Godsend – Customizable Strategy Boardgame

Godsend – Customizable Strategy Boardgame

Godsend was created from 2006 to 2007 and is finished. It was available as free print and play and even generated a small fandom back in the days. All downloads have been taken offline since the indie publishing bubble busted sometime in 2010 (drop me a line if you want a copy). In August 2006, the company Wizards of the Coast released a game called Dreamblade and someone compared it to the old computer game Archon. I still see this comparison with both awe and anger, as Archon was the very first computer game (on the C64 of my friends brother) that I ever played and enjoyed crazily. After the release of Dreamblade, I began working on Godsend – inspired by the fact, that “the Wizards” created something else than just another collectible card game.

Godsend is played using freely available print and play rules, a free playmat that you have to print, cut and assemble yourself and a bunch of status cards that represent one miniature each. If you want to improve gameplay, you are encouraged to use any kind of fantasy miniature (like the ones from Games Workshop) to replace the status cards with real miniatures. The game is limited to two players who are pitted against each other. Each player represents a god, waging war over the realm of mortals. You win the game by earning victory points, this can be done by defeating your opponents minions or controlling special tiles on the board. Players summon minions during their turn, move them around, activate special abilities and attack the other players minions.

The game features deck-building and requires a lot of strategy and tactics. Even more because the game is completely without any element of luck! Thats right. Godsend is almost like a chess variant with some fantasy thematic and a deckbuilding aspect to it. Until today, I see this game as one of my best designs ever. Although, after excessive testing, I am able to see 3 problems:

  1. Name – The name was a very bad choice, as it has absolutely nothing to do with the game.
  2. Length – The games tend to drag. As Godsend is directly inspired by Dreamblade, it shares the same problem: Dreamblade also took quite long until the players saw some action. The same is true to Godsend.
  3. Expandability – With no luck component and a limited set of core mechanics, the well of ideas tends to dry rather quickly (but games with infinite collectability are out of fashion anyways these days).

As stated above, this game is complete. This includes rules, rules-draft, rules-writing, rulebook design and layout, core set design, playtesting, blind playtesting as well as maintaining a tiny community around it. Among all my concepts and free games, Godsend was the most successful. And who knows? It could even have been a commercial success with some tweaks to it and a re-theme/re-name.

Note: I picked up this idea about 7-8¬†years later and continued to develop it into “The Magitech Wars”. See that blog entry for more information.

Completion time (including testing & community development): 500+ hours
Investment: 0 (I did not use stock art back in the days and utilized free public domain artwork resources instead).

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