Looterz Dev Diary, Part III: Catch Up Mechanics, Play Time, and Balance

In this final installment of the Looterz Development Diary, designers Fel and Marco take their game and work out the final details. A good idea can go a long way, but designers have to grapple with details like balance and play time to produce a really polished product. This is where play testing becomes critical. It’s the final step between prototype and completed game. Fel walks us through these game-defining last steps that made Looterz what it is today.

Part III: Catch Up Mechanics, Play Time, and Balance

Making sure the game would not drag was very important to us. This was one of our golden rules, and, from experience, you always keep your golden rules as a mantra. Once a player had a big lead, it was very hard for other players to catch up. This was creating anti-climactic, 15-minute experiences. No tension in the end. No “Oh my god, now he is winning!" type of moments.

So we took some extra measures:

Marco played a big role here as he classified the cards in four different types after this revamp:

  1. Good cards for early game
  2. Good cards to finish the game
  3. Catch up cards
  4. Rebuild cards (for an empty board/post-reset) 

Theme

After all the mechanics were in place, Marco had this crazy idea of making the game a “contest to see who eats more muffins.” I spiced it up a little, adding a Hunger Games type lore to it, and we were ready to go with a crazy housewife lady being the centerpiece. We did a small print run in Brazil, but we faced a problem: People could not easily associate the images on the cards with the card abilities. 

When we signed with CMON, we wanted a more accessible theme where we could have all the cards easily associated with their abilities. Medieval Fantasy made it really accessible, improved the flow, and the new images acted as a nice reminder of the abilities for the players. Of course, it also received the CMON treatment with awesome artwork, plastic gold pieces, and plastic health tokens. 

Wrap up

Marco's first game that started as a pencil and paper idea from a MTG format turned into our first international release a couple of years later. As simple as the game is, a lot of variables were taken into account before we reached the sweet spot for the game. Hope you guys enjoyed reading and happy lootin'!

Learn more about Looterz.

Looterz Dev Diary Part I

Looterz Dev Diary Part II

Looterz Dev Diary, Part III: Catch Up Mechanics, Play Time, and Balance

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