If anyone is interested in beta testing, shoot me a pm or sign up via my website: Cyberpunksavages.com
For those who don’t know me too well, I like to make things. I don’t just complain about magic wands and wraith bands. And teamliquid and liquiddota have been a big part of my hobby life for a long, long time, so I figured this is as good a place to blog about my next project as any.
a brief history of games & me
I’ve always been in to games and development. When I was a teenager, I taught myself programming to create the things I’d dreamed up. During the height of Warcraft 3’s professional popularity, my maps entered the professional 1v1 circuit and lasted a long time (despite blade master abuse destroying the meta). Then I took a break. As an adult, I channeled that creativity in to entrepreneurship.
But really, looking back, I’ve always loved game design. While I was a bit of a generalist and could hobble together prototypes in game engines, I wasn’t ever able to produce anything worthwhile. But still, in the back of my mind, I always enjoyed the process and the iteration.
A few years ago, I had just come back from a teaching stint overseas. I was looking for work again, and on a whim, I applied for a game design role. I interviewed with day9 when he was looking for a designer for his now defunct project, Atlas. While it didn’t work out for me, or for him, for that matter, it definitely stirred some of those creative juices inside me again — games are important, and Sean understood that better than most.
looking back at tabletop
Magic the gathering was a big part of my childhood. It might be fair to say I was raised by gaming. Magic, Final Fantasy, Diablo, Warcraft, Starcraft, Dota. But Magic was different — it was something more social and communal. It was something I could play with my brothers on the floor when we were bored. It was something competitive and interesting and endlessly entertaining. Also, I happened to play it competitively during the most broken stage of magic’s history.
The Urza block is generally regarded as the most imbalanced block of magic, likely due to the insane power of cards like Tolarian Academy, Time Spiral, and a host of other cards. Thinking back on it, though — it kind of primed me for Dota. A game where everything’s broken. What if there was a tabletop game that could capture that kind of feeling and channel it with a bit more focus?
- just cards. Keep it simple so it fits in a bag and can be played on a whim.
- 1v1 focused gameplay imitating the ebbs and flows of a Starcraft match: bases going up and down, armies getting built, expanding your territory, responding to enemy decisions, resource management.
- approachable and easy to learn. I wanted to make something that played in 20 minutes or less, with no confusing terminology or war-game lingo
- fuck victory points: arbitrary VP systems really irk me, even if some of the best tabletop games ever rely on them.
- balance between luck and skill. This is hard to do with a card game
- every card should seem broken — the Dota style of balance set to tabletop. Every card should feel like it breaks the game and every game’s story should be different.
where i’m at
I’ve been developing my game, tongue-in-cheekily named cyberpunk savages, for about a year and a half now. It’s gone through a wild set of changes, but keeping those design goals in mind, it’s ended up at a fairly good spot. It’s a 72 card light deckbuilder that’s pretty consistently delivering enjoyable games.
Next up is the fine tuning and the testing. Ive had a lot of play in my own social circles and with some friends online, but if any TLers out there are in to light card games, hit me up. I can happily provide print and play files, or i could be persuaded to send some people retail-ready decks if they’ll play the shit out of it.
Here’s till next time. If you like this kind of article, i’ll keep doing more in this series.