Introducing: M.A.P. – Mission: Alien Planet

medium-pro-box-top

Dear friends and fans of Indie Board & Card Games! Valued Readers!

It is my pleasure to announce and introduce you to another AP Games prototype! This time it is not your regular Wizard-Duelling, spell-casting and monster-summoning fantasy game as you all know I am capable of doing. ūüėÄ

Let me quote from the game box of the Mission: Alien Planet (or just “M.A.P.”) prototype:

“You are part of a crew of 4 scientists, so called “Xenologists”, who just landed on a recently discovererd, alien planet revolving around the nearby star Tau Ceti. The exotic, new planet you are about to explore is teeming with fantastic lifeforms and your mission is to collect data about as many of them as possible. As you explore the strange and hazardous terrain of the planet, peril and danger awaits your team. Will you be able to collect the required number of Victory Points by acquiring data on alien species before being wiped out?”

So M.A.P. is a game about exploration, about alien creature hunting and about survival, which utilizes a number of components such as decks of cards, a small game board, as well as dice amongst other things. The goal of the game, as stated above, is to collect a certain number of Victory Points (the exact number is not yet determined but it will be variable in the end – the higher the target VP total you choose at the outset of the game, the harder the game will be to beat) by acquiring data on as many different alien life forms as possible. There are different ways of collecting data and thus VP, but first, let me show you an image of the prototype game board:

MAP Game Board small

You can see there is a lot going on on the above game board. Let me explain the most important things:

You have a “Victory Points Meter” on the right edge of the board. Here you’d place a small D6 to keep track of your current VP count. Once again, it has still to be determined how many VP have to be collected in a standard (or easy/hard) game.¬† On¬† the bottom you’ll find the Distance Marker, which will help you keep track of how far you venture into the exotic wilds from your starting point, your Base, which you find in the central hex on the planet on the above board. This is a cooperative game, that can, for those who are inclined to do so, be played solo as well, and your team of Xenologists (you will always have 4 of them, even in a 2 or 3 player game – in which case (a) player(s) control(s) more than one Xenologist) will always start out on the central Base Hex.

Here is a picture of a Xenologist card (all 4 are identical except for their color and have 4 Base Stats which are kept track of by means of accordingly colored D6s):

A Xenologist

The base has 20 points worth of Resources (the number in the grey orb)¬† and 40 points of Power (as in Energy – the number in the blue orb). These are kept track of by means of a black D20 and two blue D20 respectively and you’ll be using your Resources to repair your Xenologist’s Armor etc and replenish their Power or the Power of the Items they use.

Speaking of Items: Before you venture out into the unknown Terrain of the alien planet, it would be wise to equip your Xenologists properly first. As you can see above, there are 4 “slots” for Items, which are small rectangular cards that can be “docked” onto your Xenologists. There is a huge variety of Items available, each doing something differenet, so you do not have to equip each of your Xenologist with the same set of Items, but rather “build” a team with all kinds of useful equipment, which will increase your odds of collecting alien creature data¬† – and surviving whilst doing so. Your Xenologists have 3 Shields (in green) and 3 Armor (in black/grey) on the most basic level. If both are depleted, attacks of hostile alien lifeforms will drain their Health (in red). Once the Health of a Xenologist drops to zero or below, they are out of the game. Besides these 3 stats, each Xenologist carries with them a supply of 6 Energy (in blue) by default. Energy is used for various purposes and can be recharged at the Base, where Shields and Armor can be replenished too (at the cost of Energy/Resources) and Health can be fully replenished (at no cost whatsoever).

Here’s what a fully equipped Xenologist may look like:

Equipped Xenologist

Now on to the different types of Terrain and how you explore the strange, new world orbiting far-off Tau Ceti.

Please take another look at the game board I showed you above: You will see that, surrounding the base, you have various types of terrain, represented by sliced-in-half hexes. Each kind of terrain (there are 8 different types of terrain) is represented by a smaller or larger deck of cards. The actual exploration works like this:

You move your meeple (representing your team of Xenologists) onto a “half-hex” adjacent to your base and advance the distance meter by 1. Then you draw (a) card(s) from the corresponding Terrain Deck. The Terrain Deck contains various alien species (Carnivores, which attack “on sight” and Herbivores, which ignore you unless disturbed in some way) as well as hazardous or sometimes even beneficial Terrain Events that may have certain environmental effects on your team or the game as a whole.

Each Terrain Deck contains an unique combination of various alien species indigenous to the terrain type as well as different, terrain-specific or also generic Events. Here sample Species from all Terrain Types:

Species in Different Environments

At this point I would like to extend a hearty thank you to my friend Tobi from Germany for kindly sharing the awesome creature artwork with me!!

The “hazard level” varies from terrain type to terrain type. This means when on a Prairie or a Forest you will face less environmental dangers than when exploring hazardous or volcanic wastelands. HOWEVER, the higher the risk the higher the reward, as the alien species you’ll find in more dangerous environments will be more valuable in terms of Victory Points.

For instance, let’s have a look at the cards the Tundra Deck contains (in the game there are duplicates mind you):

Tundra Deck

The card in the upper left hand corner is the card back of the Tundra Deck, whereas the other top row cards are the different Species you can and will encounter in the Tundra environment. The bottom cards are the different Tundra Events.

In this introductory article I will not go into great detail as to how the actual data collecting will be done. Only so much:

Each species has a VP-Value (the number in the gold-surrounded green orb in the top right corner of the card) as well as an Agility value (the one with the greenish glow) as well as a Health value (the number in the red square) as well as a text box. When you encounter an Alien Species it will attack you, or rather start acting, if it is a Carnivore and if it is a Herbivore, it will do nothing unless you attack it. In any case, you have 3 options when encountering a creature: You can either just PROBE it, which will grant you 1 VP if the species is the first of its kind you probed, OR you can try to KILL it, whereby you get half of their printed VP (rounded up) if it is the first of its kind you killed OR you can try to CATCH it (using a special kind of item) for which you get to add its entire VP-value to your total, if it is the first of its kind you captured. Large parts of fighting and catching alien species is handled through dice rolls.For instance, the behavioral pattern of any species is determined by dice rolls.

Take a look at this sample species:

Species Sample

As you can see, upon rolling a D6, Deinolupus will try to flee on a 1 – 2, will attack one of your crew members for 2 damage on a 3 – 5 or even for 4 damage upon rolling a 6.

As you move around the map of the alien planet you should return to the Base every now and then or when need be, to replenish health and energy, repair your armor and maybe to switch items. Also, any data acquired through probing, killing and/or catching will be added to your Victory Points total only when you return it to your Base.


And that is all I can tell you about M.A.P. as of now!

All I can say is that I am thrilled to get it tested, get some of the still more or less vague rules nailed down properly and think it has potential, combining co-op gameplay, clever team-building and resource management, the catching and collecting aspect which has made video games like Pokémon for instance popular, the survival aspect and the option to play solo even, as well as a healthy but not-too-dominant dose of luck.

I will keep you updated on the progress of the game – however, please keep in mind that this is only one of oh so many side-projects I tend to have all the times!

So thank you for your interest – I hope you had a good read! Please feel free to drop me some feedback down in the comments! Would love to hear your opinion on the new prototype!

Game on!

Yours,

Andi

Announcing: The REALMS OF SIHIR Customizable Card Game!

Dear friends and fans of Indie card and board games!

Andi is at it again and this time, he comes along with a crafty and talented partner as we are very proud to announce the

RoS CCG Logo medium size

Realms of Sihir Customizable Card Game!

Realms of Sihir (“Sihir” means nothing else as “Magic” in Indonesian language) will be a non-collectible, yet highly customizable card game in not quite the run-of-the-mill fantasy setting, borrowing heavily from Indonesian lore and myths, which is a collaborative effort between incredibly talented Indonesian artist and illustrator Audia Pahlevi, and my humble self, Andreas Propst. While I have taken the role of lead game designer, Audia will not only provide the stunning artwork you are going to see soon on this here blog post, but also acts as co-designer and advisor in the RoS project.

Before I go into some of the gameplay, let me share a personal introductory message provided by my talented friend Audia…

Audia Pahlevi, Indonesia

              Audia Pahlevi, Indonesia

“Hi, dear readers, my name is Audia Pahlevi, I am a 23 years old self Рtaught artist from Indonesia, I am really passionate in both  art and games, especially CCG games, hence Realm of Sihir (RoS) is my dream project. Through this I can put my love for CCGs and for making art into one thing, and I want to say thank you very much to my work partner Andi. He helped me a lot and made everything possible.

ROS was very much inspired by the RPG Genre, and we’ll try to make RoS as simple as possible and easy to understand but still fun to play so that future players will be able to freely customize their decks and find their own strategies. I as the artist for RoS will work hard to provide stunning visuals and card art for the game. ‚Äú

Thank you Audia, for sharing your thoughts with us… But now on to some card previews and some aspects of how RoS will be played. What I will not do is provide a full rules overview – that shall be done and covered in a future article!

So in RoS, each player starts with a band of a maximum of 5 “Heroes”. They are your characters, much like in an RPG, that will fight the opponent party with physical attacks but also summon Monsters that will fight for you and/or protect your Heroes and cast mighty Spells that will benefit your Heroes and summoned Monsters or harm the opponent Heroes and/or Monsters in some way or another. As for Heroes, there will be 5 distinct, original races which are based losely on Indonesian mythology: We have the Magnos (Humans), the Siluman (Beastfolk), Peri (which roughly translates to “Faeries”), the Naga (Dragonfolk) and lastly the Rakshasa (Titan-Demons). Have a look at the awesome concept sketch Audia did to establish the looks of the 5 races. Please note that the Peri will have insect-like wings – up to 3 pairs – which is not represented in the below concept drawings.

