Welcome to the Dungeon League!
In my last post I wrote about the beginning of a new project: Dungeon League, a fantasy soccer board game. Yes, the baby got a name! I got tired of calling it just “the game” and surprisingly the name “Dungeon League” – which blends the soccer and fantasy themes perfectly – seems to be unused so far.
I was thrilled how fast the first prototype was ready to play – remember? Well, now the progress is slowing down drastically as we are knee-deep in the asset building process. But the enthusiasm remains!
Before talking more about the creation process, let me give you a rough overview of the game’s rules. Dungeon League is a competitive two player game that combines a tactical board game with the feeling of a typical trading card game. Both players assume the role of a trainer/manager. The game begins by choosing a club. Every club comes with a specific bonus and a special action that can be used only once per game. Next comes the player buying. Both trainers need to buy ten players with a given amount of money. Every player has different stats and a special ability. Choosing the right team is very important. If you have a perfect striker, but no good provider who can hit a precise cross, it can become very hard to score.
When both teams are complete, the game begins. Seven players (including the goalie) are simultaneously on the field, while the other three players are put on the bench. The reason why it’s seven vs. seven and not eleven vs. eleven is simply to avoid the timesink that would occur, if the trainers would have to choose actions for so many players on the field. In every turn a trainer can let all of his players perform up to two actions. For example a player could perform two move actions or one move and a pass. Every action costs energy. If a player runs out of energy, it becomes very likely that he gets injured. Managing the energy level while finding the right strategy to get through the opponents defensive is a key element.
The following actions are at the player’s disposal:
- Short range pass
- Medium range pass
- Long range pass
- Cross (pass to a striker in the penalty zone)
- Protect the ball
- Shot on goal
- Header on goal
- Man-to-man marking
Some actions are always a success, e.g. regenerating energy cannot fail. Other actions require a successful dice roll for one of the player’s stats. And yet others require both trainers to roll a dice to determine the result. That’s it in short. I will explain some of the game mechanics in detail in the following posts.
As I said we are now mostly working on all the player cards. Every player needs a name, a unique artwork, balanced stats and an interesting special ability. For the final product we are currently aiming for at least 35 unique player characters. That alone is quite a lot to draw and balance. On top of that there will be at least 12 different clubs. To manage all that information articy:draft comes in quite handy:
Our short-term goal is to get all assets to a state, where we can use them in playtests without letting the assets spoil the fun. Pieces out of simple paper for example are more than enough for a quick playtest at home, but they don’t provide a good haptic experience and can lead to an overall bad impression. Another example are abbreviations that only the creators understand. Definitely hindering in a real playtest. So icons, texts and the basic layout must get to a level where we don’t have to explain others what they actually mean and it makes sense to print them on some better material.
Here’s a first glimpse on a rough sketch for the player cards: