The Outliers

7:30 PM Monday, February 29, 2016

The Outliers are a group of Earth-dwelling warriors. After the reterraformer accident hundreds of years ago, the planet changed. Flora and fauna mutated and the world became an unstable stream of death and horrors. Humans, too, changed into something inhuman, abominations. It was only the very few, the Outliers, those far enough way from the reterraformer locations, and somehow resistant to radiation, who maintained their genetic integrity to continue humanity.

And they did. Crude settlements of survivors developed into thriving communities. Communities gave way to villages and towns, and through their success over time, the Outliers began to feel the Earth asking to be held by the hand of man once more.

No doubt one of the keys to their success was the enslavement of lower creatures.  Mutated humans...creatures with powers whose very existence mocked the purity of what humanity once was. Those that couldn't be used had to be killed and the creativity of the human spirit had never spoken more true than in the methods the Outliers devised to carry out the task.

The Game of Bones. A carnival of death, both entertaining and integral to Outlier culture. Every year, marking the day the world changed, the Game of Bones commences. A collection of the Earth's most pitiful mutants and most menacing creatures brought to their knees by Outlier warriors.

The most dangerous collection of fiends is reserved for the Outlier leader. Rizza Vice. May she ever dominate the masses of evil brought before her.


Limitations: Deck Construction and Decks of Efficacy

12:27 PM Wednesday, February 10, 2016

As Ark Rift's mechanics continue to develop, varying limitations emerge. Limitations are a core part of game play and not only create a challenge for players, but may lend themselves to a thematic logic as well. As constrictive as a word like "limitations" is, they are what make a game fun.

The first limitation you'll encounter in Ark Rift lies in deck construction. Players initially choose if they will be Ark dwellers or Earth dwellers. From there, classes are chosen. Three classes are currently available per faction.

Choosing a class determine the powers and abilities available to the player, and even some culture and creature cards will be class-specific.

Generally, creature cards are faction-specific, allowing access from all classes within that faction. These are our deck construction limitations.

As I've probably said before, one of the major appeals of a card game is layered complexity. You can begin with simple core rules and build a million cards to break them. In deck construction, we've developed a simple convention, and now are expanding upon limitations via decks of efficacy.

A deck limitation by efficacy refers to how well groups of cards work together. For example, an Ark Rift bug deck. A bug deck is simply any deck (any class and any faction) that includes a lot of bug/insect creature cards.

Let's look at one example from such a deck:

Harrowing Brood
This card, when destroyed, has a high chance of summoning Broodmother.
It has a low chance of summoning Sivaltha.

Harrowing Brood's mama, and she wants revenge.

A rare and very powerful creature card.
The more bug cards that have been played, the higher the chance of summoning Sivaltha. 

So, Harrowing Brood, grouped with many other bug cards (like Deck Crawlers, Noctilla Swarm, etc) could bring a lot to the table, including Sivaltha.

Some decks that we create as designers will be apparent, some more subtle. Some will be unintentional and discovered by players, and some, may never be used or discovered at all.