Heroes Class design

Besides the Hero Races, there will be 7 Hero Classes; namely Warriors, Paladins, Clerics, Shamans, Battlemages, Mages and Necromancers. Each Hero will have HP (Health Points) indicated by a red D6 (six-sided dice) on the card and MP (Magic Points) kept track of by means of a blue D6, an ATK- (Attack) Value as well as some additional effects. Furthermore, and this is important when assembling your team of up to 5 Heroes, each Hero has a BP (Battle Points) value. Your band of Heroes’ added total of BP cannot exceed 20. This means you cannot just form a team with the most powerful Heroes available but you have to be clever in assembling your team in order to not surpass the 20 BP limit. So you may want a balanced group of Heroes, some weaker/cheaper and some stronger/more expensive ones. Also you will want to have different classes of Heroes in your band and your selection of Heroes will influence how you build your deck (which contains Monster, Spell and Item cards – more on those later) heavily, as certain Monsters can only be summoned by certain Classes of Heroes and likewise, certain Spells can only be cast by certain Hero Classes. Also some Items can only be attached to Heroes of specific Classes. So you see, the initial selection of up to 5 Heroes is of utmost importance to how you build your actual deck prior to the game and to your strategy during the game. Here some eye-candy which will also visually explain the Hero cards:

 Ros Hero Card Samples & Explanation PNG

Well, don’t the first two Hero card previews look amazing?? Audia, you did a great job on the art itself but also on the card layout. I would like to seize the opportunity to thank you for your tireless and grand work once again!

In RoS, Heroes are placed in Front Row and/or Back Row, which are two zones that both players have. In the middle of the table, between the opposing players, the Battlefield is located. This is where summoned Monsters go to fight for you or protect you from opponent attacks. As for your Heroes in Front and Back Row, if you have a band of 5 Heroes, you can choose two main “Formations”. Either you chose an “Offensive Formation” with 3 strong attacker Heroes or Heroes that can take a lot of damage in Front Row and 2 supportive Heroes in back row such as Clerics who heal and bless or some sort of wizards that cast Spells and inflict Curses from the safety of the Back Row. The opposite would be a “Defensive Formation” which would mean two physically strong Heroes would occupy Front Row whilst 3 “Supporters” would be placed in Back Row. The Formation may be changed during an ongoing game by the way. In general, only Front Row Heroes can attack opponent Monsters or Front Row Heroes and can be attacked by opponent Monsters on the Battlefield¬† or opponent Front Row Heroes. Monsters with the “Defender” ability are able to block your Heroes’ or Monsters’ attacks and in order to attack Back Row Heroes you must first defeat all opponent “Defender” Monsters and defeat all opponent Front Row Heroes. But of course there are Abilities and Spells that will allow you to breach the opponent defensive lines and/or inflict direct damage to any Front or Back Row Heroes, regardless if the opponent has Defenders and/or alive Heroes in their Front Row. But in general, Back Row Heroes are for the most part well protected from harm and can summon Monsters, cast Spells and use their Abilities unhindered in most cases.

Alright, that should be enough for gameplay info (more and the first rules draft will be posted on here soon!). Now let me show you some card samples for Monsters. Spells and Items. The layout was kindly made by Audia and I modified it a wee bit. Please do note that the card previews I am about to show to you all have placeholder card art I “borrowed” from other games of my devising. In the end, Audia will be illustrating all 90+ different RoS cards, but that will take considerable time as you may be able to imagine! (Hint: We are already talking about a Crowdfunder of sorts to speed up the process!!). So first let me show you the Monster Samples. Monsters, Spells and Items are either Neutral OR belong to one of the 5 Asian/Chinese Elements – Earth, Wood, Water, Fire and Metal. And here come the Monsters (You recognize them at first glance by their blue layout background):

 RoS Monster Presentation PNG

Next up the Spells (easily recognizable by the purple layout background), again one for each of the 5 Elements as well as 1 Neutral Spell!

 RoS Spell Presentation PNG

Lastly I want to show you some Item Card Samples (Items have a green layout background). Most Items will be neutral but some may belong to an Element like the sample card to the right to be seen below:

 RoS Item Presentation PNG

OK now that you’ve seen a ton of card previews (again with placeholder art we will be using until Audia is done with the gargantuan task of illustrating all the cards personally…) I want to lastly show you a visual key to understanding what the different layout elements, stats etc on the Creature, Spell and Item cards actually mean. Have a look please:

 RoS Creature - Spell - Item Explanation PNG

OK then, dear readers and fellow CCG and/or Indie games enthusiasts, that is as much as I can (or want to??) tell you about the Realms of Sihir CCG project for now! I hope you enjoyed the awesome character art and layouts created by my friend and partner Audia and liked the card previews galore as well!

All that remains for me is to express my sincere gratitude to you, Audia, once again for your boundless enthusiasm and hard work for the project. Please, dear readers, if you find the time, do check out Audia’s art portfolio at

moonarc.deviantart.com

I would highly recommend that.

Alright, I will keep you all posted on any progress regarding the RoS project. If you want to stay up-to-date and don’t want to miss the latest news and previews, please “like” us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/realmsofsihir

Thank you for your interest and attention and I wish you all, as always

HAPPY GAMING!

Yours,

Andi

Announcing Albensang!

Dear readers and friends of fine card games in general!

In this here blog post I will be announcing my latest game (side-) project which is going to go by the name of…

Albensang cropped

…and will give you an anecdotal¬†overview of how the very game idea was conceived, what the game will be all about and more things I deem noteworthy. I can tell you right away, that it will be about (Dark and Light) Albs (A German version of the word Elves) and Dragons! But let me start the story at the very beginning:

A Game is Conceived:

Well, this time around, the first spark that was soon to ignite the flame now called Albensang ¬†(that would translate to “Song of the Elves” in the English language), actually came to me as a need. A need for a type of game that did not exist, at least not a game like that I would enjoy playing. As it happens, I can be looking forward to several longer trips to be taken by train or bus over the course of this year (visiting conventions here and there for instance) and this made me think about how bored game-addicted me always used to be during longer or shorter train rides as everyone would be minding their own business if travelling in company and playing on their handhelds or phones at the very most. I however wanted a game that could be played on the smallest of flat, even surfaces and I would refuse to just play UNO or something similar. So I more or less had to create my own “minimal space game”. That was step one in the conception of Albensang.

Next I talked to my sister, who is totally into (Japanese) Anime and Manga, and I can’t seem to remember how we ended up with this but in the end, we said let’s do the game in Anime/Manga style with my sister contributing the character names and part of the character designs at the very least. This is when I decided I would be making Albensang this year’s birthday present for my younger sister Nora, as we will be travelling by train together from district Sch√§rding in Upper Austria to Cologne in Germany, to attend Gamescom (a major video gaming convention) there, just at the time of her birthday. We would be riding the train for several hours so I figured a game like Albensang would be a great gift and pastime.

The second best idea after creating a Fantasy card game of sorts that could be played on minimal playing surfaces was the general premise of the game that came to m pretty much like in a flash of insight: Some of you will be aware of my game Elemental Clash, where the goal is to reduce the opponent deck to zero cards by means of dealing damage among other ways. So, I thought, how about something akin to “Anti-Elemental Clash”? How about, I was following my train of thoughts, instead you had to decimate your own deck down to zero cards, by clever play and combinations of cards, before your opponent could do so?! I was delighted, and the basic premise of Albensang was settled, yes, pretty much set in stone.

Finding the Theme and Artist & Some Eye-Candy:

So yeah, my sister pretty much defined the theme and setting of the game. Nora really loves Anime and Manga as mentioned before with some of her favorites being Fairy Tail and Sword Art Online (I enjoy the latter very much as well) so she wanted the style and look ¬†of the illustrations being influenced by these two mangas/animes in particular. Furthermore she is very much into Fantasy, with her favorite Fantasy Characters being Elves and, even more so, Dragons. So we soon agreed that we will have a game about Elves and Dragons, depicted in anime/manga style heavily influenced by and based on Sword Art Online and/or Fairy Tail. Nora also wanted us to have two factions; the Light Albs in alliance with “good” Dragons on the one hand ¬†and the Dark Albs closely bonded with “evil”, wicked Dragons. As I had intended the game to be a dueling, 2 players only game, that was a perfect fit.

Furthermore, I set myself the premise or challenge to design a game containing on just a 54 cards standard poker size tuckbox with cards an small rules booklet Рno extra components included or needed Рno counters, chips, dice, no nothing. 

So two decks of 25 cards, the Dark Albs Deck and the Light Albs Deck it was then, with ample room to fit the rules booklet into the standardized The Game Crafter 54 cards Poker Tuckboxes.

Next up was finding myself a talented and affordable artist on the web, and there is simply no better place to achieve that goal than deviantart. So I posted a job offer there for a laughably, maybe even insultingly low pay per image. To my surprise, I got dozens and dozens of replies to my job offer. One of them stuck out from the crowd. It was non other than the nice person from the Philippines I had been mentioning in my last post about building a starter Magic deck for the very same guy, 21 years old Aeronne “Ae” Paul Coronel. At this point, please let me show you what he is capable of by presenting you with the eye-candy as promised!

First some stunnings Sketches:

Albensang Dark Alb Sketches

From left to right: Dark Alb Wyrmrider – Dark Alb Deathbringer – Dark Alb Necromancer.

So you can see what Ae is capable of – to me his style and character designs are perfect, and especially the Wyrmrider looks magnificently kickass in my opinion!!

