Wars” Edition)
which would be the significantly bigger, colorful box on the right side.
In this two part post I want to introduce you to both of those two, which I would consider my “hottest” games in the workings/prototypes currently, in the form of little photo-stories, without explaining much about how they actually work, just giving my initial thoughts on my first impressions when unboxing (and trying to some extent in the case of EC HEX).
I will start it off with this one and follow up with a similar post on the other shortly (probably right after I finished the first):
If you have read about AWE before, you will know it is a 2-4 players game with tons of tactical/strategic options and potentially high replay value, so yeah, I too am amazed that THAT (see above) is basically it. Four entire antediluvian armies packed in one small, neat looking box. And I must say that I am quite pleased with the look of what is the first protoype, both about my humble photoshop-job and about the quality of the box (thumbs up TGC!!). I almost like it so much that I consider to keep the design and release it with a box like that eventually. And on a side-note: Maybe you recognize the mysterious “Piri Reis Map” I used for the background (just google for it, you will be amazed).
After having seen it for myself and having laid my hands on it, I must say, without wanting to brag about my own genius and praise my own humble design work, I must say, overall this game feels like something compared to a good “Schnaps” (Austrian-style booze) where the essence of many good things is distilled into one very small amount of liquid – in one neat little box just like the one I was holding and looking at. I mean this game offers enough for endless hours of fun (well hopefully the finished product will) for up to four people, without the need of any further components besides the cards like dice, life counters or similar stuff.
I mean just look at this: It fits easily in one of my pockets (well unless said pocket contains a pack of cigs as usual):
(Apologies for the blurry picture)
The fact that the game is small, portable, literally fitting in your pocket has so many benefits and is cheap to manufacture, which would make a (invitable?) Kickstarter very much attractive to many people as they’d get quite some value for the small buck!
And I can see the slogans right before me already: “The Epic Wars of Ancient Gods – in your Pocket!”. Same goes for the title. If I do my handywork right and well, people could get an “AWE-some gaming experience” from this and reviewers could call it “AWE-inspiring” but I am going a little over the top with my overly enthusiastic ramblings here now. There’s still a lot of work ahead of us, my hand-picked, crafty, elitist inner circle of playtesters (Thank you Rob, Michael, Brian, Jeff and Hank!!) and I, but I for one will do my very best to make this one deserve such honorations.
So pressing onwards, here the contents of the box: 4 decks of 30 cards each – one for each of the four factions:
The game’s official web url will mislead you maybe. “TCG” stands for “Tactical Card Game” and not for what it usually stands for – Trading Card Game. I would eat my own underpants if I ever was foolish enough to attempt to create “the next big thing” in Trading Card Games. There are a few established ones and their fans are too dedicated to buy into a new one. So this can simply be the delusion of an utter beginner (which I wouldnt blame them for) or of someone who had lost their mind. So tactical card game it is in the case of AWE. However, this means not that AWE will never be customizable, as it is a very much EXPANDABLE game. While the initial set will contain only 4 pre-constructed decks without the option to customize, there is always the possibility of expansions adding new cards to each of the factions, turning the initially non-customizable (and many people see that as a quality not a shortcoming in a game) game into a fully customizable one. Note: Even in case of disinterest and failure on KS or whatever, I will probably work on and release expansions, “ars gratia artist” – art for the cause of art!
And here is what one player needs to get the action started. A quite slim deck of exaclty 30 standard poker-size cards:
Next have a look at what all four decks look like next to each other, with the gods, each being associated with one of the faction decks and acting as your representation, your “avatar” in the game, whom you must protect from opponent attacks at all costs, in order to prevent him from being “dethroned” as the lose condition in the game is called. And yes I ripped the gods artworks straight out of Elemental Clash (save for Lord Krishna, whom I nicked from the internets) just for prototype purposes and as a matter of course the finished game will feature terrific original artworks for each of the god-cards.
The factions are the following from top left to bottom right: Lemurian, Atleantean, Hyperborean and Muan.
The four civilizations are actually taken straight out of the legends and mythology of real human cultures and the game features many real-world mythological references, whilst being not exactly historically accurate, especially when it comes to the 10.000 B.C. dino riders and Vimana aircraft! But that is what is great about this particular theme: Everything goes in AWE! 😀
And lastly a close-up of one of the cards:
I solemnly swear to explain all the icons and meanings of the card layout in a seperate post dedicated to this aspect of the AWE Tactical Card Game, but only that much: AWE features a quite extraordinary concept which works so well on so many levels and which I call the “Three-Way-Play” mechanic. You see the upper name, icons and text box are the Unit (Creature, Monster, whatever) part of the card. You can play it upright and it will act as a Creature that will usually attack or defend and/or have certain special abilities. Then on the bottom of the card we have inverted name, icons and text. The meaning of this is that you can play the card upside-down as an Event (Spell, Effect, whatever) which will usually just have a one-time effect on the game. Thirdly, you can play the card rotated 90 degrees to the left or to the right into your Resource Row so that it will act as a resource of its type. Resources are needed to pay for Units and Events by the way. You see, as I said, the game is a tight, little package similar to a well distilled Schnaps, as I remarked initally.
Well this concludes part one of the TGC prototype loot photo-stories article. I will follow up with part two, which will deal with a “madness”, as my honored friend Rob Seater of Cambridge Games Factory quite aptly named it, I have come up with very recently:
ELEMENTAL CLASH HEX
So thanks for reading and see you soon with some visual teasers of the aforementioned!