Superhot is out!

Agent Decker, boardgame, crowdfunding, event, Superhot

UK Games Expo was a lot of fun! Thank you everyone who came over, especially those who had also been there in previous game events. It’s always rewarding to see people interested in my games, and it feels even sweeter when they come back for more.

For four days I demoed SUPERHOT: The Card Game pretty much nonstop, until my voice was gone.

In my playtests I had focused on teaching just the game mode I was testing that time, but here I wanted to showcase the whole game. With practice I got better at teaching and unfolding the game, refining it in response to questions that had appeared in previous demos. In a way, I was playtesting the explanation, and at the end it was really good.

I was surprised to find myself adding jokes here and there, seeing the reactions and keeping the ones that worked, like I imagine a stand up comedian would do. It’s a good way to break the repetitive nature of demoing, and you bet I’ll do it again in the future.

It’s great to see all the backers getting their copies and posting about it from all over the world. As they start to play some questions are popping up on BGG, and I’m answering them as fast as my day job will allow.

Thank you everyone! But especially:

Up next, expanding Agent Decker!

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Superhot Kickstarter

boardgame, crowdfunding, event, Superhot

Superhot’s campaign was a big success! We asked for $8000 but our 5177 backers contributed close to $117,345. 1466% funded!

New stretch goals kept appearing and the backers didn’t rest until every single one was reached. All the 14 (!) stretch goals were unlocked, adding plenty to the game: additional cards, a poster game mat, stickers, plastic tokens, a Steam key for the original videogame, a plastic insert, a second (smaller) box and even a special edition Agent Decker print and play with new art!

So when is the game coming out?

Very soon! Superhot: The Card Game’s premiere is at UK Games Expo on 2 – 4th June.

If you’re around come say hi! I’ll be demoing and signing at the Board & Dice booth. The booth ID is H2, right on Board & Dice Street.

That’s right, Board & Dice Street!

SUPERHOT: THE CARD GAME – DESIGNER DIARY 3

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

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Agent Decker’s campaign is designed around a sequence of five missions.

The good part is that they give the players new objectives along the way, forcing them to adapt as they’re gradually forced outside their comfort zone. The bad part is that this only works once. Once you know the missions and how to beat them the mystery is gone and you can prepare for them in advance.

Being a print-and-play game the players would have to assemble it before playing, so I wanted to keep the card amount fairly low. Instead of adding more goals I added a high score system. The first goal is to beat the campaign and the second, if the players want to, would be to beat their previous high score.

This lack of replayability was one of the first things I wanted to address in SUPERHOT: The Card Game.

In the original videogame the main objective is to kill every enemy in the level. That’s where my design started, but I quickly ran into three problems. First, it’s easy to lose track of how many enemies are left in the deck, and I didn’t want the players to stop playing to flip the deck over and count.  Second, being a deckbuilding game there was the risk of a player simply adding all the enemy cards in his/her deck in a previous level, preventing the completion of the next one! Third, having a single objective got very repetitive, even if the enemy total would increase throughout. It nudged the players towards building one specific type of deck, ignoring everything else you could do in the game.

To fix this I had to steer a bit away from the original game. Varied goals were added, aimed at exploring the game’s mechanics and obstacles while keeping within the focus of the game: manipulating the level, the enemies and the flow of time. The goals can now be shuffled to give the players a different sequence every time, keeping players on their toes.

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This meant I had to rethink each goal’s difficulty. Agent Decker’s fixed sequence let me control the pace at which the difficulty increases. This system doesn’t. The goals have to work whether they show up at the start of the game or further along, when the challenge is meant to have ramped up.

The solution was simple: more goals!

  • Draw 1 goal for Level 1
  • Draw 2 goals for Level 2
  • Draw 3 goals for Level 3

The difficulty comes from the time flow mechanic and the bullets.

The core structure of the game had to change as well. Once a planned sequence of goals where from time to time new cards are added to the deck, now the obstacle card had to be designed for versatility.

