New game art arrived

I’ve been working on my Infected card game. It’s a physical cooperative card game for 1-4 players.

Some new character art arrived, and now I’ve got pretty much all the art I need. I’ve ordered bunch of decks again from Artscow and waiting them to get shipped to my place.

Here’s art, created by Anton Brand (really recommend him if you are into this sort of artistic style).

Each of the character has hitpoints (top left) which determine how many wounds they can take before things get nasty (they won’t die though). Each character also has unique once per game ability, which they can use in tough situations. Last but not least, each character has item skill – which means they can benefit slightly more of those items during the course of the game.

Here’s the Veteran:

And here’s the Redneck.

When the new deck of cards arrive, I shall finalize balancing & testing the game… and then we get one step closer to finish line.

Here’s what I have been baking for the last year

Have you ever played board/party games such as Mafia/Werewolf? Or Battlestar Galactica? Have you played and liked especially the traitor aspect of these games?

If you answered yes for both, then you might wanna read further. If you wanna hear know more about traitor mechanism and cooperative card game then read further.

I’ve been working somewhat under the radar for well over a year now. I’ve been doing a card game, not a video game, but a card game. I have kept the possibility of offering also downloadable version, but my first priority has been to create a game that can be played on your kitchen table, with real friends.

Not on your computer, with virtual buddies.

And I now can say that the game is in such shape, that I’m willing to share some more information about it. After 3 very big revisions, I’ve now get all bits and pieces of the game together, and it plays good. I’m proud of the stuff I’ve done.

So, let’s get into the the (zombie) meat of the game: traitor mechanism

Crappy “hd quality” ipod touch camera pic – yes, I’m hunting a better device – but perhaps you’ll see something in that picture

The Infected card game is a game for 1-4 players, and in case there’s 2 or more players, a traitor mechanism is used. Traitor in this game is of course the infected. The chap who got bitten, brain melting, but who is not quite a zombie yet. Only slowly transforming into one, while sabotaging the human players.

And this happens secretly.

For example, in a 3 player game, each player receives a blood sample card which determines whether the player is carrying a nasty zombie virus or if he is clean. During the game, the humans try make a successful escape and figure out who the infected is. It’s not going to be easy.

And while the game is going, the infected tries to sabotage the game.

The meat of the game is to have healthy amount of suspicion, paranoia and backstabbing. All that good game can offer.

Here’ll be zombies

I hate my ipod touch camera. Don’t ever think it’s any good.

In the game, there will be zombie threats that players need to handle. Mechanicswise, it is relatively simple: draw new zombie cards until you draw a smaller valued card than the previous one. Between card drawing, players get to do actions.

It’s pretty simple, but there’s plenty of things to do, and good amount of decisions to be made. All action happens simultaneously, so game scales well whether there’s 1 or 4 players.

And then there’s the items

Apple should have sticker “VHS quality” near the “take HD pics” in their ads

The game has plenty of items. Chainsaws, molotov cocktails, crowbars, revolvers, shotguns… you name it. And plenty is getting used. During threats, player decide to play number of item cards and try to reach equal or greater sum than the zombie threat cards. Each item can be equipped, and then players have access to the item specialties. Different items work better in different situations. For example, Flashlight does not give much bonuses, but is good against several different threat cards. Chainsaw is powerful against threats, but can also be used to receive more item cards for the whole group.

Then there’s also few more things
There’s 7 different characters, with different specialties. There’s also “major threats” which will affect the difficulty. There’s some additional variants, such as “total co-op” mode where there’s no traitor at all. There’s advanced game variant which makes the game slightly more difficult to play (for humans), for groups that have beaten the basic game.

Design philosophy
I’ve strived to have as simple rules as possible (and turn summary – which is practically major part of the game – can fit to about one page of rules), and I’ve tried to keep the mechanism simple. The rules are easy to remember, and since cards provide different choises, there’s stuff to consider. For example, item cards can be played in a threat, they can be discarded to take other actions, they can be equipped, or used as a buffer against threats in case you need to discard them.

I’ve also tried to provide meaningful tactics for the traitor. Here’s some strategies:

  • He can secretly lose a challenge (there’s no need to show cards) which prevents gaining more cards
  • He can hog certain rare cards (such as “vest”) and prevent others from getting enough resources for successful escape
  • When it’s his turn to lead, he can select nasty zombie encounter and secretly discard the easy encounter

And some more. There’s several different ways to sabotage… but of course if he sabotages too much others might get too suspicious and get rid of him.

