Thursday, July 26, 2012

Co-Op Monster Deck Mini-Expansion Stretch Goal Reward **Full Preview**

Today I'm going to go over each card in the co-op monster deck mini-expansion, which will come for free with every copy of Mage Tower if we hit the $12,000 stretch goal.  Go to the Kickstarter page if you would like to pledge: Mage Tower's Kickstarter Page

The main thing that makes the co-op monster deck different from the base game monster deck is that the monsters are more powerful and there are a wider variety of monsters and monster abilities.  Why is this?  The base game is focused around drafting a cool deck, stopping your opponent from drafting a crazy deck, and using strategy and tactics to mess with your opponent and optimize your strategy against the monster deck.  Since about 1/4th of the cards in the game interact with the opponent and there are over 170 cards to draft from, the monsters need to be *kind of* plain in the base game to make the game about your deck and interacting with your opponent.  In the co-op mode however you aren't interacting with your opponent, and the monster deck can't counter your attempts to draft an awesome deck.  For this reason, the monster deck *has to* do crazy stuff all the time so it really feels like an opponent that is messing with you and wants to win!

So let's go over the cards, and remember that the card names and especially art are very much in flux!  Anyways let's start strong with Village Mob:

Village Mob

This card is built for co-op play, obviously.  The cool thing about this card is that it provokes you and your ally to discuss who can afford to lose two cards, and cooperating in co-op mode is always a good thing!  The second thing is that it has an instant effect when it hits the monster board, which makes revealing cards from the monster deck more exciting.

Treasure Goblin

Treasure Goblin is another card that can make co-op play interesting, by promoting the players discussing who should be the one to kill it and get the gold.  If a player has a strategy that would really benefit from a lot of gold, you may want to have them take it.  The decision isn't always relevant or important, but when it is it's a good thing, and when it's not getting free gold is still fun!

Dire Gator

Dire Gator is just a plain interesting card because he's so easy to kill, but killing him might not do anything if the Gatorspawn still damages you, and if you don't kill him 2 damage doesn't really hurt much anyays.  There might actually be times where you and your ally agree not to kill him if you have something else you can spend your energy on.  Like Treasure Goblin it's not always going to lead to hard decisions, just once in a while, which is a good balance.

Apocalypse Rider and Giga Orc

These cards are pretty plain overall, but working with your ally do deal 10 or 11 damage to one monster is usually pretty fun.  Every monster can't have a crazy ability, and having to deal so much damage to one moster to kill it practically *is* an ability.  It also promotes players to say things like "Okay if I get 3 damage on the Giga Orc can you kill it on your turn?", so these cards actually do promote cooperation.


Since co-op needs to be about the monster deck doing crazy things to mess with you, Melkin fits right in.  Since these are free for the monster deck to "play" they can turn a difficult turn into a *really* difficult turn, or just annoy the heck out of you!  Like Village Mob, these are basically a card that make you interested to see what cards are coming out of the monster deck.  When you get two Melkins and 13 points of monsters in a turn you'll know what I mean!

Harm Elemental

Harm Elemental is just a really annoying "vanilla" card (vanilla means it has no abilities).  It's annoying because in general it's slightly overpowered for its point cost.  Sort of like how Dire Gator is slightly underpowered for its point cost, this can shift your priorities at times.  You might work really hard to kill a Harm Elemental that's further down the monster board by comboing your cards with an ally.  As you can see, even the plain cards in the co-op monster deck can create strategic decisions.

Harpy Queen

This is another card that just makes you need to keep an eye on what's going on and that makes it feel like the monster deck is an opponent that is trying to mess with you.  You may be able to kill it with your ally, or you may try to use up your defenders if they'll die anyways.


Gargoyle is a card that may make you have to change tactics, or manage your cards differently.  You may want to save your higher damage card for the Gargoyle, or if you'd have to waste a lot of resources to kill it you may want to use your energy for something else and have your ally kill it.  It's not a super crazy card but it can create interesting decisions during gameplay.

Monstrosity of Gandaar

The best for last!  The trick with this guy is he takes three turns to attack you instead of two, and he has way more health than he should.  Teaming up to take the Monstrosity of Gandaar down is totally fun.  There's also only two of them, and they can make the point values of the monsters coming out go up to 17, which is crazy!  (There's no high-end limit for monster points in co-op mode, but without Monstrosity of Gandaar there's no way to go over 14 points).  So anyways he definitely adds excitement when revealing cards from the co-op deck.  When will he show up?  Will he show up at a bad time?  Fortunately his ability, while allowing him to have more health, actually makes him more balanced since if he does come out at a bad time you still have three turns to kill him.

Anyways that's the co-op monster deck, it's super hard to beat but also super fun!  So spread the word about Mage Tower so we can hit the stretch goal.  Later guys!

-Brett Brimmer

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Some New Card Designs!

Hey guys, I had an awesome 4-player playtest session last night, showed a few new people the game and everyone enjoyed it.  We played with completely randomized decks instead of drafting since everyone else was new, and ended up with some crazy decks.  I got owned by someone who was losing early on but caught up once they got an engine going where they drew a ton of cards, discarded them to get gold, used the gold to get prize cards, then used the prize cards and all the card drawing to draw their whole deck.  WHOA.  They even drew their whole deck, discarded it, then drew it again all in one turn!

