Earlier in the week I said that I would be finishing up PUNCH really soon. That statement turned out to be true. I’ve finished the second version of the rules, and the art is nearly complete. For instance:

As of now, these are the face cards for PUNCH! I need to make a texture to use in place of the flat colors, and I might end up replacing the gem shapes with the actual gem symbols. Either way, I think they turned out pretty good for a first pass. A few friends of mine, Alex included, did a play-test for me and the feedback was mostly positive. Once I do a play-test of my own with the new rules, I’ll probably post them here. Technically the game can be played with two standard poker decks, you’ll just need a reference sheet for the face cards. Oh, and one last little thing.

I updated the suit images at the suggestion of an artist. He reminded me that gems are, in reality, slightly translucent, and that a good deal of the beauty is created by the interaction of the facets on both sides. I was thinking that I would just use these as the aces, but I’ll probably just replace all instances of the suits with the new ones.

Actually, another last thing. In an ideal world, the archery game will get tested this weekend. This is not guaranteed to happen, but it could, so there might be some play-test pictures up here for the first time in a long time. I think that’s everything.


Updating is for losers. And archers…

A week or so ago I had a very productive period. It resulted in a whole bunch of pretty pictures and news worth posting. Since then things have been, well, less visual. Punch was actually played and deemed pretty good, so it just comes down to designing the few remaining cards and publishing it. It is literally that easy. There’s almost no chance that it actually ends up taking me forever to do a simple task like that. It would be unprecedented. Maybe…

In terms of actual work done, my entry for the RPG contest has moved forward significantly in just the past day. The only thing I really have to show for it though is a massive and complicated Excel document that won’t really look that great posted online. It doesn’t have a name right now, and I’ve just been referring to it as “the archery game.” Here’s a rundown.

Players take on the roll of a warrior stationed atop a defensive wall. Monsters emerge from the wood some distance away and make their way towards you, all while you fire at them with various projectiles. Each turn you are able to fire at one target, with some exceptions. Targets will look something like this:

There are three important pieces of information on a target card. The first two are its “aim” and “power” values, represented by green and purple respectively. When you roll your dice, these are the numbers that you must roll in order to 1: hit the target and 2: kill it. If either of these fail, the shot is a failure (unless otherwise noted on a card). Finally, the orange value represents that monster’s special effects. There will be only 3 effects, and they will be crazy simple, so it isn’t really worth getting into right now. Also, the art will be much, much better than this. I promise.

Knowing your target’s values, you can then choose which weapon you wish to use from your hand. Maybe you would want to use something like this:

The values on this card represent bonuses to your roll. The colors correspond, so your aim roll would suffer slightly while your power would be increased. Actually, this wouldn’t be a great card for this situation, but whatever. It’s the only one I drew. Finally, you roll. In every roll, you must choose six of the ten available dice, distributing them to either aim or draw depending on situation. Here’s what you might do with this shot against this monster:

Success! Your aim value summed to 12 (4+2+5+2-1) and your power ended up being 11 (6+3+2). You would have just killed the Skinny Goblin, claiming it as your prize. And now we reach the goal of the game: to kill the most monsters.

As the game progresses, you will rack up a body count represented by the cards you claim. The hitch is that while you succeed as an individual, you all fail as a team. The wall takes damage any time a monster is able to reach it, and that damage is not player-specific. If enough monsters reach the wall, everybody loses. No one gets to count up their kills and declare the victory, because you’re all dead. I’m hoping this will force people to work together just enough to survive, but not so much that it could be played as a solitaire game. I’m sort of imagining those scenes in Lord of the Rings when Gimli and Legolas keep count. Neither of them would ever do anything to intentionally hurt the effort in order to increase their kills, but when everything is over, they get to sit down and claim bragging rights.

Either way, this game will probably get tested sometime in the next week. And I guess I’ll work on Punch sometime in between. And you know what, I should probably update when I do those things, because that’s what you do when you make and maintain a website.

A new project

The other day I saw a call for vector artists to work on an independent project called Gods & Minions. I responded to the ad, and after producing a few rough pieces, the organizers have decided to let me be part of it. It’s a pretty expansive game, but all I’m doing is designing small symbols to be embossed on the sides of custom dice. That restriction may somewhat explain the image that follows.

Here we have the first drafts of the Dwarven Melee weapons. If it isn’t obvious, they are simple and uncolored because you can’t emboss color. These are nowhere near the finished design, but they were sufficient to impress the guys over at Gods & Minions. Anyway, I tried to make them really distinct from the stereotypical weapons to communicate something about Dwarven culture (made-up though it may be). I didn’t want the weapons to come to sharp points. Their strength comes from delivering heavy blows, not piercing armor or out-maneuvering opponents. The sword is, I think, especially strong in that regard. There is supposed to be a Morning Star (basically a mace head on a chain) but I figured I would use the same graphic with a chain instead of a handle.

So that’s it for now. All the stuff I said about Masterplan updates was apparently a lie. Maybe next week.

Suddenly motivated

So I’ve been posting about once a week, and I usually open with something about doing very little work. This isn’t going to be one of those posts. This post follows a week where two things happened to change that. The first is that TGC announced another contest. This has produced (sigh) a bunch of text documents and an Excel dice-simulator, but very little in terms of art. So nothing to show really for that one. The second, and much more exciting development, is that a game that I had thought of and basically abandoned has risen from the ashes and dominated my design time for the past few days. I now present the first images from my upcoming card game, PUNCH.

This is a rough version of the 10 of [insert suit name here]s. It’s clearly unfinished because it lacks a suit mark below the number, and because I haven’t really named the suits yet. Other than that, I’m pretty happy with this.

I realize now that I’m saying all of this without context or explanation. Let’s fix that. PUNCH is a card game played with a minimally modified poker deck. It is inspired by Alex Coulombe’s GULP, a game that I really enjoy. I wanted to make a game in a similar fashion, but also existing in the same fictional universe as his game. In GULP, you play as a village of Boggles, blob-like creatures who grow crops in their mouths while they stand in the river. In PUNCH, you represent a Rokkle mining crew trying to dig up the most gems. As of now, I really don’t have a good image of the Rokkles, but just think a mix between Geodude and a trapezoid. That should get you there. Anyway, there are four types of gems, and you acquire and spend them in the search for the four ultimate gems (read: aces).

If it isn’t clear, these are the suits. I drew these from a jeweler’s manual I found online, so while they are genuine crystal shapes, you wouldn’t really find them in nature. But who cares, they look nice. Also, if anyone except me is admiring the pebble texture in the background, I will say that the rocks themselves were drawn (and then copiously duplicated and stretched) by hand, but the colors were not. I happened upon a great website run by Adobe called Kuler, which allows designers to submit five-color schemes so others can download and use them. This particular theme is called MetalsMineFiled, and it is awesome. On top of that, I found a script that lets you take a swatch of colors and randomly apply it to a group of objects. I would have driven myself insane if I tried to color them all individually. The mind is just ill-equipped to do truly random tasks.

So yeah. PUNCH is cool. I will be testing it within the week with regular cards, so it’s unlikely that there will be any action shots. As for the RPG contest, the deadline is over two months out, so the design probably won’t pick up speed for a while. I will definitely post more PUNCH artwork as I make it, and Masterplan Monday is still happening, so there will surely be something new on Tuesday. Until then.