I’ve been working on Kingdoms of Immacus at a much more diligent way as of late. After work I go to Starbucks, get a Venti green iced tea with no sweetener and begin graphic designing my way through the game until traffic dies down here in lovely San Diego. This has been relatively effective. The blue card face is done and I have started the horrid process of designing the title logo and font. Font design is its own beast and I have dreaded going into this phase of the game, but I am at the point where blogging will be necessary. Talking about the game and getting insight is necessary, and it is nice to have a central icon to come back to, which is where the title logo comes into play. I have settled on a design on the “Kingdoms” portion of the game title, which is a sturdy gold serif font.
I also think that the game title will need to rest on a placard of some sort to avoid having the words float. In the original logo, the words floated along with the flags that represented each race. I wanted to carry the flag concept from the original board game logo to the new card game logo, but goals change over time. This week I focused mainly on finishing up blue card concepts, initial logo research, and the blue card face along with the blue racial icon. Next week will probably be more logo work, finishing up the blue set, and playtesting.
Oh playtesting! I did one round of playtesting with a mirror match for Astracites. The good news is that there was more damage exchange, recovery came into play, and leveling up the Hero actually helped turn the tide of the game, follower leveling did not come into play however. The change to the resources system really made the game ramp well. The game works. I could put it out today and it would function. Is it as smooth as it needs to be? No. The building usage felt really clunky. Though the buildings are necessary, I could tell the playtester was struggling with balancing the Blueprint Pile (sidebar) and his hand. For me this needs to feel intuitive and natural and right now it doesn’t. There is this constant moral fight between playing from your hand and the sidebar with the hand winning because frankly we have been trained by other card game to do just that. The buildings were meant to allow players to adapt to their opponent’s playstyle, but as of now they seem like an afterthought once the player’s hand is exhausted. This could be because the game does ramp up too fast with the resources and players can play more enticing spells or followers from their hand than a building that lets you add +stat tokens or hoard tribute. Perhaps a tweak to this again would help. Maybe a player has the option to play a Principality (resource generator) OR draw a card. This would slow play time I believe, but may make players more inclined to experiment. Also, perhaps there just needs to be more powerful buildings – that too is something to think about. At the end of the day I can just cut mechanics out that make the game unique (which would work), but then we’re left with a TCG clone.
I think it is more important to make the mechanics work. I really wanted a card game with RTS elements and building mechanics and by George I will make it work. I am fortunate enough to have some art skills that allow me to progress on the visual design aspect of the game while these bugs work themselves out. Hopefully next week I will have a new report on another play test and what I learned from it.