Next the first two colored artworks I have from Ae so far (more to come very soon as he seems to be both highly motivated and greatly motivated by my list of character names and instructions  I had sent him):

Defender & Archer small

Left: Light Alb High Guard – Right: Light Alb Archer

So yeah, we have established that the game will be looking badass in the end. By the way: There will be no duplicate cards in either the 25 cards Light Albs Deck or the 25 cards Dark Albs Deck so each character will be unique and my sister will take care of (most of) the names, whereby I will be helping her (to ensure that the names are not too cheesy… ¬†haha) and having a say in that as well. I think the final product with no less than 50 anime-style artworks will be a very visually appealing one. So much for the visual… besides those a game needs a good system and well-designed mechanics, and that’s where my humble person comes in! Let me tell you some about how the game will actually work:

Game System and Mechanics – How Albensang is Played:

So, the basic premises are twofold and where mentioned before. Just to recap, here the premises I confined myself to:

  • The game cannot have any other components besides 54 cards at max¬†&¬†a booklet¬†in a¬†tuckbox.
  • The goal of the game is to deplete your own deck to zero cards before your opponent can do so.

The second premise was most defining for the following design work, as all other mechanics in the game are based on and centered around this one. So what soon came to my mind was that A) you would be trying to get rid off as many cards in hand as possible through pulling off clever combinations of said hand cards as B) at each beginning of turn (your own as well as your opponent’s) you’d be refilling your hand up to 5 cards, which is your starting hand size as well. So the more cards you are able to play during one turn, the more cards you’d be drawing anew from your deck at each beginning of turn, thus ever faster depleting your own deck. More on this system and the combat system I developed to fit these particular combination of mechanics a bit later on. For now, let me show you by means of an illustrative graphic just how little space the game actually needs to be played as well as a card preview with explanations (I am sorry, but the card text will be in German, as I will be doing this for my non-English speaking sister – it does not really matter for showcasing purposes though!).

So here is what the whole playing field in a game of Albensang would look like:

Albensang Playing Field

So yes, that is all there is to the layout of the playing field in Albensang. Just three stacks of cards – the two player’s decks and in between the central Stack where cards will be played to. Of course each player would have a hand of cards, but as the name cardhand indicates, that is not placed on the table under normal circumstances. So you could play this game on a surface not much larger than a DVD case, which is quite neat I think and I had achieved one of my goals of creating a game I’d enjoy that is not only highly portable but can be played pretty much anywhere.

At this point I have to thank my dear friend and talented artist Dennis Saputra for doing the nice card backs as seen above as well as the full  game logo as to be seen below:

Albensang logo Final

Next and before I tell you how depleting your own deck in order to win is done, I would like to showcase the “anatomy” of an Albensang cards. In general, to save card slots / to keep the card count low, there is only one type of card. But the cool part is you can play or use it in three different ways, quite similar to what I did in the AWE Tactical Card Game previously. Play a upright as a Character, play it sideways (rotated 90¬į) as a Spell or face-down to generate resources (which are called “Vigor”, which just means life force which I see as a good alternative name to “Mana” which has been used over and over again already). I would like to seize the opportunity to extend my gratitude towards my awesome new gaming buddy Stefan, who suggested a simple and elegant alternative to the awkward resource system I had been using previously. Thank you Stefan for testing and suggesting! ūüėÄ

Albensang 3 Ways to Play a Card

And here as promised above, the explanation of an Albensang card’s anatomy. The text is all in German as I noted before but it shouldn’t matter or be any problem for showcasing and explaining the card layout and such:

Anatomy of an Albensang Card

Now about how to best deplete your own deck in order to win:

Just as a reminder: As I mentioned ¬†before, the more cards ¬†you get into your hand from your deck and the more cards you send from your hand to the central playing area (we could call it the “Stack” in English) the sooner your deck will be running out of cards, which is, as you surely remember, the victory condition in Albensang, as at the beginning of each player’s turn, both players must draw cards until they hold 5 cards in hand. That means the best case scenario would be an empty hand at the end of your turn so you’d draw a maximum number of 5 cards from your deck in the consecutive turn. And this is how you can achieve this:

By default during each turn (yours and your opponent’) you got

  • 1 Summon:¬†Play a card from hand as a Character. The Character effects will apply and the Power value as seen in the above diagram becomes relevant, because playing a Character always means participating in Combat. As the active player, you will always play the first card and considered the attacker, while the other player is considered the defender. This will matter on some cards that gain Power etc if attacking or defending.
  • 1 Cast:¬†Play a card sideways as a Spell. Spells have effects that resolve upon playing them from hand but do not have a Power value to add to the Power values of the Characters you played, unless their effect tells you so.
  • 1 Transform/Invigorate (?):¬†You may place 1 card from your hand face down on the Stack and add Vigor (Life Force – the universal resource or currency in Albensang)¬†equal to the transformed/invigorated card to your virtual “Vigor Pool”. You may use the Vigor generated this way to pay for Summoning Costs of Characters or for Casting Costs of Spells.

Now that alone would allow you to spend 3 cards per turn, sending them from hand to the Stack, but you should be striving to send as many cards as possible to the Stack in one turn. This is enabled by a concept quite reminiscent of Deckbuilding Games like Dominion or Thunderstone, but to my knowledge it has not been done before ¬†in a simple card battling game like Albensang: There are many cards that give you additional Summons, Casts and Transforms as well as cards drawing you extra cards in order to enable you to play lengthy combos exceeding the 5 cards in hand count. These cards would just say “+X Summon”, “+X Cast”, “+X Transform” as well as “Draw X (cards)”. That is basically the system. But the awesomeness (??) does not stop here! Just like this, Albensang would be ending up like some games that have been called “Multiplayer Solitaire” (the most well-known candidate for that being award-winning Dominion) as they lack player interaction and everyone is just running through their turns trying to pull off as lenghty combos as possible. To prevent Albensang from becoming another one of the ominous “Multiplayer Solitaire” games, I came up with a Combat System that ensures a lot of player interaction and fits the general system and victory condition of the game very well.

In Combat, players alternate playing cards (either transforming for Vigor, summoning a Character or casting a Spell) onto the Stack until both players say they want to pass or run out of cards and/or actions. This is called a battle. Once both  players have passed, battle is over and each player counts the Power of each of their (non-defeated Рa detail I will refrain from explaining herein) Characters. The player with the highest total Power is the winner and the loser of a battle has to return all of their face-up cards they played during the battle to the bottom of their deck (in an order of their choice), whilst the winner will be allowed to keep their cards in the Stack. In case of a tie in total Powers, all cards owned by both players remain in the Stack.

This means you MUST try to overpower your opponent in battle, through cleverly combining not only Characters but also supportive Spells in order to keep the cards you played in one battle in the Stack instead of returing them to your deck, as your ultimate goal is to reduce the latter to zero cards!

Triggers – An Advanced Rule?

I am not sure about one mechanic I do find quite appealing for several reasons and am undecided on whether or not to make it an optional or advanced players’ rule. On the one hand, it would speed up the game even more (and fast gameplay is what I want to achieve with Albensang) and add some element of luck and excitement but on the other hand it is, as our first test runs showed, easy to overlook and we constantly forgot to apply the mechanic at all. I am talking about the Trigger mechanic! Basically, it would work like that. About half of the cards in each deck have one out of 6 Trigger Icons. Whenever you play a Character, factually attacking with him or her, you’d reveal the topmost card of your Deck and check if it has a Trigger or not. If it has one, the respective Trigger is applied at once and if it has none, nothing will happen. In either case, the revealed card would be put back on top or under the deck – active player’s choice. The 6 different Triggers are shown in little orbs in different colors on the cards that have a Trigger with the first letter of the respective Trigger type on it. The different Triggers would be:

  • Z (Ziehen – Draw): Draw 1 card.
  • S (St√§rke – Power): Your Character gets¬†+1 Power.
  • B (Beschw√∂ren – Summon): You get +1 Summon.
  • W (Wirken – Cast): You get +1 Cast.
  • T (Transformieren – Transform): You get +1 Transform.
  • D (Dezimieren – Deplete/Decimate) Put the revealed cardonto the Stack face-down immediately.

Again I am really not sure what to do with the Trigger Ability. The game is easier and works as well without it but on the other hand it profits from playing wiht the Trigger Mechanic in place as well. I think I will just make it an optional rule, advising beginners to ignore the Triggers altogether whereas advanced Players could enjoy playing the game with the Trigger Mechanic in effect!


 

And this is pretty much all I can tell you so far about my progress on Albensang, which I want to have finalized and printed by beginning of August this year, right in time for my sister Nora’s birthday on August 8th! Should be possible, also from the art side, as Aeronne said doing 50 characters until mid-July would be feasible for him.

So yeah, I hope you found my rather lengthy ramblings on the newest game project of mine at least somewhat entertaining and insightful and hopefully you enjoyed the awesome art of Aeronne as much as I enjoy it!

Thank you Ae, Dennis, Nora, Stefan and all other contributors!

Well, all that remains for me to say now is, as always,

HAPPY GAMING!

Yours,

Andi

Announcing Fantasy Pixel Monsters CCG – The Pixelated Card Battles Video Game!

Dear readers and friends of fine card games and retro-style pixel art!

