Board games go through a long process of brainstorming, prototyping, and play testing before ever being published. In Part II of the Looterz Dev Diary series, we look at the journey the game took from its initial idea to a developed and play tested game. Fel Barros and Marco Portugal worked together on the design, and now they give a behind the scenes look at that process.
Part II: Cards and Numbers
After tons of play testing, we were happy with the structure of Looterz. Draw a card, play a card, and pass the turn. The flow was good, with almost no downtime and 10 to 15 minute games. Marco did a lot of number crunching for average hits. It was VERY important that players did something meaningful on their turn and not sit them out. We tried over 150 different powers and characters, but eventually, we had to cut it down to 30 to end up with a 60-card deck with two cards for each Looter.
During this time, we realized drawing a card and then playing a card hindered the design. In a 2-player game, the starting player had a huge lead. And then we did something we promised not to: We added a new rule.
As board game designers, we always hear you should cut rules and make the game simpler, but, sometimes, that is not the best course of action. We realized how much more the game could offer if it had the following turn structure:
Looterz would still be simple, but this new structure opened a lot of room for combos and interesting decision making. We narrowed it down to 60 cards (no repeats) and, eventually, down to 30.
With the new combo dynamic, the spreadsheet was something like this:
We were lacking a true game changer until we came up with the Gelatinous Cube: Sacrifice a monster to make him bigger. This, paired up with the Mermaid (steals monsters from any opponent), added some flashy plays that served to enrich the experience.
In the end, most of the cards have some kind of synergy. There are some key cards that are extra powerful, but then we faced another problem: catching up.
This Friday, October 21st, we will release Part 3 of the Looterz Dev Diary. Fel and Marco are close. Their idea is solid. They have been able to trim it down and really focus on the lean card game they want to design. In Part 3, they’ll have to overcome the challenges of balance and theme.