When it’s available?
When it’s shiny and polished.

I’ve gone through 3 major revisions. The first version was way too luck based, where traitor could affect nothing. Second was not much better. It wasn’t until the third big revision that really nailed it all. The 3rd generation is the one that I’ve been working on for some time now, adding things here and there. Testing. Adding more things. And testing some more.

3rd version also got totally new graphics (from “realistic blood” to “cartoony”), which makes the game so much more fun to playtest.

The co-op version works great, and scales well. I need to get healthy amount of traitor mode testing done, and then we’ll see. The game is currently – as I see it – in “polish shiny” phase. I will playtest, playtest, playtest it, and make some minor tweaks here and there. Maybe I change number of item cards, or change some zombie encounter, or tweak character special abilities a bit. It’s mainly testing & balancing now.

I’m right now freezing features and “new items”, and those go into my “ideas for expansions” list.

So…. when it’s available?
When I consider game done, it’s my plan to do the following steps:

  • Get the game to a publisher (I’m putting my full effort to get z-man games interested)
  • Possibly do a small pre-order based self-print for those interested (since Z-Man way will take quite a bit before there’s even glimpse of hope seeing the game published)

This will take time for sure. My goal is to nail the game – finish it – “in the nearly future”*, and then it totally depends on the publishing process. This is my first physical card game, so I’m almost complete n00b when it comes to that.

We’ll see. Meanwhile, check Infected card game website – there’s links to rulebook, and other stuff is going to appear there too at some point*

*valve time

Psst… if you are interested in ordering the game…
…I don’t mind if you mention that in a comment to this blog post.

I need help with my zombie game characters #zimbcharacters

As mentioned in the previous blog post that appeared minute ago… I need some help with coming up good character classes. If you’d have an idea what character class or profession or such would need to be featured in the game, please suggest one.

Use either twitter (remember to use hash tag #zimbcharacters) or reply here on this blog.

If your suggestion ends up in the game (and nobody else has mentioned it earlier), you will get your name in the credits.


Some more Infected game art

I’m working on a card game. At the moment this is not a computer game*, but a card game played using real cards. The cards wre very special, and here’s couple of examples.

*There will be online computer possibility too, but it won’t look like your typical card game either. More on that at some point

The game consists of several different type of decks: mainly being zombie deck and hero deck, but with also some special cards (such as “leader” card and few more). Zombie deck contains event names, and these have been pretty much suggested by you guys last February. Zombie deck is the most unique deck since it has so much going on in there.

Now, I do want to include some characters in the game, as somehow I feel that the game almost requires to have them. For this I need help, and will do a blog post about this in a minute.

With that being said, I’m really pleased about how my existing art can be replaced with fresh style and this really makes the game feel more unique when each of my card doesn’t look like a duplicate.

And yes, Dynamite belongs to “self defence” category…

New pretty secret card game art arrived

I’ve been working quite silently on my card game, and during this months, some sweet stuff has been happening. One of the sweet things is new art (I admit I like to test the game with visuals, although I must say that I belong to the “gameplay comes first” category of developers). Here’s pic about art that’s replacing my current placeholder art.

That’s quite a leap from serious style to more approachable (in my relatively humble opinion) cartoony style, and I really like how my card deck creator can handle everything to produce new cards.

Stay tuned…

P.S. Funny how it *looks* like progress when you get new visuals, even when in reality the biggest work has been happening – and is happening – in tweaking & testing the gameplay further.

Here’s what I’ve been cooking… (gameplay meets card art!)

I’ve haven’t made a big fuss about the Infected game progress. I haven’t shown much game art (mainly because there hardly wasn’t any art to show) and I’ve been working on the gameplay.

I compiled bunch of card texts and arts together (using my Duckduck program, which is a program for creating deck art), and here’s few card samples:

Blood sample card
This card determines if there’s infected blood running through your veins… You keep this card secret, so nobody else knows in which of the 2 teams you belong. Each player will receive a card stating either “clean” or “infected”.