Anyways I'm going to talk about a few cards I created recently to fill in some holes and the kind of strategies they lend themselves to.  The goal when designing these cards was to have interesting player interaction combined with interesting draft and deck building decisions.  I'll try to keep it a little light on the game terms so you can understand what the cards do, but you can check out the in-depth gameplay video if you want to know more about how the game works:

One new card is Bodysnatcher, which is a Defender that steals one of your opponent's basic cards out of their deck and puts it into yours.  It also gets bigger and more powerful the bigger your deck is, so if you steal a bunch of cards and buy a bunch of prizes he can get huge.  He also has great synergy with the "Ennoblement" promo card which can add another card to your deck every time it's played!

Another card is called Marble Highway, and it's a card that actually lets you react to and prevent attack cards from other players, for free.  In addition to that, it lets you make monsters on your monster board "angry" which means they are close to attacking you, and in return you deal damage and get gold.  You have to balance the risks and rewards of this card, or you can just save it to block an attack.

The third card is Burning Sensation.  This card promotes decks that have a lot of Permanents, Equipment, Defenders and card draw by damaging all players based on how large their deck is.  So if most of your cards are in your hand or in play, you get hurt less by it.  It's obviously a good counter to a Bodysnatcher strategy since their deck will be huge, but it's also good against people that are focusing on low-cost cards and empty their hand every turn, or against people that are going for a lot of prize cards.

The fourth card is tentatively named Treasure Jackal.  This is a really undercosted Defender that dies instantly when the opponent plays a Defender, Permanent, or Equipment card, and gives them a gold and a life to boot.  The trick with Treasure Jackal is trying to make sure your opponent doesn't get many of these types of cards in the draft, and/or making sure you play your Jackal after they've already played their cards that can counter it.

The last card is named Siren.  It's a very small Defender that's free to play, and it lets you look at the opponent's hand and the top four cards of their deck and play an Ability or Monster-Attack card from it if you pay the energy cost.  Siren is great at disrupting an opponent's strategy and helping against super powerful Ability or Attack cards by stopping the opponent from playing them and letting you play them.

Well those are some new cards that were added, I've been looking for cool ways to add even more player interaction and drafting strategy and all of these cards really go towards that goal.  The cards these are replacing were cool but just missing a little oomph that really made you think.  Even though the game has been essentially finished for a while now, I am constantly playtesting and tweaking the game to make sure it's the best game it can be.  Thanks for your support guys!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What to expect when the Kickstarter launches and more playtesting stuff

What to expect when the Kickstarter launches

Okay guys, honestly I hardly know what to expect when the Mage Tower kickstarter launches this Friday, Kickstarter is a strange beast and is hard to predict.  One thing is for sure- people like to support projects that are going to be successful.  Part of the fun of Kickstarter is watching a project flourish from start to finish and riding the waves with the project creator.  For that reason it's totally important that the project gets off to a good start.  That's why it would be awesome if you followed Super Mega Games on Twitter (@SuperMegaGames1), Facebook (, and pledged even at the $1 level when the project starts.  Visually, I'd rather have 35 backers at $1 than 1 backer at $35- it just looks good when a project has a lot of backers.

It'd be awesome if the project got a lot of backers out of the gate, but I'm planning on buying ads on various gaming websites throughout the project, and I'm hoping it will spread by word of mouth, but the fact is a lot of people just like to wait until the last few days to pledge.  The earlier you pledge the better, I even am going to have a special backer reward for the first 25 people: they will get their names on the Kickstarter exclusive promo card and get a small $2 discount on the game.  I've seen people add their backer's names to rulebooks- but this is going to be right on the front of the card overlayed over the card art!  Sweet!

More playtesting stuff

I just had a cool playtesting game, basically there are a limited amount of cards called "Prize Cards" you can add to your deck during gameplay by spending gold.  This isn't a deckbuilding game like Dominion though- your deck is pretty much finished before the game starts, and the prize cards just help you even it out a bit.  Anyways, there are cards that give you extra gold, which means you can buy extra prize cards.  One player just happened to get a ton of cards that give gold, and though their deck was fairly weak in the beginning of the game it gained a ton of power and they managed to win.

I think late-game strategy decks are a great thing, it's fun to try to play with cards that are better the longer the game goes on to see how far you can push it.  One thing I became cognizant of as I playtested was that certain cards made the game shorter, and some made the game longer.  Cards that attack other players make the game shorter, because you're spending resources you could be using to fight monsters and the enemy is getting damaged by your attack.  Likewise, there are cards that help yourself a lot and help other players a little and these make the game longer because everyone survives against the monsters longer.  I call these two types of cards "Attack" and "Boon" cards, and recognizing how they affect the game length is an important part of building your deck and deciding if you should go for cards that are better in a long game.

Little subtleties like how cards affect game length are usually something you'd read on an advanced strategy site for a game, but in Mage Tower you can easily see "Attack" and "Boon" right on the cards.  With time you'll learn which of these cards have the greatest effect, and they are just another one of the small things that add to the depth of Mage Tower.