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Monday, June 24, 2013

Battle Cards Spotlight 2: Design

Part 2: Design

The attributes of our cards evolved over time, just like any project that adds on to itself. But we were able to basically divide the types of cards we manufactured into some simple categories that stuck. Each card contained one of these symbols in the upper-right corner, signifying its element or function:




GOOD
The cross was the symbol of good cards. These were benevolent creatures or humans who had powerful defensive and enhancing abilities. Examples are the King, Unicorn, Archangel, Phoenix, Medicine Man, and the Genie. The good hero class was that of Knight. I made 20 good cards.




EVIL
Evil cards bore a skull on their corner. These were creepy, scary, and otherwise malevolent creatures and humans, including several undead cards, and focused on attacks that were poisonous, destructive and dangerous. Examples of evil cards are the Vampire, Mummy, Devil's Viper, Chimera, and the Parasite. The evil hero class were the Necromancers. I made 28 evil cards.




WILD
The gaping jaws was the symbol of wild cards. These were beasts, barbaric humans, alien-like creatures, and elementals. Their abilities were many times physical attacks, and chaotic, unpredictable spells. A few examples of wild cards are the Behemoth, Hydra, Flame Dragon, Void Elemental, and the Basilisk. Barbarians were the wild class of heroes. Due to the elementals being wild, as well as the wide range of animals available to classify as wild, I made a whopping 47 wild cards.




TAME
The whip was the tame symbol. This was a host of cards that were lawful-aligned, hired, enchanted, or otherwise domesticated creatures. Their abilities were often magical, and focused on manipulating the battlefield in unique ways. Some tame cards are the Squire, Silver Magus, Griffon, Wood Golem, and the Halfling Throng. Tame heroes were Enchanters. There were 30 tame cards.




HEROES
There was really not much special about the hero cards, except that they had names and could wield artifacts. I think I was shooting for a bit of a roleplaying element, with heroes that had similar attacks but different specialties. Some of their histories interwove, too, which may have inspired my Battle Card Quest decks (I'll explain that in a later spotlight) Anyway, a flag with the letter corresponding to their element was the heroes' symbol. Each faction had 2 or 3 heroes.



GODS
Gods were a special card that came about later in the game, symbolized by the lightning emblem in the element corner. Gods had names, were one of a kind, and had one more attack than other cards (four, as opposed to three). They also had a special defense condition: they could not be killed in one attack. For example, the God of the Void Orin has 190 hit points. If an enemy card did 190 or 200 damage, it would have no effect whatsoever. Orin would have to have been dealt at least 10 damage to be vulnerable to an attack like that. To counter this, there was one wild card in my deck called the Titan who could kill gods in one hit. Another fun fact is that each god was named after the middle name of one of my family members. I encouraged my friends to name their god cards in the same fashion. I had 7 god cards in my deck.




ARTIFACTS
The gem was the symbol of the item or artifact cards. Artifacts were originally created as ways to increase the abilities of heroes to make them more of an asset to one's army, but many items eventually were able to be equipped by normal cards as well. Mainly, they gave special attributes to the army or otherwise modified the rules of the game; for example, the attack of all wild cards could be increased by 10. Also included in the artifact deck were credit cards (credits as in money), which were largely useless cards used to "buy" enemy cards; and some items that granted the card more abilities than they normally had. There were 54 artifact cards.



SPECIAL MOVES
The leaping man icon meant the card was a 'special move' card. These cards were good in theory, but I  think the idea was severely underdeveloped. Basically, these were abilities that heroes could "learn" that would simply add to their regular abilities, allowing a person to more fully customize their heroes for the battle. Unfortunately, many of the abilities were power-happy, or otherwise game-breaking. Either way, it was an interesting idea to come up with. There were only 13 special move cards.



MASTER
The ridiculously mundane stupid smiley face was the symbol of a master card (I know, there are a lot of weird puns happening here. Master card, credit card. Purely unintentional). I mean, seriously? A smiley face? Not even a smiley face, an indifferent face. The symbol for the most important card in the deck could have been a crown, or a star, or a sword, but no. Had to be an indifferent face. Anyway, the master card was a card invented to add an element of overarching leadership to an army, beyond the heroes. Specifically, there was to be one master card per deck, and it was us. Meaning, I made a master card called Austin Ballard, illustrated myself the way I wanted, and made attacks for myself, my friend Dustin made one called Dustin Clements, etc. I think this card was meant to be more powerful, and perhaps if it died then the game was over, but I kind of choked when it came to designing it. It was less powerful than most of the regular army cards and had mundane attacks anyway. Oh well. A good idea. But not a good icon.



POSSESSED
These last few elements of cards were kind of odd. I'm not sure where we were going with these. The darkened skull signified a possessed card. there were only 3 possessed cards, and I think I was the only one to ever mess with them. Basically, possessed signified an "evil" version of a good card. There was Evil Arko, Evil Jerrith (both were also knight hero cards), and even Evil Austin. Apparently in the lore of Battalia, at some point knights had become corrupted (or more accurately, infested. They look just like infested terrans from StarCraft), gaining separate, disgusting abilities as part of their new form. Again, it didn't go too far, but I like how Battle Cards had a sort of unwritten story you could catch glimpses of between the lines of the card descriptions.


RELIC
There was only one relic card symbolized by the many-faceted gem: the full-color Prize Flag card, which granted all units in the army carrying it the Regeneration (+10HP per turn) and Fire Shield (10 damage to attackers) abilities. The Flag was to be passed on to the victor of each battle it was used in. I really like this idea, and I wish we would have actually played games with it. Judging by the apparent age of the card, though, it looks like I made it very late into development. I also regret some of the color choices on the flag. It could have looked really cool, but it just looks like a mess.

- - -

Those were the standard Battle Card elements, which basically sums up the design section of Battle Cards. I'll talk more about the ideas behind certain attacks and other mechanics in the Gameplay spotlight. 

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