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    Project: Cards – a short story

    2011 - 05.29

    Inko and I are currently working on teaser trailer for Project: Cards – which will show the basic story of the player and the first few battles that they will take part in.  The following is read audio which goes over the top of some awesome concept artwork Inko has come up with.  Currently, it is my not very dramatic voice over the top of it.  Hopefully we can find a cool voice actor before we put the trailer live – if you have a cool voice, feel free to comment and offer your services 🙂

    I awoke from the dream. Well, I had thought it was a dream – but it seemed more real than the unfamiliar world which I could see through blurry eyes. Visions of myself leading a mighty army against the forces of darkness. The God of Courage charging along side me into the melee. The clashing of sword on armour, the smell of blood and sweat. The God of Courage laughing with mirth as another foe was slain against his sword.

    In those few moments of waking, the confusion of the dream and reality made me pause before suddenly awareness dawned on me. I had been chosen.

    I was in a clearing, which was not where I had laid my head down to sleep I was surrounded by lush greenery and a small brook bubbled to one side.

    As I crawled over to the brook to wash my face I saw my reflection – there was a small mark on my forehead , a mark which had appeared over night, a mark which was his mark – the mark of the God of Courage.

    I knew from that point on, my life would never be the same again.

    Suddenly a screech filled in the air, and turning around I saw a terrible sight, a dark skinned goblin approaching across the clearing. A cruel looking dagger was in its hand, a look of hatred and murder in his eyes.

    Power suddenly filled my body and with a battle cry I leapt at my armed attacker, catching him unawares as we fell to the wet grass. I felt more alive than I had ever before as we tumbled for control. The collision had caused it to drop the dagger, which lay a few feet from me. After a savage blow to its head, it gave me the time I need to grab the dagger, and with a victorious yell I plunged it’s own weapon deep into its neck.

    Dark blood erupted from the wound as I watched it die underneath me, my heart thumping from excitement when suddenly I felt something even greater enter me – a raw power I had never felt before. I let it consume me, screaming a wordless cry as I felt something starting to form in my blood soaked hands

    I do not know how long I just knelt there, the goblins body cooling underneath me, my eyes staring into nothing before my suddenly my consciousness kicked in and I looked at the object now in my hand.

    I had seen one before, I had seen many in the dream, I recognized the strange paper thin crystal material instantly, the runes carved into it both familiar and alien. It was a card.

    I held it in the air letting out a shout of pure joy – this was the start of my adventure.

    A few uneventful days of walking lead me from the lush forests into a land that was obviously worked for crops. With the card held in a pocket near my chest, I walked through fields of wheat toward what I presumed was a farmhouse on the horizon. The birds chirped as the sun beat down upon my neck. Ever since I got the card, everything had seem more in focus, more real. The world around me was more beautiful than ever.

    As I approached the farm house, I sensed something was wrong and as if to confirm my gut feeling, smoke started to billow out of the windows of the small building – it was being raided!

    I broke into a run, racing toward the smoke, as I got closer I saw a bandit pull a woman from the burning flames, bringing a knife to her throat – but before he started to slash it he caught site of me running toward him – throwing the woman to the floor as he smiled cruelly and let out a shout, causing many other bandits to appear from inside the building and joining him.

    The energy hit me again, joyful at the thought of battle, I laughed as I instinctively channeled it into the card I had pulled from my pocket, feeling it start to warm from the energy I was instilling into it. I closed my eyes, and as I raced toward the bandits and threw the card at the ground infront of me.

    The second it hit the ground, the world seemed to explode. I was thrown backwards in the opposite direction I had been running and the ground erupted from where the card had landed. I looked astonished as I saw a head emerging from the ground, a head which was the size of a boulder, and had the looks to match. Two more explosions erupted from the ground as two giant hands emerged infront of me. I watched awestruck as a monster made of rock started to pull itself from the ground.

    My monster. My creature.

    The bandits where charging, weapons out, hoping to defeat my summon before it had chance to attack. They failed. A single slap of its giant hand I saw one bandit thrown clear into the side of the building, hearing a sickening snap as he back broke killing him instantly.

    I got to my feet, and with my creature, we both started to attack the bandits. My stolen goblin dagger easily cutting flesh, as my creature smote others down with every wave of its giant hands.

    I could feel every time one of them died, the now familiar energy filling me as sword clashed against sword and as their life force left their body and entered me.

    As the fight concluded, I looked over my slain foes, while the sole survivor of the bandit attack sobbed in fear. I didn’t hear her cries of sorrow and thanks, I was watching my hands with glee – as I watched three more cards fade into existence in my open palms.

    I needed the cards, just as the cards needed me. I watched as my mighty creature faded from reality, instinctively knowing in which card he resided in.

    With the battle lust now leaving my body, I helped the woman up – consoling her, familiar words leaping into my mind now that my addiction for cards had been satiated. Hearing her sobs, seeing the pain in her face – I swore to myself that I would never see anyone in that much pain again. The God of Courage had chosen me, and I would defend all people against evil.


    Playtesting a card based game

    2011 - 02.06

    As mentioned before, my primary thrust of game work has been with Project: CARDS.  The wiki itself is filling itself up with ideas and concepts, and things most definitely are taking shape.  The idea with Project: CARDS is that there is a battle field, you and an opponent traverse while casting spells at each other in the form of cards which take the form of a real spell ( i.e. a giant fire ball ) or a creature ( i.e. a Daemon Mole of Doom ).

    Both Inko and I contributed to a theoretical combat system, and constructed a pool of 20 cards representing spells and monsters.  All very well, but what is the point of creating a combat system unless it is fun?  So I decided it would be a good idea to actually roleplay a battle.  A new section of the wiki was created, and Inko and I randomly assigned ourselves a shuffled deck, and started to play a game.  Each turn was updated on the wiki, with the following template :

    • <whoevers> turn
    • A map to show castings/movement/damage
    • Our entire deck, with the ones in our hand in bold, an X to show a card that had been cast that turn
    • Current mana levels
    • Our thoughts and overall thoughts andstrategy for that turn and future turns

    The map we played on was quite small – we wanted to get into battle without spending ages getting ready.  The combat was vicious but fast – the mechanics as we played seemed to work really well – with the exception of manually updating a png of combat – every turn was quick.  The mechanics themselves are pretty simple, but really do work well.  As we had both written the combat mechanics, we both knew what was going on.  But even though we both thought the combat rules were pretty tight – it turned out there were quite a few things that we hadn’t thought of during the planning phase.  We used the talk page of the battle test to discuss and ask questions and agree on things when these issues cropped up.

    This play test was an awesome idea.  It raised a number of issues, as well as helped us cement the vision we both have of the game.  We both now have a much greater idea of how the game will play as well as starting to get an idea of balance.  It turns out our initial system of randomly making cards and costs wasn’t the best way to design the decks 🙂  We have identified some key attributes of the cards which will need to be thought about quite carefully before the next play test.

    So, to anyone else out there designing a card/board type game, let this be a heads up, playtest often and early!

    Oh, and the winner of the first playtest?  Inko – he melted my face off with a fire spell as I hid behind my large monsters.  D’oh!

    How I imagine I lost

    My face! My beautiful face!

    Not actually part of the playtesting procedure, but thought it would be nice to commemorate the first ever battle.