To extend the replayability that ramp had to be replaced by a more open design. The cards became a series of dots which the goals ask you to connect into different shapes.

SUPERHOT: The Card Game is on Kickstarter right now! It was funded in the first three hours and is currently at 703% of its goal.

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!

superhot2

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!

SUPERHOT: The Card Game – Designer Diary 1

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

SUPERHOT is a first person shooter in which time only moves when you do.

I’d like to tell you how I brought that core mechanic to SUPERHOT: The Card Game.

If you look at it closely, SUPERHOT is pretty much turnbased already. The super slow motion gives you time to look around and plan your next move, and the choice of when to speed it up is in your hands.

The mechanics in SUPERHOT: The Card Game are based on Agent Decker, whose core systems are deckbuilding and mission progression. The main thing that didn’t fit the theme was the Alarm, which is the main threat and the source of the hardest decisions.

This was the perfect time to bring in SUPERHOT’s core concept: “Time moves only when you do”.

superhot_line

At the center of the table there’s a line of six cards. They represent where you are, what you see and which enemies are there. Using the cards in your hand you can destroy or knock them out, changing the line.

In the following example you have used two cards from your hand. This means the last two cards in the line will be discarded at the end of the turn.

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The remaining cards will scroll to the right and the line will refill back up to six cards.

It’s up to you. Use one card and the line barely moves. Use your whole hand and it can change radically. Time moves only when you move.

This change worked in both a mechanic and thematic thematic sense but without the Alarm we needed a new source of tension. Something to make the players think twice about scrolling the line at maximum speed. Something that is coming in your direction.

I’ve got just the thing: bullets!

superhot_line3

The final piece of this puzzle creates interesting dilemmas, which I’ll cover in the next article.

SUPERHOT: The Card Game is coming to Kickstarter very soon. You can stay up to date by subscribing to the newsletter.

Lots of news!

Agent Decker, boardgame, boardgame prototype, crowdfunding, event, Multiuniversum, Project Cthulhu, Superhot

project_cthulhu

A lot has happened since my latest post. Let’s do a quick recap, shall we?

Multiuniversum – Project: Cthulhu’s Kickstarter campaign was very successful. We asked for $7000 but our backers contributed close to $19.500 USD, funding it 278%!

Shortly thereafter it was printed and shipped to Essen Spiel, where it was officially released.

Last year I went to Essen for the first time and spent four days pitching my games to publishers. This time I was there to demo my first published game! For three whole days I taught the game to as many visitors as I could.

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Photo by BGG user Jakub Niedźwiedź

I have a lot of respect for anyone who’s demoing. The halls are very loud and you have to be even louder, but without sounding like you’re shouting! My voice held on during the first day, but by the end of the third I could barely speak. My advice? Drink plenty of water.

My demoing gig was cut short due to Multiuniversum and the expansion selling out! It was extremely rewarding, and it gave me the chance to see the other halls and say “Hi!” to friends.

After Spiel there have been a lot of new reviews and at the moment Multiuniversum is currently on 2320 in the BGG Rank.

The next print run will feature the rules in Spanish as well. Muy Bueno!

Meanwhile my new project has been announced:

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SUPERHOT The Card Game is an adaptation of the popular videogame SUPERHOT. Its core mechanics are based on Agent Decker plus the concept of “Time moves when you do”! As a big fan of the videogame I’m doing my best to do it justice.

Speaking of Agent Decker, both the game and the rulebook have been updated for clarity and consistency due to player feedback. You can download it here.

Multiuniversum: Project Cthulhu

boardgame, crowdfunding, Multiuniversum, Project Cthulhu

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The stars are right and you know what that means! Yes, our scientists have opened a portal to R’lyeh and bad stuff is coming through.

The first expansion for Multiuniversum is on Kickstarter right now! If you enjoy the base game this is a nice way to bring in a different flavor, a new set of portals and a twist in the mechanics. If you don’t have it there are tiers in which you can get it along with the expansion!

This is a major milestone for me and I’d love you to be a part of it. Even just sharing this link can make a big difference. Let’s go!