SUPERHOT: THE CARD GAME – DESIGNER DIARY 2

boardgame, boardgame prototype, designer tips, game design, Superhot

In the last post I wrote about the time flow, one of the main mechanics that bring SUPERHOT to life in the card game. Now let’s talk about the glue that holds it together: the bullets!

Bullets are an ever present threat in the original videogame. Pick any random moment in the game and the odds are you’re reacting to a swarm of bullets flying in your direction. If a single one hits it’s game over and you have to replay the level.

What can you do?

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The most intuitive solution is to dodge, but you must be careful. Time advances with every step you take and dodging a bullet can mean three others just got closer.

Time goes hand in hand with the bullets, but how do they work in the card game?

At the end of the turn the enemies in the Line will shoot. These bullets will go to the objectives discard pile. That’s right! The bullets don’t go straight to the Line. Just like the original videogame, you have some time to deal with bullets from distant enemies before they come back to haunt you.

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When the obstacles deck runs out you shuffle their discard pile to form the new one and from this point onward bullets will sneak into the Line.

If a bullet leaves the line it will go straight into your hand – and stay there. This is a big problem because it has no use, takes up space and blocks you from drawing new cards at the end of the turn. If you get hit by four it’s game over!

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You might notice it takes four bullets to die when in the videogame one is enough. This is where I had to bend the rules. In the videogame you push a button and the level instantly resets. In a second you’re back in the action. In the card game you would have to separate the cards and go through the setup again. Three minutes, maybe?

That’s too much. It’s punishing and it makes the players dwell on their mistakes rather than give them the will to try again. Making the bullets a growing hindrance instead of the end game also let me bring a key aspect from the videogame, but I can’t mention it without spoiling!

SUPERHOT: The Card Game is coming to Kickstarter very soon. The campaign preview is already up, and I’d love to hear your feedback!

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