In this here article I want to announce and introduce you to my latest, upcoming project that involves both game design and pixel art, two fields in which I excel, as I am being told constantly, going by the name of …

FPM Cover Image PNG

That is right: Fantasy Pixel Monsters! FPM will be a virtual CCG which will come to many platforms such as PC, Android and iOS among others which I am doing in cooperation with my good friend and programmer par excellence Zack Bertok from the United States of America, for whom I did and am still doing pixel artwork for his current project Siralim (do check it out at http://www.siralim.com!). Over the course of our months-long collaboration it became evivdent that we harmonize well with each other – Zack greatly appreciated my work on Siralim – so I just suggested that we could do a collaborative project, me providing fine pixel art and assets and Zack doing the programming work, after Siralim was finished and, to my delight, Zack was all in for the idea without any convincing work needed on my part.

So let it be known far and wide, in Summer this year 2015 we will get started on our work on the Fantasy Pixel Monsters CCG! What we have planned is something similar to the old Gameboy Color Pokemon TCG adventure game if anyone even remembers that still. So it will be a virutal, video game implementation of a CCG (CCG as in “Customizable Card Game”) in which you play through an RPG-style adventure and battle lots of opponents (NPCs) as well as collect cards to extend your collection and to enhance your deck(s). The cool thing and the major difference between FPM CCG and the old GBC Pokemon TCG implementation will be that there will be online play implemented so you can contest real players from all over ther world, as well as other common, modern video game features/gimmicks such as an achievements and unlockables system, leaderboards and everything – all state of the art.

The game will feature the finest of pixel art created by myself as you can see some samples of above and will be avaiblable on Steam eventually as it now looks like! Furthermore, a crowdfunder is planned as well, but the good thing is we don’t really rely on any Kickstarter money or the likes of that as most of the costs are covered since I can handle the art and game design and Zack can take care of the programming. The main goal of a KS or Indiegogo campaign would be A) to raise money for properly promoting FPM so we can get a lot of people to play and enjoy the game, a big, teeming community being desirable for all online players, and B) to advertise for FPM CCG as we go along! So yeah we’d be happy to see YOU join us on the crowdfunding platform of our choice later this year to raise the funds needed¬†to make FPM popular and successful worldwide!

Lastly, a few words about the game itself:

FPM CCG is in some aspects similar to the well-known and popular Pokemon TCG as to that you also fight your opponent with various kinds of Monsters which can be evolved over the course of the game. However, in FPM CCG, the game mechanics of how that all is done are vastly different. Without praising my own “mad skillz” in game design, I would call it “the good Pokemon TCG” in some ways, as I addressed some of the glaring defects in the Pokemon TCG game system and mechanics and tried to fix them in the process of designing the FPM CCG. I may post a follow-up article elaborating on that but just take my word for it for now that the system works a lot better than the original Pokemon TCG set of mechanics.

So in FPM, each player chooses a party of 3 Basic (Stage 1) Monsters as their team that will fight the opponent party of Monsters in the game and then builds a deck around these Monsters, each of which will belong to one of 5 Elements (Nature, Chaos, Water, Light, Dark) as well as to one of 5 Classes (Warrior, Cleric, Wizard, Beast, Dragon). The Deck itself contains Skills (the actual attacks, defensive moves, abilities etc.) and Items. The Monster cards however are never shuffled into the deck of Skill and Item cards. Here a sample of each of the three main card types:

Card Samples PNG

Besides the 3 Monster cards you begin the game with and the 40 cards player’s Decks, each player has a small side-decks containing all the higher stage evolutions of each of their Basic Monsters as well as special Evolutions (optionally). Now each time a Monster uses an Action (attacks, defends, uses an ability etc.) It will gain 1 XP (Experience Point). Once a certain XP threshold (printed on the Monster card) is met, you can evolve the Monster into its next stage of evolution by conveniently taking the next stage card from your Evolutions Deck (the small side-decks mentioned above) and put it onto the previous stage Monster card. That is basically how evolution works in the FPM CCG! Have a look at an evolutionary line below:

Evolutions Sample

The actual fighting is done by means of Skill cards which may or may not be limited to certain classes and evolutionary stages. Here it is really important to adjust your selection of Skills you add to your Deck to the kind of Monsters that form your starting Monster party, as not all Skills can be used by all kinds of Monsters.

Also, choosing an offensive battle formation (2 Monsters in Front Row and 1 in Back Row) or a defensive battle formation (1 in Front and 2 in back Row) is a strategic/tactical decision you need to make prior to the actual game.

And that in a nutshell is all I want to tell you about the Fantasy Pixel Monster CCG! Well the prototype is done and already ordered and I will keep you updated if there is any news on this latest of my many project!

I for one am excited to get this started and would like to thank my partner Zack at this point!

Game on everyone!

Yours,

Andi

 

Dreams of Dystopia: Very First Playtest Session – A Photostory

Dear readers!

Just the day before yesterday I received my admittedly-awesome looking (thanks to the stunning artwork of Robert “Misfit” Modelski) copy of my latest game prototype: Dreams of Dystopia (DoD for short), the “Deckbuilding Game with a TWIST”!

In this short photostory I will recount my or our experiences with the game – keep in mind this is the VERY FIRST prototype version 0.1 althought it might not look like such – over the course of our first test game, which lasted longer than expected but was exciting and tense all through never getting boring or into stalemate situations and such. I will not explain in depth how the game actually works. If you want to know about that I refer you to my introductory article here. You will also find the full rules at the end of the linked article! OK let’s get going!!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I was mighty excited when I got this in them mail (and yes, a full four player action game fits neatly in the small and highly portable box as seen above) and was very eager to test it! All thanks to my good friend and loyal “boy companion” Robin, I didn’t have to wait long to do so and so we got this to the table the very next day after I received the game, so yesterday!

The rules were explained in a matter of minutes, which I regard as a great quality in any game – only setting up the playing field, the “Supply” mostly, which is the place from where you “buy” or “acquire” your new cards, took some time but wasn’t much of a hassle overall and is rather standard for most “Dominion Style” Deckbuilding Games. The only real downside of DoD here is that you need a rather large tabel to play, as you got 16 differnet Minions, 8 different Weapons all with their separate card stacks as well as a stack for Curse and Heroic Deed cards. So you can’t exactly play this on a small coffee table or whatever but this should be a minor issue and we resorted to our kitchen table. This is how the game looked like all set-up:

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

To the left you can see the 16 different “Minion” cards you will be able to recruit throughout the game and to the right there are the 8 different Weapons that are “for sale”. Also to be seen in the top left and bottom right the two “Masters” of which each player chooses one and chooses whether to play them as “Divine” or “Demonic” (each card has a Divine and a semonic Side – hence the use of card sleeves – you can see them to the extreme left) is mandatory) , with a red D20 indicating their starting / current Life Points. In DoD, the aim of the game is to reduce the opponents’ Masters Life Points from X (X can never be more than 20) to zero, hence the game is VERY combat-centered and hence very interacive. My gaming buddy Robin chose the Demonic Razalgaar the Reckless, giving all his attacking Demonic Minions +1 ATK, ¬†which turned out to be a major advantage (not as much of an advantage to be broken/unbalanced though) with starting LP of 16 whilst I chose to tread the Divine path with the “vanilla” Jilocasin the Saint, with starting LP of 20 but no special abilities.

The choice of a Divine or a Demonic Master matters mostly during the early game, due to the “FAME-System” I implemented in the stead of a standard resource system as seen in most Deckbuilders. If you have a Divine Master you can recruit Divine¬†Minions at face value (your Fame will be increasing by playing “Heroid Deed” cards, which are limited to one per turn and 2 of these are contained in your 10 cards starting deck – there are however many ways to add more “HD” cards to your deck and to break the one HD per turn limit) whilst you have to have at least 2 extra Fame if you want to recruit an “off faction” Demonic Minion for instance. Later on in the game, and it did beautifully work out that we gradually increased our Fame hitting the max of 20 (Fame is indicated by a blue D20 placed on your Master accordingly) during late game. Still we did not always recruit just the highest “cost” Minions even if able through having 20 Fame, but always those we needed most at a certian time.

Here is a shot taken mid-game, in which you can see my playtester number one, Robin, thinking hard and making choices:

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Although we played for about 2 hours, the game felt and turned out quite fast-paced with very easy to learn but probably hard to master gameplay. Also, having to put each new card you add to your deck from the Supply into an opaque-back card sleeve wasn’t much of a hassle at all and my esitmate of 50 sleeves per player (you can see a pack of 100 standard size game sleeves in we used in the above picture) was more or less spot on.

Here you can see what you will be seeing a lot in DoD: Sleeving of cards you just “acquired”:

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

When you acquire a card, you choose which faction it will be – Divine or Demonic – and put it in your sleeves accordingly. There will be, mind you, losts of ways to “reverse” cards, switch them from Divine to Demonic and vice versa mid game and I was exceedingly pleased to actually see that happen in our first test game and furhtermore to see how we started towards mid-game to recruit off-faction cards as well, so neither Robin’s nor my deck was purely Divine or Demonic at the end! Exactly what I had been aiming for when designing the game system and mechanics – a very rewarding feeling for me as a designer I cannot help but tell you!

And here an image of the mad designer himself Рhe is aiming for the kill as you can see in the stern look on his face!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Although¬†I was aiming for an hour when I designed the whole thing, the game took us about 2 hours not taking into account set-up and rules explanation and discussion, but the cool thing was that the game felt exciting and tense throughout, without any statlemate situations, “runaway-leader” issues or “turtling in” by either of the two of us. What made the overall gameplay experience so exciting and never ever boring was that there was more “back and forth” than I could have possibly wished for. For me, not seeing who will be the winner in the end until the end comes VERY near is a huge quality in any game and I think we turned the tables in favor of either of us, Robin or I, like 4 or 5 times during one game, meaning there were times when either of us was at almost zero Life Points but then managed to recover up to full health or beyond even whilst beating down the LP of the opponent to a very low level, only to be turned around soon after. That is probably one of the things that satisfy and please me most in any games, not only my own creations, this “back and forth” as I call it and I am ¬†of course exceedingly pleased to see it happen in games of my own devising, even more so when it happens so abundanlty in a Proto version 0.1!

