God of War: The Card Game, designed by Alexandru Olteanu and Fel Barros, brings the world of the popular video game and puts it right on your tabletop. We were able to get some time to chat with Alexandru to have him tell us a little about his history with the legendary franchise as well as what challenges the pair of designers faced bringing the game into an entirely new medium.
CMON: What experience do you both have with the God of War video game?
Alexandru: Both Fel and I are longtime fans of the franchise. Fel even has the PS4 Pro: God of War edition. When we received the news that we would be working on the card game version, we had just finished playing the full game, so the timing couldn’t have been better for us.
CMON: What is the most exciting thing about bringing the video game to the tabletop?
A: Without a doubt, controlling the characters you used on the screen, physically. As avid board gamers who also heavily play videogames, we always think “how would they look on the table?” Seeing Kratos and company on a tabletop has been an amazing ride for the team.
CMON: What sort of elements from the video game did you two want to make sure you included in the card game?
A: The two medias are very different, and previously working on the development side of Bloodborne: The Card Game, we knew coming in that a direct translation wasn’t possible. That being said, we wanted to translate the experience of being a god, the combat driven aspect of the game combined with a stronger lore and, being a son/father story, we knew it had to be a cooperative experience.
CMON: What sorts of things make each hero unique during play? Do you have a favorite hero to use in the game?
A: Basically, each character has their unique special power track where they build up to unleash a powerful ability. Each starting deck is also unique, and we tried to emulate some iconic features of the video game like Spartan Rage. We also did a fun exercise on “how would a talking head play?” Then there’s Brok and Sindri’s unique dynamic, as you control two different characters. All in all, we put a lot of effort on making each character feel different in the game, and we are really proud of how they turned out. As for favorite character, I am always very happy to play Mimir, and Fel only play as Brok and Sindri.
CMON: How did you and Fel come up with the mechanics of the mosaic format for the different Quests? Was it hard to integrate pictographic details into both sides of the cards? What went into making each Quest unique?
A: That is a funny story. From the beginning, we knew that we wanted to use the “cards building a scene” mechanic. While pitching it to Marco Portugal (lead designer of Gizmos) he took the idea in a slightly different direction, but in a better way than planned. Then, it was a matter of execution as usual. We wanted to be as faithful as possible to what happened in the game, so it was extremely challenging to do it organically. We didn’t want it to feel like just a gimmick, but to actually translate the gameplay and be a fun challenge. To make each Quest unique, we did a second playthrough of the video game and we watched some gameplay videos. Our goal was to guarantee fans that the board game would recognize some of the enemies’ patterns and locations.
CMON: What is the process like coming up with all the different cards that go into the combat deck?
A: This is the part of the work where we mostly relied on Fabio Cury, the lead developer for God of War. Basically, Fel and I did a first batch of cards, trying to figure out powerful effects to emulate the feeling of growing in strength as the game progressed. Then we would present this to Cury, who would later come back shouting at us because a card was too broken or too strong. After a lot of testing and figuring out how the cards interacted, we started doing a second pass on how complex a card was for the target audience, which is a more casual crowd, so we changed some of the wording to make things clear and straightforward.
Our thanks to Alexandru for sitting down with us. We hope you enjoyed this look inside the game with one of the designers behind God of War: The Card Game.
God of War: The Card Game will be coming to store shelves in Q3 of this year.