I’m finally done with my game, Empire. To give a quick summary, you have an empire and you want to defeat the empires of other players. To achieve this, you have things like soldiers and barricades, as well as “special” cards like witches, assassins, architects etc. The goal of the game is to 1) not let other players sack your empire, and 2) sack other players’ empires. It sounds straightforward, it really isn’t (at least if you’re the one making it), but I have a comprehensive set of rules further down this post, and each card has instructions written on them detailing their abilities, so to make life a little easier for players.
The initial idea was born from some card games that either already exist, or are mentioned in a tv show/cartoon (things like Magic: The Gathering or Weiß Schwarz). Although I don’t play these games ever, and have limited exposure to its full range of aesthetics, I took the idea and ran with the general concept of “duelling” with cards. Some changes had to be made along the way, but as a whole, it turned out pretty well.
Below is the rulebook:
Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of my process (not that there’s much to show – it was mostly just me spending hours drawing the cards). I can, however, explain what I changed from the initial idea. I started off with a game that had its own currency, which I chose to do after we had a lesson regarding why people go to casinos and the incentive of money. However, I quickly realized that would be far to complicated, so I took it out. As a result, I also ended up omitting a lot of cards that I initially planned to have, such as Defend cards, Clerics, Flow and Core cards, and Crown cards (crowns were the currency I had planned to use before I abandoned the idea).
Once I ditched the overly complex parts, the whole process ran a lot smoother (albeit a little time consuming). The creation of the Flow and Core markers was an issue at first, since I wanted them to be professional, but the beads I found in craft stores were too small. My mother coined the idea of reusing old chess pieces by spray painting them different colours (bless her), so that problem was resolved quickly.
The last and most terrifying problem was the actual production of the cards. I don’t have a guillotine at home, so I had to hand-cut every single card and every single card back, then stick them together and round the edges. It’s only thanks to my father’s help than I was able to finish it on time, even if the process took an ungodly long time and we both ended up sleeping very late.
Moving on to my game’s appearance, I’m confident in the aesthetics of the cards, as I spent many hours (maybe too many) on drawing them. I’m also happy with the presentation of the Flow and Core markers. The boxing was also quite neat, and the idea for packaging was courtesy to my father. As a whole, I think my game is cleanly presented and suitable for display. However, I think the dynamics of the game still need some work, as some classmates who tested it out suggested that I make more cards capable of dealing more damage, due to the fact that it was too hard to target someone with a decent defence. Aside from that, the feedback I received was that the game ran smoothly with a few minor hitches, which I will work to fix.
Some things I think I need to improve on are 1) balancing the strength of different cards and 2) the clarity of the rules . As I’ve stated before, I don’t play card games like these and never have, so I’m not all that familiar on how to properly even out the strength of the cards to give everyone a fair shot at winning. I’ve also noticed some discrepancies between what’s stated in the rulebook and what’s actually printed on the cards (take the Attack card for example, it says 3 atk on the card and 2 in the rulebook), which I’ll have to fix ASAP to avoid confusion.
This brings me to my second improvement, the clarity of rules. I’m aware that this is a rather complicated game, so some confusion is bound to happen at first, but I think I can minimise that more, possibly by using more pages to hash out more details. Another thing I might try is changing the layout a little by spacing things out more, so that it’s easier to read (and the font colour – I wanted to make it the same colour as my logo, but that turned out to be too light to read easily, so there goes that idea).
And finally, people playing my game!
Long story short, it took absolutely forever, but it’s my child and I am very proud of it.
I would like to take a moment here to thank my mother, who was kind enough to help me spray-paint the old Chinese chess pieces into the Flow and Core markers, and my father, who stayed up until 3 am on a weekday helping me cut, glue and package the game. I love you mom, dad, and I can’t thank you enough.