Items have gone through a big change. Essentially, I combined items and action cards into one deck (which is now called “Items”). Items are used to overcome challenges, counter nasty events and to progress on winning the game.

Event cards give players challenges which they need to overcome. A number in the top left part of the card tells something about the difficulty of the event, and then there’s always a special power on events which might trigger when they are played.

Each card won’t have unique art (at least not in this point of project), only each deck will have unique art.

All these card art are from the Big Revision II (which consists of huge amount of smaller revisions). I will go through (at least) once more all the cards and then pretty soon get things shipped to my door (which will take 2-3 weeks or so).

The current version is much simpler to play, less random, and new version aims to offer several interesting decisions (events for example are very different from earlier version, and now the item have value number which need to be considered too when playing cards). Rules are very simple to learn and the game is fast to play.

I enter sleep mode now and get back to this tomorrow.

First test with the first “real” physical version and I fear that…

… this might turn out to be quite fun game to play.

Pardon me for the crappy picture quality, I just took some hi-res shots when my photo camera and battery died before I managed to import the pictures to my machine – now need to recharge. This picture was taken with my iTakeCrappyShotsOtherwisePerfectDevicePod Touch.

On the left (barely visible, brown cards: reading “resource, petrol”) are the resource cards. The purpose of the game is to gather enough resources to make an escape. Resources can also be used to overcome tough challenges (but then resource is lost).

Next to resource cards are the Encounter cards (bit of red blood on these cards, yaiks). Players need to overcome these to gain resources. In case of failure, Encounter cards are discarded from the encounter deck. Players will lose if encounter pile is exhausted (and new encounter would need to be drawn), so the encounter has many purposes.

Then there’s the Action cards, which come in 3 different types: success, failure, problems. These are used in order to beat Encounters and are most used cards in the game. Most of the action cards have special conditions on them, which give little bit of pondering on when to use them.

On the right are the character cards. Currently there’s bunch of characters, each with their own special skills and abilities.

Outside the picture there’s also few special cards: day/night card, leader card (acts also as the turn marker) and team cards (which determine your side)

Last night I played solo (simulated 2 player co-op version) and I was bit afraid how the playing feels when I actually have the “real” (not just cards taken from other games or post-it notes scribblings) physical version with actual card texts and for the first “real” version, I must say that I have positive feelings about this game.

The Infected game card design

I’ve finally put together the first version of the rulebook and created decks of cards. Even placed order through Artscow to get physical versions of the cards in my hands (3 decks, since I got some extra cards, yay).

The platform for the game is 2 folded: physical version (about 2-3 decks of cards) and online version (through my protohut system where the game can be played in browser). So no, this isn’t your typical PC game. The online version has no rules… since I only provide cards and table. It’s up to the players to check the rules and play the game nicely. Just like having a real board gaming session (I’ve tested playing Battle Lines, Lotr: Confrontation and both worked excellently through the online system).

I have written a brief rulebook for the game. Just 7 pages at the time of writing this blog post, although more will come when I get some pictures there… and when I mention credits for all you guys who helped me to get encounters in the game. I planned doing some videos to show how the game is played, but naturally this won’t happen until I get some serious feedback after tests.

Here’s few bits and pieces from the about 100 different card there is in the game. First we have Alan the captain. Each character (currently 6) has different unique skills and also different leadership skills which they can use when they are leading the group.

And here we have one example of a resource that survivors try to gather during the game in order to make a successful escape.

For art, I’ve used Dreamstime, my own mind and Gimps “old photo decor + change of darkness” filter to provide (hopefully) consistent look for cards.

Even though I know that most likely every single card out of 100 I ordered will get changes, I wanted to get my hands on those cards and physical version is so real that it’s great to make it happen.

Last couple of months have been heavy design work for me, and it’s good to get into this level. Next in the todo list: testing and heavy balancing.

What can happen in a zombie game? Need help creating list of encounters/events

I’d need some help. I’d need a list of things that happen in zombie plots (think of typical urban scene: zombie infection occurs, everybody panics and gets eaten, and group of “heroes” spend tons of shotgun shells).

I’m thinking stuff like:

  • Found gasoline!
  • Empty ammo stash
  • Zombie behind the door
  • Flat tire

Et cetera.

If you type a comment, mention if you want your name for the credits, and I might consider it. *Cough*

Help me out, shall you?