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SpellMasters: Version 2.0

And so I have been working on "SpellMasters" knowing fully well that the design was "incomplete" and had a bunch of ideas -- but nothing strong enough for me to get excited about the game.

That was until YESTERDAY, where I got to thinking that:

  1. I don't need a board, instead a puzzle like game such as "Crosswords".
  2. If I introduce a "Dungeon Lord", the game can be controlled by one player while the other players work co-opetively to conquer each level.
  3. A randomizer for the puzzle part giving varying amounts of experience.

I'm still not 100% certain about how this all "meshes together", but never the less, I'm thinking about it.

Currently what I have is from three (3) to five (5) players. Each player is a Wizard from one (1) of nine (9) races. Each Wizard has his own play board which describes the advancements and spells/abilities he/she can harness. And one (1) of those players is the "Dungeon Lord" and helps "define" the solutions to be "spell-ed".

Anyways the ideas SOUND "fresh"... Not having seen anything like this, encourages me to invest more time into the idea.



Note: "Crosswords" while interesting would make the game BORING, because it would mean only a LIMITED amount of replayability. That's why I'm going to focus my efforts on designing a "dynamic" puzzle engine that can be used over and over, with different "Dungeon Lords", allowing each game to be unique based on whatever background/culture/experiences each "Dungeon Lord" may have had during their "real lives"...

Definitely seeing an "angle" here ... and it's got me excited.


So what's the HOOK???

Well since the game is called "SpellMasters", you must "SPELL" words in ways to earn Mana and Experience. One (1) Player is the "Dungeon Lord" and the other players are all "Wizards" from different races. Again Masters in weaving "Spells" together... (Another reason why it's call SpellMasters too!)

Right now the combat mechanic is "bare-bones". But I'm looking into something like the "FATE"-system with the associated dice to determine how battle are conducted.

It's co-operative but also competitive (so co-opetive) where Wizards help each other out in battling minions and finally a Boss on the last level of the game. There are also Loot (Treasures, items and equipment) and Quests (bonus experience and loot) to discover too.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm sort of basing myself on creating a "dynamic crossword engine" that will be used by "Dungeon Lords" to control and define the delve in different ways each time the game is played.

Also with nine (9) races, there is also a lot of replayability in terms of Wizards and their competencies/abilities.

This design has sort of "grown" on me... now that it's less about a bunch of pieces and seems to sort of becoming a bigger whole. We'll see where things lead...

Component information

So aside from a "Tile bag" and letter "shards" (probably like 150 shards ... I don't want to go with Scrabble's distribution - for legal reasons...) and a "Campaign Deck" of sixty (60) cards.

  • 20 "Lore" Cards - relevant to the adventure/campaign
  • 20 "Loot" Cards - various items, treasures and equipment
  • 20 "Quest" Cards - Add some variability to the "Lore" cards
  • 20 "Encounter" Cards - Give a combat mechanic to tie things together

The goal is with a PACK ("Deck") of sixty (60) cards you can play a campaign/adventure as many times as you LIKE -- but you could also buy a NEW pack with a different adventure/campaign ... in some different setting.

Since the game will use a "dynamic" puzzle engine, each game will be different. But there can be overlapping in terms of the "storyline". Still working on defining how "VARIABLE" that can be... But if you WANT there to be some kind of "storyline", you need an arc. More thinking has to be done... but generally I like where this design is going!


More thinking required...

It would seem as if the "Dungeon Lord" idea isn't a good idea.

Firstly if there were 3 words (or more) to be chosen by the "Dungeon Lord". I agree that making the words up "dynamically" would be "interesting" BUT there is a serious drawback: the game would be more like a "Wheel of Fortune" where the guessing of the words is what would be required.

But this game-system (aka Wheel of Fortune) has near-zero (0) support for interaction among the Wizards. It's boring simply guessing letters. I've examine the system for how it could work in context with SpellMasters and I find that IT WON'T WORK. It just dumbs down the game...

If however the "Lore" deck was STATIC (closer to crosswords) and RANDOM, each level could pose new and different challenges. Granted in the LONG RUN, it would be sort of "repetitive"...

But like I said, you could purchase "Decks" of sixty (60) cards for new adventures, which would eliminate the "repetitive" nature of statically designed cards. This would eliminate the need for "Dungeon Lord" and allow all five (5) Wizards to co-opetate with each other to "solve" the current "Lore" card.

Anyway this will require some more thinking. And make for a more challenging game overall.

Keep you all posted about my efforts. Cheers!

First attempt at "Lore" cards!

