The Story So Far…
Luther Bell Hendricks V and I just completed development on the Dragon Tides core game set. Now we’re sharing the experience with you.
We knew immediately that we wanted Dragon Tides to promote the image of its stars, to have characters at multiple levels, a campaign mode, and action movie flavor. With these objectives in place, we developed a core engine that would support them. Our next step was to flesh out this core engine by differentiating its major characters.
Differentiating the Characters
The Dragon Tides core set features eight major characters. Each one should have a distinctive feel when you play it. We focused on two ways to differentiate the characters. The first was by varying their statistics. The second was through Signature Moves.
Character Differentiation: Stats
There are four Stats in Dragon Tides — Strike, Throw, Grapple, and Move. The first three are different attack styles. The last is the number of spaces a character can move on its turn. Differentiating characters by adjusting their Stats is a venerable approach which we employed vigorously.
Bruce Lee, being a man who incorporated several styles into his own, was deemed to be completely balanced. He was assigned even scores across the line.
Goliath is a thick, beefy, wrestling master. He got a high rating in Grapple but low Move.
Luke Elba practices Capoeira, the acrobatic Brazilian martial art. For him, Move was the primary rating.
Adjusting Stats gave us one form of differentiation but we wanted more. This was where Signature Moves came in.
Character Differentiation: Signature Moves
Alex Lim of Artistic Justice Games had again laid a foundation for us here. His initial concept for the game featured a selection of special move cards. We built on this idea.
Under our system, each character has a unique mix of signature moves. Much like the powers in Sentinel Tactics, these signature moves give each character its own flair.
Brandon Lee was written to be a defensive character in the game and got Back to the Wall–a posture that boosts his defense dramatically when he’s cornered.
Ivan Castle is a fighter from the streets. His moves include Slam to the Ground–When Ivan Castle throws someone, they know it!
Train Wong is quick and slippery. Agile Like The Monkey shows this by letting him move after striking.
Each character can only have a single signature move into play at a time. Will you be defensive, or you press the attack? Will you use the Hidden Dragon technique, or will you draw your pistol? Tricky decisions for your players mean engaging gameplay for the designer.
An action movie would be pretty dull if its hero used the same moves every turn. Our game is no different. Each character must change its signature move each turn. This both ensures varied interactions between characters and that players must constantly look for new ways to adapt to changing circumstances. Good stuff.
Our next post delves into the things that fill the game world–obstacles, items and objects. Come by and see how an action movie character interacts with its environment. See you then!
And if you’re interested in getting a copy of Dragon Tides for your very own, Artistic Justice is currently accepting preorders until the first week of March.
What do you think of the signature move system in Dragon Tides? What other games used this approach? Which ones used them best? Why? Share with your fellow readers in the comments below. And if you’re enjoying what you’re reading, create an account with WordPress and follow this blog. If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.