This is your weekly podcast about Genesis: Battle of Champions. In this 'cast we talk about everything related to game design, development, testing, and more for Genesis.
In this 'cast, we are talking about some of the key aspects about how we designed Welcome to Jaelara.
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Music: Jake Butineau
Hey Champions! Another week another topic and this one is an exciting one! Welcome to Jaelara is coming soon and spoilers are coming to you starting next week! Are you excited? Are you ready to start building new Timelines with new cards? In this cast, I want to talk about some of the Design processes we undertook to build this set. This might be a multi-parter so stay tuned as we talk about all the awesomeness that is to come.
Before we jump into this, I want to get a few things out of the way.
First off, thank you so much to the Patrons to this project. Steveo, Pat, Taz, and many more, thank you so much. Building Genesis has been a blast and your continued support has kept me focused and on track. If you want to be part of the Patreon and help grow this project, please join us at https://www.patreon.com/genesisboc
If you sign up for the $20 patronage before the end of June, then your first package will contain the Anime Malik champion card. If you wanted the Anime champions, this is the only way to get them.
Secondly, don’t forget that the Championship is happening this November! This event is FREE and 1st place will walk away with $1000! Seats are limited and registration will begin shortly after the release of Welcome to Jaelara. Stay tuned to the next few weeks to know when Jae is scheduled to release.
Now to talk about this set! I have 5 parts that I want to discuss in the design process:
Setting the Tone
Having fun while designing
I think all 5 of these components are key to making a good set, so let’s get into what they are and how we applied them to JAE.
I heard of this concept for the first time in a podcast by Mark Rosewater, lead designer of Magic: The Gathering. The idea is fairly simple: when designing something do you start from flavour and go to mechanics, or do you go from mechanics into flavour. For example, let’s take a very familiar and popular card in Genesis - The Angel of Retribution. There’s two ways to approach designing this card:
First approach is by starting from the bottom, the mechanics. This could be done by saying, we have an 8 chi summon that we want to build for Vadhis. Okay, what rules does this follow? What attack and health stat could we give this creature so that it feels worth it? Are we going to give it flying? Or will it have a weakness? Will it deal elemental damage? Basically, you ask the questions and put together the full card. Let’s say you ended up with an 8-chi, 6 health, 6 attacking creature with flight and aerial… Now that you have the mechanics, let’s put the skin around it and figure out the flavour. What are all the flying creatures out there that are this big? We could go with a gryphon, a sphynx, a dragon, a roc, and the list goes on and on. Eventually, you have to ask what makes sense for the game and what makes sense for the world. The 8 chi cards are supposed to embody the essence of that city, so we had to dig into the story of the city and the lore of the Angels guiding the King became a cornerstone of what we talk about Vadhis. So the idea came, why not make Angels not just mythical creatures but actual ones that roam the world with the humans. This is how we could have put the flavour around the mechanics of the card to create a Bottom-Up design.
However, for the Angel, I actually went the other way around. I knew I wanted to make an Angel, and Angels fly so I had to create the flying mechanic - which, during Alpha, was one mechanic and wasn’t separated into Flight and Aerial. Then I want to max out the creature’s attack and health. Excluding the Primordial Force, all creatures max out at 6 attack and 6 health - this was because we want to be able to represent a creature with a pair of 6 sided dice. Once I had the stats determined to show that the Angels are super powerful, the last thing we needed was a beckoning cost. That just went into a formula and 25 was produced. Later on, when we decided Genesis was going to have elemental damages, that is when the Angel got the holy attack.
So these are the two extreme approaches to designing, going completely from mechanics to flavour (bottom to top) or from flavour to mechanics (top to bottom). In reality, for Welcome to Jaelara, a lot of cards were made somewhere in the middle, resonating outwards. Having a sense of the flavour we wanted to approach and a sense of the mechanics we wanted and we built them out in tandem. An example of that is the Stone Protector of Ni. One of the developers, in a meeting, made a joke about “what if we put the TARDIS (from Doctor Who) into the game”. After laughing for a bit, we starting to take it seriously. We considered, what type of creatures would make sense for a Teleporting based creature. A few came about, but I really liked the idea of a stone sphynx. Once we had the creature type, we could determine the health of the creature. After that, we took it to the Future League who tested it like crazy. All of this lead to its final form:
I think that’s all I have time for this week’s podcast. Next week, we will continue talking about JAE and including more conversations about the cards releasing in the set.
Bye for now!