Well I'm using Excel to define the "Lore" cards which instruct the Wizards what they must accomplish before finishing a level. These cards define timers for "Q"uests and "E"ncounters (and the number of Wizards who may partake) which vary per "Lore" card.

I've done about 50% (5/10) "Lore" cards -- and I'm liking it... Liking it A LOT!!! It really feels natural and how the other cards such as Encounters or Quests are defined is sufficiently simple, yet it seem to be FUN too!

Very happy with how this design is progressing.

Obviously there are two (2) elements that need further examination and those are: 1> A "FATE"-like combat engine and 2> "Wizard Mats" for each character.

The "Wizard Mats" will start with six (6) mats and the rest can remain Kickstarter bonus material (Stretch Goals). More "Lore" cards for the base game, currently there are only ten (10)... which could add to the replayability too. And then there are the fifteen (15) "Loot" cards. By adding more of these -- may vary play a little bit too.

I was thinking about "Saving" the game with the use of stickers... But I am going to abandon that idea. My solution to saving the game? Simple. All you do is take a PICTURE with your SMARTPHONE of YOUR "Wizard's Mat" to keep track of your Wizard's progression... Pretty cool, eh?

Going to try to work on getting the "Lore" cards finished today.

Keep you all posted on my progress. Cheers.

Working on the Tiles

Well I chose a "nice" font for the Tiles and Verdana for Point Values. Made the Letters a bit "smaller" too... Just so you can clearly see the Tile and it's value easily. I decided to go with a WHITE font and a "gray" background (instead of White). Otherwise I would need to double the Tiles and make one set White and the other set Black...

Nah. White on darker GRAY will look fine!

Uploaded and ordered from TGC

Well I completed all six (6) sets of Game Tiles for this version of the game. That's a whooping 600 Game Tiles (100 per player). We'll see if this is TOO MUCH but being able to playtest the "Lore" Cards with the Game Tiles will give me a clue about how much is necessary (in terms of Game Tiles).

I'm now going to focus on the "Battle" engine, I have some ideas - just wanted the Character Mats to be filled with all kinds of knowledge ladders for all kinds of stats and abilities.

Instead of having "Equipment" for Knives, Daggers, Staffs, Wands, Scepters, etc. Each Wizard will have his own upgrade tree.

Right now without playtesting -- my worry is that insufficient players may get in on the action. It seems like everyone is "playing" but not everyone will get the chance to earn experience. What I have been thinking is that instead of just one (1) dungeon deck, the publisher could offer two (2)... We'll see once I get some playtesting done.


Update: I am thinking that the Game Tiles might be slashed in half (so around the 50 range) per player. This of course needs more playtesting by yours truly... So I can get a better feel for what is required per player.

The cool thing is that this a "cooperative" game with a "competitive" feel to it. So it's going to be FUN playtesting the game -- because I'm just playing with the game and seeing how it goes. The cooperative angle will make it easier to playtesting (IMHO).

Combat system has been resolved

Well I have designed a simple combat mechanic which requires rolling of 2d6 (fudge dice) and then rolling a damage die/dice depending on the weapon's basic attack.

Looks pretty "clean" and can allow for counter-attacks by the enemy minions. This occurs when pushing your luck and with poor dice rolls in favour of your enemy...

Let you all know what's next for this game...


"Basic" attacks - Try #1

So I didn't get too much time to work on this design (maybe 2 hours only), but I setup some stats with XP to see how one character could evolve.

This is still in spreadsheet form, so I will need to probably tweak it for the player mats.

On the spreadsheet, I have 6 weapons. I think trimming it down to 3 might be better. I'll work on this tomorrow.


Got my Tile Pouches TODAY!

Well I searched the Internet a few weeks ago dice pouches... I couldn't find some "basic" dice pouch bags for my Game Tiles. So I remembered that "The Game Crafter" (TGC) and checked to see what they had available.

And it turned out TGC had small dice pouches ... the perfect size for one player's Game Tiles. I even got an extra "plastic baggie" which held all of the dice pouches and I will store the extra tiles in that baggie.

I recently did a "re-think" about the number of Game Tiles. I've taken the numbers from 100 Game Tiles to 60 Game Tiles. Less is better because of creating more co-operative game play (and score more XP "Experince Points"). This is primarily because Game Tiles are less present and force players to co-operate as opposed of being only competitive.

Waiting for my Game Tiles from TGC (should come in a week)... More updates once I get those too!

Note: I managed to get SIX (6) different colored pouches which correspond to the colors of the Game Tiles (Red, Green, Blue, Purple, Gray and Black).

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blog | by Dr. Radut