Here another shot of the playing field in the middle of our first game of DoD:

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I must note that both Robin and I chose very different strategies, Robin buying quite some Weapons to support his Minions while my approach used no Weapons at all and was a wee bit more defensive. Again, up to the very end, nobody could really tell who would emerge victorious and we both somehow intuitively built very much capable decks as it seemed, which again was a pleasant experience for me as a designer. Robin won in the end and I think it is a very good sign in favor of the game that it is easy enough to understand and play, yet being highly complex when it comes to the finer things in strategy, that two bloody beginners (well, I had the benefit that I had come up with the whole thing) could build competitive and relatively equal decks right from the first time they play the game. Again something I regard as a quality in DoD!

Here a close-up of a neat situation (in Robin’s favor) which my buddy insisted me to capture in a photo:

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

You can barely see it but it is none less than Robin attacking with the (stats-wise) strongest Minion in the game, the Champion of the Moon/Sun, with an ATK of 12 being boosted by 3 Weapons at the same time – Blades of the Fallen Angel, Fiend’s Handguns and Nether Bone Clubs – thus totalling in at no less than 26 ATK – I think I ruined the whole thing by just blocking with one Minion with the awesomely useful “Defender” Ability. In DoD, excess damage, either way, bleeds through to the opponent’s Life Points so if I had blocked with a Minion with like 10 DEF, my Master would still have lost 16 Life Points. Not with a Defender. Even if the Defender has but 1 DEF, the Defender keyword just says he absorbs ALL excess damage which proved a good counter and life insurance in many a case, without leading to stalemate situations.

Anyways, even if I was able to stop the 26 damage rush seen above short, Robin won in the end and he earned it!! Just look at him:

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Overall I must say that I am VERY excited about the game after our first test-run and EXCEEDINGLY pleased how everything turned out and fell into place in the end. If you are not familiar with the way I design games, an approach I also applied in the case of DoD: Usually I come up with a full game, that includes basic and central as well as specific rules and mechanics as well as a list of prototype cards over the course of one or two afternoons (or nights…) and, as if I hadn’t praised myself enough already in the above, miraculously and unexplicably to me, my “Speed Design” approach, as I like to call it, never once failed me. I suck at maths and statistics as I have to note and I have nothing but my “game designers intuition based on half a dozen years of experience in intense and active game design. So the concept and cards I make up in one or two days at max are then converted into a first prototype (this is just assembling the cards and stuff in Photoshop), which usually takes a few days as the Photoshop “assembly” part can be quite a chore, ¬†and then I usually upload to and order from http://www.thegamecrafter.com, without any furhter analysis or preliminary testing, hoping for the bet that what I had made up in my mind and converted into cards etc would work out as intended in the end. This seeminlgy utterly foolish appraoach of designing games in such a rush has, oddly, never once failed me, as many of my playtesters for various of my protos can give testimony about and as many games, some of which are or will be published soon, stand witness to. And in fact DoD is a prime example to the fact that my approach DOES work (for me at least) as everything seemed so terrifically balanced already, the card effects, stats and such (of course there will always be minor issues to be addressed and cards to be tweaked – yet the rules stand firm and worked out perfectly as far as I ma concerned!) – long story short, I was intrigued and so was Robin who gave a massive Thumbs-Up for DoD!!

But enough of that. All in all I am VERY happy with how everything turned out and fell into place almost flawlessly in the DoD Prototype 0.1 and cannot wait what other playtesters might have to say¬†about the game (I am looking in your direction, Mr Seater!) AND I cannot wait to take this to the imminent Vienna Spielefest (Games Festival), where I will have my very own designer’s table to present DoD and my other games! Exciting times ahead!

Well you guys, that’s it for my photostory report of our very first 2 player Dreams of Dystopia testing session. I do apologize for the plentiful bravado but I simply couldn’t contain my grand excitement for this newest creation of mine. I hope you don’t mind and humbly ask for your understanding! I will keep you updated on DoD as well as on my other undertakings in the world of game design – as a matter of course!

Thanks for your interest, time and attention and

HAPPY GAMING

Sincerely yours,

Andi

 

P.S.: Thank you Robin for being such a good friend and my first “victim” for DoD and Thank you Rob for providing your awesome artwork and putting so much trust and confidence in my game design skills!! You guys rock!!!

Introducing: Dreams of Dystopia – A Deckbuilding Game with a TWIST!

Introducing DoD PNG

Dear readers and friends of “Dominion-Style” Deckbuilding Games!

We at AP Games (that is actually just my humble self) are both proud and excited to announce our upcoming game

“Dreams of Dystopia”

which will be a postapocalyptic and dystopic

“Deckbuilding Game with a TWIST!”

Before I will plunge into explaining you how the game works  and what will make it special and unique (VERY unique indeed) compared to others of its ilk (and there are plenty of similar Deckbuilders that followed in the footsteps of the revolutionary Dominion), let me share with you the story how this game was conceived real briefly:

Some time, not too long ago, a highly talented artist going by the name of Robert “Misfit” Modelski and hailing from the United States, who had done a few great illustrations for one of my other game projects, approached me with a question which was to turn into a bold proposal and indeed an unique and exciting opportunity for me: Rob asked me for advice basically saying “I have these 30+ artworks all finished and all with consitant style and theme.” and asking me if game designers like myself would be willing to buy this package of high class artworks. After some discussion, Rob and I agreed to do something completely different in the end: As I like me a good challenge, I proposed that I could design a kickass game around these about 30 pre-existing artworks and so Rob and I became partners and that was how and when Dreams of Dystopia was born!

DoD Box Shot Preview

Rob provided the awesome artwork and I came up with a (hopefully) equally awesome game concept and we are bound to get this funded together eventually – after the game has been tweaked, tried and tested to the max for quite a while obviously.

So the challenge I faced was to make a game with about 30 – 40 pre-existing artworks. However brilliant the artworks may be, and they surely can be called that, with so few pieces of art only one type of card game came to my mind that would be feasible with around 30 artworks:

A Dominion-Style Deckbuilding Game.

These require comparatively few artworks whilst providing tons of choices and different strategies and a lot of variety in gameplay anyways, so I was determined to do the best Deckbuilding Game I could come up with built around and based on the artworks Rob kindly provided. So far I have designed only one Deckbuilder, together with my co-designer Nate More (that would be Biomechanical Dino Battles), so this was and is a first for me – designing a Deckbuilding Game all on my own. The experience from BDB surely was a great benefit in my design process so far.

I shall now get to how the actual game works and to showing you some eye-candy in the form of some¬†awesomley illustrated (thanks to Rob!) card previews. But first of all, let me tell you about the “TWIST” in this particular Deckbuilding Game, which I deem to be a most unique feature not seen in any other Deckbuilder or in fact in any card game in general so far:

In Dreams of Dystopia, each card has two sides: The “Divine” version of the particular card will be printed on one side and the “Demonic” version will be printed on the other.

Right at¬†the beginning of the game, you will be forced to choose to play your Character card, your Master, either in their Divine or their Demonic “incarnation”. This will have quite some bearing on your deckbuilding and gameplay options throughout the game. But even though you have to choose your side right from the start of the game, there are plenty of ways to reverse your cards mid-game actually so you will be able to “transform” your deck and thus your strategy from Divine to Demonic and vice versa during the ongoing game. So reversing your deck’s cards or even your Master themselves during a game of Dreams of Dystopia will be possible and play a major role in strategic gameplay. Futhermore, I intend to make it possible and even a viable strategy to choose the “path of twilight”, using both Divine and Demonic cards side by side that is.

That all being said, please note that the game has to be played with opaque card sleeves in which you’d insert you the cards you add to your deck during the game, with the side of your choice visible and the back being concealed by the sleeve so your opponent’s will not know which cards you have in hand. Rob and I will try to raise funds for having proper, custom design Dreams of Dystopia card sleeves manufactured!

OK so on to how the game is actually played:

In DoD (short for Dreams of Dytopia), which is intended for 2 – 4 players, the first thing you do is you choose a Master to be your Avatar in the game. You have to choose whether you want to use the Master’s Divine side or their Divine side. Each Master has a number of LP (Life Points) and the goal of the game is to reduce these Life Points (maximum LP is 20) to zero by means of attacking the opponent Master(s) with your Minions or, to a lesser extent, through certain abilities that cause a Master to lose LP. Here are 3 different Masters out of the 6 coming in the base game – with their Divine side on the left and their Demonic side on the right:

Some Masters PNG

 

As in every Deckbuilding Game, each player will start out with a standard starting deck consisting of the exact same cards, with the only differnce being that if you chose a Divine Master you will get the Divine Starting Minions and if you chose Demonic you’ll get their Demonic alter-egos. Here is what a Divine starting deck will look like:

Starting Deck PNG

As you can see, the starting deck consists of 10 cards total, of which 4 are Starting Minions, 4 are so called “Curse Cards” and 2 are “Heroic Deeds”. Over the course of the game, as per normal in a Dominion-Style Deckbuilder, you will be acquiring (buying) new cards from a central Supply. In the card Supply are there are no less than 16 different Minions of various power and cost levels with all kinds of abilities, 8 different Weapons that will support your Minions in battle as well as 20 Curse Cards and 20 Heroic Deeds. By acquiring new cards you will be expanding and enhancing your deck over the course of the game itself, which is the very essence of any Deckbuilding Game since Dominion.

