Card Games and Sleepless Nights.

I’d like to steer this blog away from writing for a moment. One day I’d like to turn it into a portfolio of my work, focus on all arts, maybe a bit of just random stories that I think of from time to time. Right now it’s strictly a writing blog, and while that’s fine, I want to be able to say more than “I think it’s good practice to write like this” in every post. So, I would like to share a story with you. It stars a massive nerd (me) and his quest to create his own card game when he probably should have been doing anything else.

Sometimes I become distracted.

However, Landfall is one of my prouder moments of distraction. Usually I just end up playing a video game or watching a movie, but this time I felt the need to make a card game. The problem was, however, that I couldn’t think of anything other than this game until I saw it through to the end. So, I spent about a month (approximately…I genuinely have no idea how long this took) obsessing over a card game. Landfall is what it became in the end.

So Let’s Talk About Landfall.

Landfall arose from the ashes of several failed attempts at making a card game. They were heavily borrowing from Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone at first, and over time the game transitioned into simpler variants. I enjoy those games, but I wanted this one to be easier to set up and play in quick matches rather than long, drawn-out games of user-made decks.

The game is played on a 9-panel grid. Each player competes for control of this grid by playing a numbered Land card or influencing the game with a numberless Spell card. Lands make up 40 of the 60-card deck, which all players draw from. The remaining 20 Spells are often temporary effects that help swing the game in your favor or mess up your opponents. In addition, the Land cards usually have an effect as well.

Lands are numbered 1 through 10. Lower numbered Lands are easier to be overtaken by enemies, but they have beneficial effects to help the player who used the card. The 5 and 6 value Lands have no effect. Above 6, the Lands begin to have harmful effects. Sometimes they won’t bother the player in any way, but other times the effect will go so far as to effectively end the player’s turn. The way Lands interact is thus: when playing a Land on the 9-tile grid, adjacent Lands with a lower value are converted to your control, and they can be converted any number of times. When all 9 spaces are filled, the game is done. So, in theory, the game may be as short as just 9 turns. A single Land could change ownership any number of times. Spells complicate things with unique card draw effects, enemy Spell negation, Land destruction, and other powerful effects that assist your path to victory.

Above: A few Land cards, which make up most of the deck.

What I Learned.

Creating a game is hard. If you take into consideration, at least in my case, things like card balance, design, gameplay, rules, and all the rest it’s easy to realize you’ve stayed up until past 4:00 a.m. I may have done that once or twice during the time I was obsessed over the game.

That aside, I had a blast making the game. In fact, I’m getting the itch to make another game right now. I should probably resist the urge this time, but I’ll probably jot down a few notes or make a quick design concept before bed tonight. The next one will likely be more complex than playing a card numbered 1-10 on one of nine tiles, though. I’m sure I’ll keep in touch and talk about it whenever the next one happens.

Disclaimer: All art used in Landfall is not mine – credit was given to each artist on the cards and I do not intend to sell or distribute the game to anyone. Should the [unlikely] situation arise where I market the game, I would commission brand new art or make it myself.

Above: A game of Landfall – a player’s owned Lands are oriented in their direction. In larger games, or team games, ownership may be indicated with colored tokens. In a test version I used poker chips.

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