Dear Readers and Friends of Indie Card- and Board Games!
Right in the middle of the just started AWE Kickstarter Campaign, I am immensely pleased to bring you some great news from AP Games, my very own games brand; an exciting announcement:
AP Games will be partnering with game design newcomer Vyranis Destina (yes, that is an alias – Vyranis is quite secretive about his real name!) in bringing to you the Epsilon Customizable Card Game!
Epsilon is set in a dystopic future, on a dying Earth where natural resources have become scarce and the environment has become largely uninhabitable by humans, a race driven to the brink of extinction by the propspering new races, the cyborgs as well as silicon based lifeforms. In Epsilon, these three races, the humans, cyborgs – crossbreeds of artificial and human life forms as well as the silicons fight for survival and the right to exist on a deserted, hostile remnant of what was once known as the blue planet. A great war had come to an end, but the peace was not to last very long and a new conflict is about to unfold… Chose your side and fight for the survival of your race!
Epsilon will be a strategic duelling card game for 2 players, fully customizable coming with 90 different cards as well as dice and all 2 players need to dive right into the dystopic world the game.
In the design process that was started just a few days ago as a matter of fact, Andreas Propst, founder, owner and lead-designer at AP Games and Vyranis Destina will partner in developing the rules, mechanics, cards and visuals in as well as the story around Epsilon, whereby Andreas will lead newcomer Vyranis through the design process, providing tutoring, advice, guidance and counselling based on Andreas’ longstanding experience in designing board and card games as well as on his profound insider knowledge in the gaming scene as a whole, thus ensuring that the final result, the Epsilon Customizable Card Game will convince gamers/potential customers by providing for a pleasant gaming experience, through awesome and engaging rules and mechanics as well as balanced cards, as well as by meeting highest quality standards when it comes to the visuals for instance. Speaking of visuals, Vyranis will be taking care of the graphics, the artwork as well as the layout for cards and other components, as he is a talended graphics designer who usually makes band logos for metal bands on a regular basis among other things. Vyranis designed the Epsilon logo to be seen above as well as the card layout and drew the artwork in the card samples I will be showcasing later on. This work partnership will be based on cooperation of experienced desinger Andreas and the fledgling game designer Vyranis, who will provide his ideas, which Andreas will review and evaluate so that solutions can be found together and implemented in mutual understanding and agreement. We see this as a living, creative process and a learning experience and great opportunity for the mutual benefit of all participants!
But enough of the boring babble already! For sure you want to have some eye-candy and see some of the actual visuals we have so far!
So here three card samples of our current Epsilon prototype – two “individuals” and one “case” card:
As you can see, we intentionally kept the layout dark and decided to go for black and white line drawings for the card illustrations, which Vyranis will do all by himself, in order to give the cards the dark, dystopic flair it needs to match the dreary story behind the actual game. Also, you can see the Manga-influence quite clearly in Vyranis work in the above preview. That as well is desired.
But a little bit about how the Epsilon Customizable Card Game will actually work:
Epsilon is a classic combat card game which utilizes dice (D6 and D20) to keep track of certain things and what makes it unique and special is the “resourceless resource system” it will feature and revolve around. The goal of the game is to reduce the 40 Points each player has at the outset to 0 by means of attacking your opponent’s base with your individuals (think creatures or monsters) directly. This all sounds pretty much standard, but the resource system is what makes the game interesting as mentioned before. Each player starts out with 20 Charge Counters in his “Power Station” located in his base. These are kept track of by means of 4 six-sided dice initially set to 5 each (with the 5 on top) and Charge Counters are spent and used in various ways throughout the game. There will be very few ways to recover Charge Counters so the game really forces you to speculate with your scarce resources (the Charge Counters) and manage your resources well, leading to tense gameplay situations and choices that actually matter, which are all qualities of an enjoyabe game of this kind.
Charge Counters are the universal currency in the Epsilon CCG and through the use of these, dedicated resource cards (like Lands in Magic: the Gathering or Energy Cards in the Pokemon TCG) are obsolete and not needed. Hence, situations the Magic players refer to as “Mana Screw”, when you have to few, too many or the wrong kind of resources are prevented from ever happening through what I called a “resourceless resource system” above. So Charge Counters, again you start with a “war chest” of 20 of those, are used in many differnent ways: First and foremost, you take them from your station and place them on individuals you recruit from you hand in order to fight for you or protect you from opponent attacks. There are three types of individuals in Epsilon corresponding to the three races mentioned initially: Humans, Cyborgs and Silicons (silcion-based lifeforms). The individual type determines the number of Charge Counters that must be moved from your base onto an individual when you recruit it, play it from hand that is. A Silicon would need 4, a Cyborg 2 and a Human 0 Charge Counters as their initial Charge Capacity (obviously humans have no need for electrical energy to “work” properly!). Now here comes a crucial concept/mechanic: Each time an Individual with Charge Counters (except Humans who have none) performs an action, attacks or uses a special ability that is, you have to remove 1 Charge Counter. Now if one of your Cyborgs or Silicons ever runs out of counters, it is no longer functional and goes to the discard. To prevent this from happening however you have the option to place one of your individuals with Charge Counters on your station in order to recharge its battery. The station restores 2 Charge Counters to the individual or case – equip (more on card types in a future post on Epsilon) it is recharging per turn. So in order to fully recharge a Cyborg you’d have to put it on the station for 1 turn whereas a Silicon with a maximum capacity of 4 would require 2 turns to fully recover its Charge Counters.
The three races in Epsilon are quite distinct and different from each other: First off we have already established that Humans have 0, Cyborgs 2 and Silicons 4 Charge counters. Furthermore, the races are differnet in overall power level, stats as well as in their special abilities. While humans have a weak body, so lower stats, they do not need Charge Counters to operate and stay alive and functional. Humans also have accesss to lots of Equipment that counters their bodily weakness to some degree. On the other end of the spectrum, Silicons have pretty high stats and powerful abilities, however deploying them costs you Charge Counters (resources). Cyborgs on the other hand are located in the mid-range of that spectrum.
Well this is part of what Vyranis and I have established together so far. Actually, the first rules draft is about finished and I will be posting more news and infos along with new card and art previews from the pen of my new partner and co-designer Vyranis soon.
Just one more info: We are planning to finish the Epsilon project (Although it will never be finished as it is perfectly suited for the seemingly inevitable card add-on / expansions!) some time first half of 2015 and will make the game available exclusively on http://www.thegamecrafter.com as well as in the form of a Print&Play download, at an affordable cost. The Base Game will include about 180 cards, which is a great card pool for a 2 player game’s base set and will come in two forms, the “bare bones” regular version with just the cards and rules in a neat box and the “Deluxe” version, which, besides the actual cards and rules booklet, will contain the dice needed to play as well as some extra goodies such as Epsilon playmats and an extra booklet with the story behind Epsilon for your reading pleasure!
So if you are curious to hear more about my latest collaborative games project, pay attention to this here blog, at best subscribe to it as I will be releasing more and more news, info and previews as time advances!
Thank you for your interest and