Welcome to the second preview for our upcoming realtime arena combat game ‘Eye for an Eye: Arena’. Thanks to those that emailed me, subscribed to the blog or commented on the previous post. We really appreciate it and hope that you continue to enjoy these previews as we release them.
What were you going for with the design?
Like the Occulites (and many of our other designs), Eye for an Eye: Arena certainly evolved over time. I have always enjoyed the tactical challenges that skirmish games present to players and you can see this in the way the Natural Selection Deck works in Dawn. The concept of the combat being dynamic and having choices to make resonates strongly with me. So I wanted to create a small arena based skirmish game that felt like you were in the arena.
Eye for an Eye: Arena originally began with the idea of using a large pool of dice that represented each character’s stamina. Each round, players would spend these dice to exert themselves in the Arena, moving, attacking, defending etc… and when both player’s dice ran out, the round ended and the game would start again with another dice pool to choose from. The game was solid, fun and very, very tactical. But it took almost an hour to play out a one on one game and players tended to get bogged down with analysis paralysis.
Being a game designer often means being really brutal with your own designs to ensure that your games are the best they can be. I’ve seen other designers (and many, many authors) refer to this as ‘killing your darlings’. I came back to my brief which was essentially “You should feel like you are in an Arena struggling to survive.” and quickly discovered that even though the game worked, it was too long for what I wanted to achieve. I learned a lot during the design of that game, so it wasn’t a waste, but a few years ago I ended up redeveloping it. In fact giving it a full overhaul.
How could I get players to feel like they are in the Arena struggling to survive? Being in an arena fighting for your life would be intense, fast and based on reaction and quick decisions. The answer struck me like a bolt of lightning. The game needed to be played in real time! After much testing, modifying and testing again (and again, and again… oh, and again) the game met my original brief and I was in love. I don’t think there are many games like Eye for an Eye: Arena, which is an exciting prospect and one that we here at Darwin Games cannot wait to release to the world.
Fun development fact
The dice were until fairly recently just dice with PIPs on them – 1 for Defence, 2 for Move, 3 for Healing, 4 for Attacking, 5 for Preparing and 6 for Abilities. It was decided that symbols would work better as they would be more immediately recognisable. In a real time game where time is of the essence, this was important. For our demo at PAX Australia, Shae and I spent a few hours drawing all these symbols on blank dice with permanent markers. We then sealed them with varnish so they wouldn’t rub off… or so we thought. After an hour of demoing the game, the symbols on almost three sets of dice had worn to the point of being unrecognisable. Such was the excitement and intensity of the games that were being played! Needless to say, we will be getting the dice nicely engraved when we publish the game!
Print and Play to help spread the word?
Our first game ‘Dawn – Rise of the Occulites’ was co-published with Eagle/Gryphon Games which was great. We really appreciated their support in getting the game Kickstarted and published. The component quality especially was something that we were really happy with. We learned a lot going through that process and have decided to start publishing games solo through our company Darwin Games. This allows us to better control our release schedule for games going into the future, as well as what gets published and how. Shae and I are really excited about this, but it does come with several challenges. One of these is that not many people will know who we are as we don’t have a big publisher behind us. We hope to prove that our passion for games and the Occulite world, the quality of those games, as well as the experience that we have notched up along the way, will be enough to get ‘eyes’ on our games.
Leading up to the Kickstarter for Eye for an Eye: Arena, we were considering releasing a small Print and Play of the game with one Character option. This would be a low ink, non-final artwork version that people could quickly print out and play to get a good idea of how the system works, as well as whetting their appetite for the full game. Would this be something that you would be interested in? Would you check it out? We’d love to hear from you. Please consider posting your thoughts in the comments below.
Ok, can we see the next figure yet?
Absolutely! Here is the second preview figure for Eye for an Eye: Arena sculpted by Bob Olley.
Hydris – Chief Riparian
Chief Riparian hasn’t been around for as long as Chief Grublic, but has proven to be a slippery, yet very intelligent leader of her Hydris Tribe. She has always been protective of her group and was originally the Tribe’s healer until her Chief was killed at the beginning of The Drums of War. In the chaos that ensued, it was she who was chosen by nature to become the new Chief. It is thought that because she had looked after her Tribe so well, that nature saw that it was correct for her to be granted this honour. She quickly worked her way up the ranks during The Drums of War and was one of Hydris’ leading Chiefs by the time the wars ended.