Mechanics: Kill Points and Ideal Play Testing Environments

4:22 PM Saturday, July 30, 2016

We briefly discussed character powers before, but we haven't truly delved into these unique attributes.

Each character has three unique powers which require varying amounts of charge to use. In order to charge and use powers, Kill Points (KP) must be acquired.

Let's look at the Nature character's powers:

1. Immobilize: Target becomes unusable for 1 turn
2. Sap: Increases character health by 3
3. Pull: Draw an extra card

These powers are in order from least powerful and cheapest, to most powerful and expensive. The number corresponds with the cost in Kill Points.

So, how are Kill Points acquired? They are received by destroying enemy units and culture cards by direct damage. That is, opponent deaths caused by the player's units or abilities receive KP, while deaths caused by players destroying their own units and culture cards gives no KP.

1 KP is acquired per unit killed, 2 KP is acquired per culture card destroyed.

We are still toying with this mechanic. In the analog prototype, tracking this mechanic can be a bit tedious, which stunts my ability to be uninvolved in play testing.

The ideal method of play testing would be to have blind play testing. Even if I am truly seeking objective criticism, it is impossible to achieve if a player has met me and knows that I am involved in the production of the game. Not only is there bias on their side, but, inevitably, on my own as well.

Even if I were to pose as someone uninvolved (which would be so cool, right?!) I fear that I might have a desire to "help" them in a way that would skew the information received.

We wouldn't just want to test for the game's playability regarding mechanics, but the general cohesion overall. Does the interface make sense? Is as much of the game as possible intuitively expressed? What do players seem to take for granted and understand, and what is confusing and alien?

The digital prototype is progressing beautifully. I look forward to having players join us in the big wide world of "What if?"


Card Showcase: Return to the Earth

9:01 AM Thursday, July 14, 2016

Return to the Earth is a Nature ability card that instantly destroys the target unit by opening up the very ground and taking back its life force. Ark Rift limits units to 5 per player, making each unit incredibly valuable. Destroying even one is a brutal blow to the enemy.