Dear readers and friends of AWE and Customizable Card Games in general!
I am exceedingly pleased to announce that my new game project “AWE – Antediluvian Wars: Extermination” went live on Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter just yesterday! Tonight we are nearing the $1000 USD mark and I would like to seize the opportunity and thank all backers and supporters from the bottom of my heart!! You guys are AWE-some!
So, folks, let me recount the story of AWE and about the events that lead to this latest of my Kickstarter projects in an anecdotal manner.
The Story of AWE:
It all started when my good friend and business partner Widodo Pangarso from Indonesia, who had worked with me before doing fantastic artwork for one of my other games, Elemental Clash, among others, approached me, cautiously, with a request. “How about we make a game together?” Widodo asked and instantly was all in for such a collaborative project, not at the least as Widodo offered to provide part of the artwork needed prior to funding at no cost for me whatsoever. So I seized this unique opportunity right away and thus AWE was born!
The first thing we had on our to-do list was a kickass theme! As it happened, I had one on my mind that I wanted to incorporate in a tabletop game of sorts for quite some while and after some convincing, my partner Widodo was in for it as well, on the condition that I would be designing a second game after AWE with Widodo’s theme of choice, which is actually in the making under the working title “Ghost Hunter”. So it was a deal and I was free to knock myself out on the theme for our soon to be born game!
And knock myself out, at least thematically, is just waht I did. The theme I had in mind and that was implemented in AWE is quite an amazing one that allows for lots of creative and seldom-seen stuff. So the full name of the game is Antediluvian Wars: Extermination. For those not aware of it: “Antediluvian” means “before the flood” in a literal translation but is also commonly used for describing anything prehistoric. So the basic premise is this: In a not-quite historically accurate prehistory, at the end of the last great ice age about 12,000 years ago, four ancient and highly advanced civilizations that are nowadays lost and almost forgotten, a matter of myths and legends, are waging grand wars on each other, with one supreme goal: extermination! Hence the name of the game!
The four civilizations mentioend are all based on real-world mythology and all four located on mythical continents that are said to have sunk into the sea long ago. There is the widely known Atlantis in the Atlantic Ocean as well as three lesser known civilizations of myht, namely Hyberborea in the arctic regions to the North of Iceland, Lemuria in the Indian Ocean and Mu in the Pacific.
So with this unique theme mixing elements from many genres such as fantasy and sci-fi with real world mythology, a whole universe of creative possibilities opened up to me as the lead-game designer. In AWE, pretty much anything goes, thematically, so we have a lot going on, including a fantastic array of creatures and characters, from dinosaur riders over war mammoths and steampunky Steamgunners up to downright crazy stuff like resurrecting Zombie T-Rexes and advanced Vimana aircraft!
After Widodo and I had settled for the theme, the two of us started to create the first visuals for our new project, as I for one are quite the visual type when it comes to the early design process. So what I did was personally draw a lot of first character and creature sketches like this one here…
…and Widodo did some character concepts based on my sketches as the ones seen above for example. My Indonesian partner was very happy that I provided these sketches so he had a starting point for his later illustrations and got a good idea of the visuals of the word of AWE I had in mind.
Whilst we were working on the first visuals for AWE, I started to brainstorm the key mechanics and rules for our soon-to-be game project. It may sound terribly, terribly unprofessional to most as I am aware, but I do not make a secret out of the way my game designing undertakings actually work, and for me this approach does work and has worked astoundingly well time and time again, but I came up with the basic rules and mechanics for AWE over the course of one or two intense afternoons of brainstorming. I call this approach that seems like a mad man’s way of designing something as complex as a game like AWE, “speed design” and many of my games that proved to be quite well-designed and received great feedback from fellow game designers and gamers alike came to be that way. Here I would like to give mention and give credit to my good Bavarian friend, fellow game designer and vendor of fine wines Tobias Strunz from Bavaria, Germany, who kindly allowed me to borrow a mechanic idea of his that would soon turn out to be the central part of the AWE rules set, but more on that later!
The next step for me was to come up with a card layout design and after that a first list of prototype cards with all their different stats and card effects. This is the most fun part for me when designing a game and my intuition rarely fails me on that part of the design process either so after a few days the preliminary card list, about 20 different ones per faction, so 80 cards in total, was done as well.
What followed was the creation of the actual card layout which was handled by my “layout specialist” among many other things, Enggar Adirasa, also from Indonesia. Then Widodo on his part was ready to do some first card artwork. You can see a sample of layout and artwork below – I think Enggar and Widodo did an outstanding job on the layout and artwork respectively!
That being said, I have to note that I see no problem in having artwork created for a largely untested prototype-state game early on. I see it like this: I as the designer know which kinds of creatures and characters will be in the game for sure, so as soon as at least the general layout of the cards for instance is finalized, first art can be commissioned and created as the wording and stats etc of the actual card can always be fixed and tweaked without abandoning the character/creature and cutting it from the game itself. So being aware and making use of this, the design process can be accelerated to some degree – PLUS: I mentioned I am a very visual type of designer so early artwork motivates and inspires me to push on with the theoretical aspects of the design process.
Once the layout, some art, as well as the rules and protype cards list were all done, I was ready to put a quite nicely looking prototype together and upload to my trutsted printing partner http://www.thegamecrafter.com and order my copy and some copies to be sent out to a crafty lot of playtesters! Here is the neat looking AWE protoype box – You see it is a game that is highlty portable – “The Wars of Ancient Gods – Straight out of your pocket!!”
And oh how well-received AWE was with the playtesters – quite to my joy and relief! My good friend and long time supporter Rob Seater of Cambridge Games Factory enjoyed it in particular and gave a ton of useful feedback to spot some, but not many, mechanics and rules flaws which were thoroughly eradicated in due time…
Well, dear gamers, that is part of the story how AWE was born and came about! I hope this article was interesting and insightful to you to some degree and if you haven’t done so yet and are curious, I would like to invite you to check out the AWE Kickstarter at
and maybe join in if you can and think it is worth your hard-earned money or at least help to spread the news in order to show your support. Any and all help is most appreciated and much needed in order to make AWE a reality! Let’s do this!
P.S.: Our “AWE Ambassador” in the US, Nathan Moore, will be taking AWE to Gencon this year, so if you’d like to try out the game with him, that can be arranged! Just mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org in case of interest! Thanks!!