The Minions in your starting Deck will be used to attack your opponent’s Master and to block, to defend against that is, opponent attacks.

Curse - Heroic Deed

The Curses are just dead cards in your hand – actually you are “Cursed from the very beginning” with 4 Curses in your starting deck, which I think is very thematic and flavorful in the dystopian, postapocalyptic world of DoD – and you should get rid of them as soon as you can. There are plenty of ways to do so, but beware, cause there are also ways to inflict additional Curses, cards, that is, that add Curses to a player’s deck.

The Heroic Deed cards can be used to increase your Master’s FAME. LP are kept track of by means of a red D20 (20-sided dice) and the FAME, which will be increasing over the course of the game will be kept track of a blue D20. So the maximum LP and FAME you can have will be 20 for each. You are allowed to perform 1 Heroic Deed per turn. You do so by discarding a Heroic Deed card from your hand, which will increase your FAME by 1. There will be ways to add more Heroic Deed cards to your deck as well as cards that let you play additional Heroic Deeds in one turn, so your FAME will grow faster.

FAME is needed to recruit Minions. The more powerful overall a Minion card is the higher their LOYALTY. In order to “recruit” (buy) a Minion from the Supply, your FAME must be equal or higher than the LOYALTY of the Minion you intend to add to your deck. This FAME – LOYALTY concept is quite a neat way to circumvent the need of a resource system and thus the game has no resource cards at all, as opposed to Dominion and many other similar Deckbuilders, which I see as a quality in DoD. Let me show you a few Minion Card samples:

Some Minions PNG

Besides the LOYALTY, displayed in the orb in the top left corner of the card (a white orb indicates a Divine and a black orb a  Demonic character), each Minion has 3 stats to be seen in the orbs to the lower left hand side of the cards. From top to bottom they are Attack (ATK) in red, Defense (DEF) in green and laslty Skill (SKL) in yellow. ATK determines the power of the Minion when it is used as an attacker, DEF indicates how much damage the Minion can absorb when being used as a blocker to oppose an opponent attacker and SKL determines which Weapons the Minion can use. The higher the SKL, the more powerful Weapons the Minion will be able to use. Also, each Minion has 1 Р3 types of Effects (Look at the topmost one for instance, as that one has all three different card effects). You may use one out of the 1 Р3 effects during your turn. The three are:

  • ABILITY: You can discard the Minion to activate his ABILITY, which will give you various benefits as I will explain more later on
  • SUPPORT: When one of your Minion is attacking or blocking, this Minion can SUPPORT the other one by discarding them for some additional bonuses to be applied to your fighting Minion.
  • COMBAT: These are additional bonuses you will get when this Minion attacks or blocks. Many times it will say “Upon Attack”, which means you get the abilities as specified upon declaring an Attack, or “Upon Hit” which indicates an ability you only get when you hit your opponent (caused him to lose LP as result of your attack), or “Upon Block” which in turn means an additional effect if the Minion is used as a blocker.

Weapons can be discarded during combat to strengthen your fighting Minion or give them certain additional abilities. They¬†can be acquired from the Supply without having to meet any requirements. However just grabbing “the biggest gun” would not make much sense, since each Weapon has a SKL-Requirement. And a Minion can only use a certain Weapon in battle if their SKL-value (the yellow one) is at least equal or higher than the SKL-Requirment printed in the white (Divine) or black (Demonic) orb on the Weapon card. Here some visual samples:

Some Weapons PNG

As you can see, each Weapon has, besides the aforementioned SKL-Requirment in the top left corner orbs, a red orb and a green orb. The red orb corresponds with the Minion’s ATK value and modifies it as indicated on the Weapon card. Likewise, the green orb contains the Defense-Modifier if you use the Weapon on a defending Minion of yours. Furthermore, all Weapons have some special effects in text form as well.

About the Flow of the Game:

As in every Deckbuilding Game, in DoD, everyone starts with their 10 cards starting deck as described above. Furhtermore, the number of actions a player can take during each turn is limited, but all these limits can be broken by acquiring and using new cards you added to your ever-growing and constantly improving deck, as you will be pursuing one of countless different winning strategies (at least this is what the game SHOULD be like when it is done – please keep in mind all you see and read here is from and about the very first Prototype, despite the quite final looks of the game!).

At the beginning of the game, after all is set up (the Supply etc) each player will put their Master and 10 card starting deck into sleeves, according to their initial choice between Divine and Demonic, and then shuffle their deck and draw a starting hand of 5 cards from it. Then, starting with the youngest player and clockwise around the table, players take turns in which they can do any of the following things ONCE, in any order, save for Acquisition, which always concludes Main Phase and takes your right to End Phase:

  • Combat: Attack with one of your Minions
  • Ability: Discard¬†one of your Minions for their Ability
  • Heroic Deed: Discard a Heroic Deed from hand ot gain 1 Fame

After these things are done, you may Acquire 1 card from your supply. If it is a Minion you must have enough FAME. As for Weapons there are no requirements as discussed above.

As in any Deckbuidling Game, there will be plenty of card effects that grant you additional Actions such as +X Combat, +X Ability, +X Acquisition or +X Heroic Deed as well as other beneficial effects such as Gain X LP, Take X LP (which will allow you to decrease an opponent’s LP directly) or abilities that say “Draw X”, which will allow you to draw X cards from your deck immediately. Whenever your Deck runs out of cards, you just shuffle your Discard to form a new Deck to draw from. And this is how newly acquired cards, which all land in the Discard first, will be added to your Deck – whenever it is reshuffled and formed anew.

During End-Phase which follows your Main Phase, all you do is discard all leftover cards from your hand and draw 5 new from your deck!

What makes DoD really special though is the double-sided cards – a central game mechanic I try to “capitalize” on in a game design and gameplay sense a lot. As announced initially, choosing sides – Divine or Demonic – will be crucial and give you a borad choice of many different strategies depending on which path you took initially, whilst it is my goal that such “twilight decks” using both Demonic and Divine cards in a clever manner and combination will be viable as well. The reversing of cards mid-game, taking them out of the sleeve and putting them back in the other way around, changing a Minion or Weapon from Divine to Demonic and vice versa will also play a part and will be a choice that matters in the end – if I did my job well. Heck, there will be even at least one way to make your Master switch sides in the base game of DoD!

All in all and as it looks now at the very beginning of the project, Dreams of Dystopia deserves the title of “A Deckbuilding Game with a Twist” and I will do my very best to live up to that slogan! Expect more news on the game as we go along the path ultimately leading to getting the game funded – one way or another. Lastly, a HUGE thank you to Rob “Misfit” Modelski for entrusting me with his valuable vault of DoD artworks. Glad to have you as a partner Rob!

Alright that is Dreams of Dystopia for you, dear readers! I will keep you updated on the porgress of the game!!

Happy Gaming,

Sincerely yours,

Andi

 

P.S.: I am looking for crafty and, most important, reliable playtesters. IF you are interested, please mail me at andreas.propst31@gmail.com! THX!!

P.P.S.: Here are the full game rules for those who want MORE: Dreams of Dystopia Rules Manual V. 0.1 (Very first VERY rough draft mind you!)

 

 

PANZER CLASH launching on INDIEGOGO Oct. 1st 2014

“Bringing an Old Game of Mine Back to Life¬†–¬†Better than Ever Before!!”

FB Cover 4

Dear readers and people with a general interest in historical matters – especially the WW2 era!

I am very pleased to share with you an awesome announcement regarding a card game of mine that few may remember, and even fewer will remember the fact that it was in fact printed and published by now gone for good and for good reasons TOG Entertainment, USA. Years ago I fought to get back the rights to Panzer Clash, a Light, Card-Based War Game for 2 Players, from said company,¬†and luckily I was successful, but afterwards, the game was forgotten and sent to “game purgatory”. Just today however, I had the genius (?) idea to dig deeply into my bountifully filled vault of games of my own devising, and the gem my digging produced was none other than the Panzer Clash Customizable Card Game!

As everything is done and the game has been finished for years (remember it had been printed and published by TOG Entertainment previously already) and I am only lacking the funds to have it printed in larger quantities, I am exceedingly pleased to announce, and quite unexpectedly to me as well, that…

Panzer Clash will be launching on Indiegogo in little more than a week from now, on October 1st 2014 to be more precise!

The upcoming Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaing, which will last all throughout October and end on Sunday, 2nd November midnight sharp, will be AWESOME for several reasons and we at AP Games are very excited about being to offer you some very special things over the course of said campaign. Here’s just a few highlights:

  • You will be able to secure your copy of the Panzer Clash “Mega Pack”, which will be a fully customizable game containing more than 400 cards – enough for nearly unlimited deckbuilding options by combining all “Base Set” cards of all four of the warring factions in one big box. We are as of now waiting for the final pricings from our US printer but promise to offer you the best deal possible money-wise!!
  • There will be a limited edition/pledge level of 350 copies of the game including the Official Panzer Clash Soundtrack, which is a compilation of various Metal tracks from such big names as Sabaton, Endstille and Hammerfall that is NOT available anywhere except in the upcoming Indiegogo¬†campaign.
  • We will have awesome extra items in store for you such as four different Panzer Clash fan shirts – one design for each faction.
  • And here probably the most awesome highlight of all: We plan to include unique “General” cards in the game, which are not only a novelty in the game but you will be able to get YOUR PORTRAIT of a WW2 Panzer General immortalized on one of these cards as a truly unique perk/backer reward! Plus a Panzer Clash goodie bag consisting of several copies of the game and a shirt etc will be ¬†yours as well!

