It all starts with a 'big idea'. How's this game different? What's the genre?... I'll get to that at the bottom of the post, but to start with...
...when 'anything you can imagine is possible' it's easy to go off the rails and lose focus, so every project needs some sense of self-imposed guiding limitations to provide boundaries on a project's scope while adding clarity and focus to the development process.
The guiding limitations I started with are...
MY RULES FOR BOARD GAME GREATNESS
- It has to align with the Comic Book audience. As a tie in product the tone has to be a good fit with what people will expect from the Learning Stuff Lane brand, this trickles down to everything from visual design and game play features to the overall quality of assets used. The product also needs to have a 'universal quality', that makes it appeal to a broad audience across multiple generations for it to have any chance of survival with a long tail.
- It has to work as a standalone product in the board game industry. There's no point relying on the good will of an audience base that doesn't yet fully exist. This project must stand up to the test when played by both casual and seasoned board gamers.
- It has to stretch my skillset further. This one's for any creative. Always push your creative horizon, not only to advance the quality of your output but to force you to stay connected with industry changes while helping you identify valuable tips/tools/techniques you may not encounter without self-directed learning.
- It has to be fun to make. A happy heart infects others around it - this is the way for indie projects (and life). To this end I'm taking the approach that developing this game is a low pressure project, a distraction from the core project that still adds to the forward momentum of the entire project.
- It has to have 'legs'. Any project as a product needs to be more than stand alone. Projects that expand and develop are essential to capitalize on the momentum of an audience base. And so this project has to be easily updated and expanded to make it not only more appealing to the fans, but to the publishers and distributors.
- It has to be simple to master yet offer constant surprises. This isn't always the case, often games with a rich set of deep mechanics are just what people want. But in this case the need to match the light, entertaining tone of the comic means a casual play style will be essential. I need this product to be accessible and easy to learn.
- The game play must be fun. This means on an emotional level the game play must appeal to the players. The aim is to do this with a mix of humour embedded into the cards, surprise outcomes in play from the inclusion of 'encounter tables', music tailored to each game play mode, a fair balance of tactics and luck provided by character modifiers and card effects, a huge roster of misfit playable characters,
- Copyright must be airtight. This should be a no-brainer for an indie creative, it's important to ensure that at the early stages every aspect of the project is creator owned. Don't get me wrong, I'm not vouching for absolute control of a project, but as something new develops you'll be in a stronger position of self-determinization if you maintain rights solely... up until the moment you reach out for partners, publishers and key collaborators.
And now to the 'BIG IDEA'....
WHAT IS... 'CARDS & COMBAT'?
Learning Stuff Lane: Cards & Combat is a light-hearted playset featuring several modes built on casual adventure combat with light RPG elements. Players use a mix of cunning, cards and chaos to win, outwit and dominate their opponents... and sometimes team up.
With a roster of 100+ playable characters, a card deck of 200+ unique play modifiers and several familiar-yet-unique play modes Cards & Combat is sure to make every game a new experience.
Requires one GAME MASTER (GM) and 2 - 5 PLAYERS.
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