September 2, 2017
So it’s been a few months since my original blog post. I’m not sure anyone has even started reading these yet but the plan is to post much more often now. Development of my prototype definitely slowed down over the summer months. A new job and the kids being home from school definitely attributed to that. But recently I’ve been giving myself more time to work on it in the evenings and I’m happy to say it is almost done. One reason I’ve been pushing to finally finish it is so I can show photos of it and samples of some of the cards at a board game speed dating event at the Toronto Fan Expo this weekend. I hope to get some really early feedback on my ideas for the game so I can make any obvious changes before I start playtesting it myself. I’ve spent so many months just thinking about the mechanics of the game, so I’m super excited to finally start testing out my ideas and see if they make for a fun game.
For this post I’m going to write about the two initial ideas that influenced the theme and design of the game so far. When the thought of designing a game first occurred to me, many ideas popped into my head. Two of those ideas quickly rose to the surface and solidified in my mind as the way to go. The first was the theme, dinosaurs. As a child I was obsessed with dinosaurs. I had dinosaur bedding, books, models, toys. If it had to do with dinosaurs, I wanted it. One of these items was a set of collectible cards called Dinosaurs Attack.
As you can see, they were extremely gory and I’m amazed that my mom let me buy them. Owning the whole set actually told a story from card to card. They were great. At some point in my youth I lost them, but a few years ago a friend who worked in a comic store found a complete set for me and I was beyond excited. The other and most obvious influence for the theme was the Dino Riders toys from the 80’s. I loved them and played with them like crazy.
When googling Dino Riders these two images come up immediately. The second one alone illustrates the theme perfectly. I knew I wanted to make a game about fighting dinosaurs. Since I knew I wanted to make a dinosaur war game, it led to me thinking about one of my favorite games as a child … Battle Masters.
My younger brother and I played this game often. I loved playing with the miniatures, moving the units around the giant mat of a board, and figuring out the best ways to defeat my brother’s army. The thing I loved about the game was that while there were many decisions to make about where to move and who to attack, the mechanics were very simple. Each unit had a combat value that determined how many dice you could roll and a range depending on the type of unit. Other than that all the units had the same HP, they could all only move one space at a time, and which units moved was determined by a deck of cards. There were some exceptions but you basically moved and attacked until one army was eliminated. Games have evolved quite a lot since then so Primal Ordinance will definitely have a lot more depth to it. But playing with miniatures, the hexagonal nature of the board and the fact that each unit had it’s own stats for movement and range are all facets that I have incorporated into the design.
I want this game to be about strategy and how best to defeat your opponents. I want there it be multiple avenues to victory. I also want it to be accessible to a wide range of gamers. I’m trying hard to keep the mechanics simple enough not to overwhelm beginner table top gamers, but deep enough to keep experienced gamers engaged. And of course I want Primal Ordnance to be fun for everyone no matter how long you’ve been playing games.
As I put the finishing touches on my prototype during the next few weeks and start the long process of playtesting, I’ll post more updates about the different mechanics of the game and the ideas behind them. Here’s a look at what it looks like now and stay tuned for more.