But enough for the bravado and Crowdfunding madness announcements.

Let me move on and tell you all a bit about the actual game, how it works and what makes it unique!

ABOUT THE GAME:

First of all a disclaimer that should be obsolete but just to have this out of the way once and for all: We at AP Games are fanatic pacifists and although the Panzer Clash Customizable Card Game is set in the horrible WW2 era, we do not intend to glorify war or even promote Naziism or anything like that. The sole purpose of this game is to entertain, it is entirely unpolitical as we ourselves are and should, at best, create awareness for certain historical events, which, as horrible as they were, should never be forgotten. We strive to contribute to that cause!

So now on to the actual game:

Panzer Clash is a light, card based war game for 2 players that takes about 20 mins to 45 hours (play time can vary greatly due to various factors). If I would have to compare Panzer Clash to an well known other card game I would call it similar to Magic: the Gathering, as you build decks and then battle with your opponent in both games. But that is pretty much where the similarities end. Obviously, Panzer Clash adopts a rarely seen theme, as opposed to a plethora of fantasy-themed CCGs that flooded and still flood the games market. Furthermore, the goal of the game is very unique and seldom seen as well. As a retheme of my somewhat popular Fantasy CCG “Elemental Clash”, the goal of the game is to reduce the opponent deck of cards to zero before the other player does. In order to achieve that goal, you try to inflict damage to your opponent by means of Units (Tanks, Infantry etc) and Events of various powers. For each one damage dealt to your opponent through your Units and Events, they have to discard the top card of their deck to their discard pile. As soon as a player is required to draw (you must draw a card during each turn) and cannot do so because their deck is depleted, they lose immediately.

So in Panzer Clash, you have Unit cards that fight for you or defend you against opponent attacks:

Unit Card Samples Presentation

As you can see, in the Panzer Clash Base Game, all 4 major warring factions of the WW2 Era are represented. There will also be Neutral Cards that belong to neither faction. Besides your Units that attack and defend mostly and stay on the field until destroyed, you have supporting Event cards that either have some beneficial effects on you or harm your opponent one way or another. There are three types: Regular Events that you can use in your Main Phase, Flash Events that you can use any time, even during the opponent’s turn, provided you have the resources available, and Permanent Events that remain in play until destroyed by certain cards (or until the game ends!). Here some samples for Event cards… Again one for each faction – there will be plenty of Neutral ones as well that can be used by any faction.

Event Card Samples Presentation

Besides Units and Events there are the Terrain and Terrain Modifiers Cards to be placed on the former. The Terrain Cards is probably THE most unique and innovative element in Panzer Clash, which sets it even apart from the first, the original “Clash Game” Elemental Clash. I shall explain briefly how the Terrain cards mechanic works ¬†and why I think it is such a great fit for this game in particular and furthermore adds a new layer of strategy to the whole game, adding tremendous depth gameplay-wise. But first have a look at the Terrain cards and Terrain Modifiers:

Terrain Card Samples Presentation

Terrain Modifier Card Samples Presentation

 

So the Terrain mechanic works like this basically: Besides the two Player’s Decks there is one seperate “Terrain Deck” containing various types of Terrain cards like Cities, Villages, Plains, Forests and so forth (you can see some in the above sample images). Before every game of Panzer Clash, during setup, you shuffle the 30 cards Terrain Deck and then place on the table a grid of 4 rows times 5 columns of face-down Terrain Cards without looking at them, so at random. This is the “battelfield” on which your Units will be moving around, always headed towards your opponent’s “Back Row” in order to inflict direct damage on them. Terrain cards are turned face up as soon as a Unit is trying to move onto one of them. This creatures a nice “Fog of War” effect seen in many strategic video games and adds an element of unpredictability and luck (as there are beneficial and harmful Terrain types) and gives the game tremendous additional strategic depth, since you will face tough choices when trying to move around your Units most efficiently on a previously unknown grid of Terrain Cards. And no game of Panzer Clash will be the same through the very nature of the randomly created battlefield that is implemented in the form of Terrain cards.

Before moving on, a word on the resource system: There is only one type of “Resource Cards” in the game: Factories. You will stack your Factories on each other in your Factory Row that is located before you Back Row of Terrain Cards in order to be able to afford higher cost and thus more powerful Units and Events and always have the choice to either start a new Factory Stack in order to deploy more cheaper Units faster OR to add an additional Factory to an existing Stack in order to be able to afford the costlier Units and Events! You can place one Factory per turn by the way.

So much for the Panzer Clash Customizable Card Game. As the last part of this introductory article, let me showcase the awesome Panzer Clash Official Soundtrack Audio CD (Compilation):

About the CD:

As I said before, the Official Panzer Clash Soundtrack will be a special you will get on top of your copy of your game, strictly limited to 350 units (as no more do exist as a matter of fact – at least not in my posssession). The Panzer Clash Soundtrack is as of now available NOWHERE except through the upcoming Indiegogo Campaign. It features songs from big names in Heavy Metal, but also contributions from lesser known artists, some of which have taken the trouble to write and produce songs exclusively for the Panzer Clash Official Soundtrack, which is of highest possible production quality, as I would like to point out. But pictures say more than words, so have a look at the Soundtrack in physical form:

PC Soundtrack CD small

And here is the line-up in the form of a more or less representative image:

soundtrack press release poster updated small

 

And lastly, if you couldn’t quite make it out above, here’s the line-up along with the song titles to be featured on the Panzer Clash Soundtrack!

PC soundtrack inlay small

…and what a mighty line-up it is!!

Closing this rather long introduction, I thank you all for your interest and hope to see you on Indiegogo soon!!

Let the Clash of Panzers begin!!! (Well, only in cardboard form as I do sincerely hope!!)

Yours truly,

Andi, AP Games

 

P.S.: For a full visual card spoiler please visit http://www.panzerclash.com

P.P.S.: As a little teaser as the very last thing I will torment you with in this one article, one song from the Panzer Clash Soundtrack!

 

Introducing: EVOsaurs – A Card Game of Mutation and Natural Selection!

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Dear readers!

I am very pleased to be able to announce to you YET another games project of mine, that is all about dinosaurs and evolution by means of mutation and natural selection as first proposed by Charles Darwin – hence the title of the game: EVOsaurs!

In Evosaurs, each player starts out with 3 generic “Basic Dinosaur” cards which mutate (more or less) randomly, gaining both beneficial and harmful “modifications” this way while constantly being put to the test of survival in various natural events of beneficial or harmful nature as well. The game, in its basic form, is probably more of a simulation, trying to implement the very mechanics of mutation and selection, in a vastly simplified manner as a matter of course, as drives evolution in real life nature and as seen and well-documented in natural history at large.

So during a game of EVOsaurs, your dinosaurs will be subject to beneficial¬†or harmful¬†mutations, whilst being constantly put to the test of survival through certain natural events. The goal of the game is to be the player with the most total population among their surviving dinosaurs (of course your species can go extinct as well) at the end of the game – that is the case when the 50 cards “Selection Deck” containing the aforementioned natural events, runs out of cards.

Let me give you a more in depth look at the inner workings of EVOsaurs. You may stop reading here if the above answered all your questions about my new creation already! ūüėČ

So as mentioned before, each player starts with 3 identical, generic, so called “Basic Dinosaurs” with a basic Fitness (FIT) of 1. FIT is the universal value that drives the game and determines many things, such as population gain or loss during certain events that involve what could be called “Fitness-Checks”. More on that later. Here is an image of what your Basic Dinosaur would look like:

Basic Dinosaur copy

There is not much to it actually, just the card name on top, the card image in the center and the Fitness Icon in the bottom right corner. The red area is where you will be putting small, six-sided dice to keep track of the species’ current population count.

Besides the Basic Dinosaurs, of which 3 are dealt to each player at the beginning of the game, Evosaurs consists of two main decks. One is called the Mutation Deck and contains Major Mutations as well as Minor Mutations:

Major and Minor Mutation

Major Mutations (see the sample to the left) are put right onto your Basic or lower evolutionary stage Dinosaur and certain Mutations only work when attached to a Dinosaur of the right kind, the right Major Mutation. There are Small/Medium/Large Herbivores and Small/Medium/Large Carnivores. To the right you see a Minor Mutation card. It is attached in an overlapping manner to your Dinosaur card and has a Fitness Modifier that will either add to the total Fitness of the Species it is attached to or lower it, if the number is a negative one. Besides the general Fitness modifier, most Minor Mutations have additional effects and that further modify FIT for instance, as seen in written form on the card.

The second deck I mentioned is the so called Selections Deck. It contains natural events that either put your Species to the test of survival, like Ice Ages, Epidemics or even a Meteor Impact, or have some beneficial effects on all species or on those who have enough Fitness. Here some samples:

selections

The game system itself is pretty simple and also, as I have to admit, quite random, as you are not “playing god” and attaching the Mutations you draw from the Mutations Deck as you wish, but rather as they are revealed. The Major Mutations are an exception. When you draw one you may choose if you want to evolve one of your Species with it and if so, which.

There are basically 3 Phases in the game. First off is Population Phase. Each player adds 1 Population to all of their dinos. As I said above, population is kept track of by means of 6-sided dice. Second comes Mutation Phase. For each dino, each player draws one card from the Mutation Deck and adds that to that species if it is a Minor Mutation. If a Major Mutation is drawn, the player can decide which of their dinosaur to attach it to – or to not attach it at all and discard it instead. Third and last comes Selection Phase. One card is drawn from the Selection Deck and applied to all dinosaurs still alive (on the field) immediately. That may cause the loss or gain of population or even the adding of some Mutations etc to one, some or all live species on the field. When the 50 card Selection Deck runs out, when the last card was drawn and has resolved that is, the game ends and all players count the total population of their remaining dinosaurs. The player with the highest population count at the end is the winner! And that is EVOsaurs for you in short!!

