#40 - Designing Welcome to Jaelara part 2

Hey champions,

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.

As always, if you have any questions, reach out to us at: contactus@hauntedcastlegaming.com

And if you want to join our Patreon you can go to

www.patreon.com/genesisboc

Music: Jake Butineau

Hey Champions! I know this podcast is a little bit late this week but I have a good reason for that! Monday was Canada Day and because of that, I decided to take some time off. I spent the day with my family and wife and it was just awesome. But now I'm back in work mode so I’m getting you this podcast today.

Last time we discussed Top & Bottom design and how we implemented it into Welcome to Jaelara. This week I want to talk about Iterating the set. 

Before I get into that, I want to mention Patreon. Thank you to everyone who has supported us through Patreon. Our July package will be going out soon. It will contain the Anime North promo of Malik. If you still want to get your hands on an Anime champion, then you gotta sign up soon! In August we will be sending out the Anime North promo of Nubia and it looks absolutely awesome. 

For more information go to www.patreon.com/genesisboc

Secondly, are you ready for the championship yet? Remember, the Welcome to Jaelara cards will be tournament legal for that event. November 16th in Cambridge Ont. Don’t forget!

http://www.genesisbattleofchampions.com/events-calendar/2019/11/16/2019-championship-tournament

Okay, let’s get back into the content. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my life which has become my motto is “Learn. Pivot. Keep Moving.” At the end of the day, this boils down to “iterate”. Never expect to make things perfect the first time around, welcome mistakes and errors. But each time you make a mistake or an error, learn to grow and not make the same mistake twice. Let’s take two key cards as examples: Cross Punch and Guided Arrow.  

The post-it note that hangs on my monitor.

The post-it note that hangs on my monitor.

 
 

Both these cards, while having their place in the game, were a bit of a failure in the set. This is the reason you don’t see them in many constructed or tournament play. It isn’t that you never see them, you just don’t see them often. But what could be wrong? We’ll let’s iterate on them:

Step 1: Learn

Both cards give players something they want and need, an opportunity to hit for just 1 more damage at a moments notice. But what did it take away from them? These cards often take up prime real estate in their timelines. The 5 chi for Guided Arrow could become Tsunami (if you’re playing Ra’Ha or Nubia) or Rampage Toss (with Feng and Long). The 4 chi for Cross Punch was often replaced by Side Swipe, Hunting Hound, Gust, or Air Shield. Both of these cards just didn’t have a place in the timelines.

Step 2: Pivot

In Welcome to Jaelara, we decided to take those exact cards but put them in a more appealing chi slot. We decreased both of their Chi values by 1 and this put the cards into more realistic chi values. So Cross Punch turned into Left Hook and Guided Arrow is now Quick Shot. Very similar cards but at a lower chi value. This does increase the cost of both cards but it’s a small price to pay to have a more fine-tuned Timeline.

 
 

Step 3: Keep Moving 

What was our take away from this experience? We learned that a card that was only dealing 1 damage should hover closer to the 3 and 4 chi slot. Though they are useful, they are not as essential to the process and thus they should not take up the higher chi slots. 

 
 

Two other cards that followed a similar pattern were: Blink Shards which is turning into Temporal Relocation and Angel’s Kiss which is turning into Angel’s Embrace. Blink Shards is a great card but the chi was just too darn high on it. So we moved it to the 5 chi slot.

 
 

This was the same issue with Angel’s Kiss. It is a very useful card and powerful for drafts. However, it just couldn’t compete with the other 6 chi cards. Will these changes fix these cards and make them more playable? I don’t know, we’ll just have to learn from Welcome to Jaelara, pivot as we need, and just keep moving forward.

 
 

These are great examples, on a smaller scale, of how we iterated through the set. However, we also had to iterate on the set as a whole. Welcome to Jaelara is an interesting set and huge milestone for us because this is the first set I didn’t have to design alone. Both Lionel and Carl joined the team and have contributed a lot to the process. However, because of that, we had a lot of iterating we had to do. 

From how to run meetings, communicating on a regular basis, or even our process for making cards. All of it had to be built up from scratch. Let’s talk about our card design process and iterate on it. 

Phase 1:

When we started building cards it was very simple - each person makes a card and we start testing it. We had a lot of great ideas come out of this. The problem here was that we had no cohesive element to the set. It was just a bunch of random cards thrown together.

Phase 2:

We defined the tone of the set - we’ll talk about this more in next week’s podcast. Once we knew the tone for the set, we started creating cards in those tones. This was great and made the set cohesive. However, we kept running into the same issue! Someone would have a great idea, spend a week thinking of the cost, the wording, the name of the card. Then, in our meeting, they would pitch the idea with a lot of pride and I would have to shut the card down because it wasn’t good for the game. For example, someone had an idea of taking a 4 chi card from your memories and putting it back into your timeline. Simplistic enough and could work in the tone of the set. However, where we are in the Genesis story so far, having cards that would bring things from the memories into the timeline would defeat the core mechanic of Energy and that wouldn’t be good for the design of the game.

Phase 3:

We implemented the idea of pitching cards. Instead of coming in with a solid idea for a card, come in with 5 - 10 ideas for a similar card and the team would choose their favourite. Then we started to spend the time finding a name for it, cost, etc. But we still had one more issue, our formula could not account for all the new permutation of cards.

Phase 4:

We updated and fixed the formula. Now all is good in the world. At the end our game design process goes as such:

  1. Create the tone of the set and what each card is to represent in that tone

  2. Each person takes a card with a given tone and comes up with 5 - 10 ideas for that card

  3. The team votes on the best one

  4. We name the card

  5. We put the card through the formula

  6. Then it goes off to the art team

This is kind of a bottom -> up approach, however since we are starting with the tone (a flavour thing) and then going to the mechanics it is a ping-pong approach to making a card. We go flavour -> mechanic -> flavour -> mechanic etc until it is done.

We’ll talk about testing cards in a later podcast too.

I think that’s all for this topic! I hope you enjoyed it and you implement some iteration into your own pathway. Until next week! Bye.