Welcome to the first ZG Design Diary! As usual, I have big hopes for how this may work in the future but as a fledgling blogger, I’m just going to keep it short and simple so I’ll actually do it on a somewhat regular basis. Baby steps, right?! My hope for this series of design diary blog posts is that I’ll have a space to write about some of my favorite industry leaders, game designers, publishers, games, mechanics and other people or ideas of interest related to game design in general. Though my hope is to keep the design diary focused primarily on what others are doing, it wouldn’t be much of a diary if I didn’t put the lessons learned into action. I’m deeply entrenched in my own design right now and I’ll likely talk regularly about how other games and design diary postings relate to my own designs. So, unsurprisingly, I’ll start this conversation with a quick post about Helionox. 🙂
I’ll start by giving the elevator pitch for Helionox: Chronicles (HX:C for short) and then touch on the differences between this game and past Helionox games. First, we’ve been noodling over some one liners. This is a detailed, one sentence description that will be used in various places where we can only brush the surface of what the game is about. Here’s where it’s at right now:
Helionox: Chronicles – a series of cooperative, sci-fi, movement based, card and engine building campaigns and eternal play modes, for 1-4 players.
It’s a mouthful but it’s descriptive and sums things up nicely when you’ve only got a second to get the point across. We’ll keep refining it but it brings up a couple of key differences between Chronicles and past versions of Helionox. This is a cooperative game. There was a cooperative mode in the other versions of the game but the cooperative vision for the Helionox is new from the ground up, built on the foundation of the solo mode and fleshed out with shortened turns and simultaneous play options. Essentially, there is very little downtime, which was a big problem for all of the multiplayer modes in previous versions of the game.
This is also a campaign driven or scenario based game. The campaign, broken into episodes, will teach you how to play the game starting with the simplest mechanics and building up to multi turn combos and full game strategies. For the first episode, you will read about 5 minutes worth of rules and some story elements to draw you into the narrative. After that, you’ll be up and running. A quick start and fast game play are very important aspects for me. I wanted to design this in a way that if every player at the table is new to the game, no one has to have read the entire rulebook before game play begins. Each new scenario will add a small rule set, some new components, and some new challenges. By the time you finish the campaign, you will be ready to tackle eternal mode. Eternal mode offers infinite replay-ability. It allows you to play the game with a huge variety of difficulty and complexity settings. Even the campaign itself can be replayed with a higher degree of difficulty.
In short, Helionox: Chronicles is a new stand alone movement based deck building board game set in the Helionox universe. Of course, I will continue to write about this game as it develops further. However, I’d love to hear from you about ideas on what a design diary should even look like. Do you keep a journal of your game designs (or other creative projects?). What parts of the design process would you like to see covered in future entries here?