Admittedly, this is not really a “gamer’s game” and in fact more of an attempt of simulating certain natural mechanics in the form of an easy to teach and easy to play card game. And that was my intention from the start – I wanted to create a teaching tool conveying otherwise complicated scientific concepts like natural evolution by means of mutation and selection in the appealing, fun form of a simple card game!

And the terrific news is that I have already established ties to none other than the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and since their mission is to spread scientific knowledge and promote science and scientific thinking everywhere, maybe I will be lucky and they will take interest in my humble creation! Well, it has to be seen!

If you have come that far, I thank you very much for your kind interest. I hope you had a good read and I wish you, as always,

HAPPY PAINTING…errrrr..GAMING!!

Sincerely yours,

Andi

 

 

New Game – Old Art: Going “Back to the Roots” With A New Game Idea!

Introducing TM66

Dear readers, fellow gamers and game designers!

I am ever so restless when it comes to new game ideas and one just recently came to me when I had two ideas at the same time pretty much or rather one leading immediately to the other:

Firstly, it dawned upon me that I had amassed a huge collection of highest quality game art over the past couple of years or so, mostly for Elemental Clash but also for other (fantasy-themed) games. Alone for Elemental Clash I must be owning over 250 pieces of stunning fantasy games art. Since this is a huge resource I realized that I should not “let it go to waste” and rather use some of the existing art for anohter game. I mean I own all these artworks and while I will not give up on Elemental Clash anytime soon, I see no reason why I should not “recycle” my old games art for a totally new game, so as to satisfy my urge for designing new, kickass looking games. I would think the few people actually owning Elemental Clash wouldn’t mind.

Secondly, immediately after the “art recycling” idea came to me, I set out to look for a new and unique game system in¬†which I could put my hundreds of fantasy game artworks to good use. It didn’t take too long when I had a pretty neat idea. I thought why not go “back to the roots” and take a very popular game system and modify and build upon that for the new game to be? And what I thought of was nothing short of THE traditional and most popular Austrian 2 player card game: Schnapsen, also known as “66” in Germany I think. Schnapsen is played in taverns or homes alike all over Austria and has a long tradition over here. It is a trick taking card game using a deck similar to Poker cards and the goal of the game is to score 66 points by taking tricks. So the idea of “Fantasy Schnapsen” was born. Basically what I am trying to do is take the basic game system of this most popular card game in Austria as my starting point and inspiration and build a 2 player, strategic fantasy customizable card game based on that. Of course I will not just call it “Fantasy Schnapsen” but rather “The Magical 66” as the goal of my new game to be would be to score 66 points before any opponent can do so, so reaching that “magical number” is the aim of the game, just as in regular Schnapsen!

Well let me tell you a bit about what I got so far for the game:

The first thing I had to change from the original Schnapsen game was that each player would have their own decks, which can be customized to your hearts content, choosing cards from an extensive pool of different cards. The original Schnapsen uses only one deck of Poker-like cards for both players. To make this a real CCG I simply had to change that to one deck per player.

There are two rules for deck building basically: Firstly, your deck needs a minimum of 30 cards (you can have more than 30) and secondly, the total points value of any deck cannot be more than 100 points. Each card has a points value, which determines the worth of a card during the game and is also used in deckbuilding so as to keep the power levels of the decks you can build in check and in balance. So the total points value of all the cards you run in a 30+ cards deck cannot exceed 100.

As I said, the goal of the game will be to collect 66 points by means of trick taking. However, The Magical 66 (TM66 in short) is played in rounds of several games, just like Schnapsen. If you score 66 points and your opponent has a score of 0, you may note 3 Victory Points. If your opponent had more than 0 but less than 33 points, you will note 2 Victory Points and lastly, if your opponent made it to 33 or more points, you will only note 1 Victory Point. Games are played until one player collected 5 Victory Points.

Furthermore, I wanted to keep key elements of the classic Schnapsen gameplay. That includes the trick taking as the defining driving force within the game as well as the four suits. Speaking of the suits, I chose to go with the classic four elements of European-medival mysticism, just as I had done in Elemental Clash. But rest assured, that is the only parallel between EC and TM66!

So in TM66 players would draw 5 cards from their respective decks at the start of the game and fill up their hand back to 5 on each start of their turn and play a card that the opponent tries to beat or trump with a higher value card from their hand. That is just like in Schnapsen or any trick taking card game. However in TM66, after the opponent reacted by playing a card from their hand, you would be able to lay down another card that may influence the outcome of what is called a battle in the game. And your opponent could react by playing a card from their hand after that, after which you can play another card and so on until a player’s hand runs out or both players chose to pass. So the two players would be taking turns within one battle playing one card at a time from their hand in order to win a battle. The winner is the player with the highest Power among their Creatures when the battle ends. That player will add all cards involved in the battle to their “Treasure Chest” (their trick pile). Cards in the Treasure Chest add up to form the player’s score.

In TM66 you got basically two card types: Creatures and Spells. The former are the main driving force in combat and the latter support your Creatures or weaken the opponent’s.

I came up with quite some interesting mechanics I think:

First of all, most of the cards will have so-called “Chest Effects”, effects that is that activate when the card is in either players Treasure Chest of effects that can be activated from there by purging, removing the card from play. I will show you some sample cards below but for example, if you have a certain card in your Chest, it would for instance increase your Creatures’ overall Power or let you draw additional cards each turn. Other Chest Effects could be one-shot deals that can be activated once by purging the card from your Chest, such as giving a temporary Power boost to a Creature or weakening an opponent Creature etc. So it is great to have some cards in your Treasure Chest, and the more cards you collect over the course of the game, the more effects and bonuses you will gain from your cards. The element of purging cards from your Chest for a temporary benefit adds a bit of wagering to the game, since purged cards will not count towards the 66 points needed to win, but by purging them to gain said benefits you may be getting more points in return for the points you “sacrificed”. Also, I think the Chest Effects should benefit your opponent as well. So if they take one of your cards into their Chest, they will get the Chest Effect for themselves.

Furthermore, I will have some sort of rudimentary resource system which is needed for playing SOME cards or which activates additional effects and bonuses. I don’t want to make it all too central but it would basically work like this: You could purge cards from your Treasure Chest to add a number of “Mana” (I will call it that for now for lack of a better term!) to your “Mana Pool”. This can be spent to pay for certain cards and additional effects and would empty at each end of turn. So again, there would be this element of wagering which in theroy, I do very much enjoy. You would always face tough decisions in purging some cards from your Chest and hence giving up some points in order to gain an effect or play a card that MIGHT get you more points in return than you invested. This could be quite exciting in my opinion – if done right!

OK  so that are my basic ideas for TM66 so far. Let me end this early introductory post by showing you some actual card samples I made.

Here’s a card with explanations as to what is what in the layout:

TM66 Card Layout Explanation

 

From top to bottom we got the card artwork with the card name on top. Then in the top right corner we have the Mana Symbol with an X, which would be the amount of Mana needed to play the card from hand. In the top left corner we would see the element of the card, in this case Air. With an arrow pointing downwards to it, there is the secondary elemental symbol. This means when you play this card you may switch to the denoted element.

In TM66 you commit to an Element during one battle defined by the first card you play in a battle. You can only play cards of that element in one battle UNLESS you got a card with the two element symbols and the arrow in between, which would let you choose to switch the current element. In the above example, this card could switch the “elemental focus” in a battle from Air to Fire. This system makes for clever and engaging gameplay choices and card combinations, if you decide to play with a multi-element deck.

Below the elemental symbols we got a swords and shield icon. This is the cards Power to be seen where the Y stands in the above depiction. The Power determines the outcome of a battle as detailed before. The golden box spanning across the card right under the artwork is where you can see the element, card type and subtype of a card in written form. You can tell all that, except the Subtype from the layout as well but I decided to add it in writing as well just to make things clearer. Below that we got the main text box with card text and flavor text. Nothing special. And below that at the bottom of the card we have in green the Chest Effect, which is only relevant when the card is in either player’s Treasure Chest. Lastly, the golden Coin with the Z is where the card value would be indicated. As said before, the value is what you will score towards the “magical 66” when you have this card in your Treasure Chest during the game and is also the determining factor for building decks. As you may remember, the cards in one deck may not exceed 100 points in total value. I would suggest to keep your Chest cards in a column rather than a pile in a slightly overlapping manner so you can just see the bottom with the points value and the Chest Effect box for easier reference. I expect it to get quite crowded in your Chest over the course of a game!

Lastly, have a look at some of the actual cards. These are just samples mind you, and the effects and stats etc provided on them are by far not anything near to final. They are just supposed to be visual examples to show off what the TM66 game could look like in the end!

Creature Samples of all 4 Elements:

Creature Samples

Some Spell Card Samples (Note: The Axe is Neutral and hence has no Element Symbols at all!)

Spells Samples

Well, dear readers, I am happy to have yet another project to knock myself out creatively so to say, and a project, in which I need not invest a ton of money for to make it look good! I am quite happy with both my “art recycling” idea and the “going back to the roots” by taking the most popular Austrian traditional card game and building upon and expanding it into a fantasy trick-taking CCG!

I promise to keep you updated on this one!

Game on!

Yours,

Andi

 

 

 

 

Announcing: The Epsilon Project

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:

APGames_Logo_3rd_edited

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!

logo

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:

Epsilon Previews

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

GAME ON!!

Yours,

Andi