“The Magitech Wars” is actually a sequel to one of my other games: Godsend. The project was started back in 2013, about seven years after the development of Godsend. At that time, my main job was not as demanding as it is today and I was still excited and optimistic about my endeavaour’s into the board game scene.
Magitech Wars (MTW) was also the first game I worked on together with an artist (Widodo Pangarso from Indonesia). He was quite young and still developing his skills back at the time, but he is a hard working artist and always very quick and dedicated to his work. This was also one of the first paid jobs I commissioned via the internet.
Please head to the article about Godsend if you want to read the full story about the game. Instead, I’ll focus on the changes applied to MTW compared to Godsend:
All in all, MTW is a refinement of the Godsend rules with several extras and widgets added to it. The whole game was re-themed and re-named and as of today I still think that the “techno-fantasy” background world is quite interesting and unique compared to many other concepts out there.
Hand in hand with the new theme came a re-design of the layout and the status cards. The card templates where heavily influenced by CCGs and TCGs like Duelmasters and represented a bright, colorful and even somewhat cartoonish techno-fantasy creatures like Technomancer’s, Computer Knights, Cyborg Reapers and so on.
In addition, MTW introduced several new concepts in order to expand the lifetime of the project and increase depth of play. Many of the concepts I do perceive still as OK nowadays, while others are actually a step backwards instead of fowards. But one does always realize after doing something and not beforehand.
Some of the concepts introduced in MTW where:
- Dice – The new combat system made use of dice in order to add a randomization factor to the game. This lowers the entrance hurdle for newbies a lot, but also takes away a lot of the tactics that where present in the original Godsend game. 2d6 + Power was the base formula used to determine combat outcome, and as all creature stats ranged around 4-7 – the results where so balanced that it did not really add anything to the game. Should I ever re-design this game once more, randomization would be OK, but not the way done in MTW. Actually, personally I would prefer a even-more-hardcore remake of Godsend with no luck involved. This would play as a expandable/collectible/customizable chess variant. But, I guess thats not a niche in nowadays markets.
- New card types and abilities – actually a step forward, I was able to expand the games horizon quite a bit by adding new stuff without breaking the old one. The addition of Elements has quite some Magic: The Gathering flair to it. But as the core game mechanics are so different, nobody really notices that.
- Multi Function cards – Each card can now be played as both a Creature or as a Spell. Thats quite a novel feature and another game designer copied it several times as well. Actually I do not mind about this fact, as it proves the concept to be innovative and suitable for card games. Definitely something I want to try again later on!
- Resource System – This one changed as well and worked out quite well. Inspired by Duelmasters it’s not a novel feature but it did it’s job over and over again.
- Cards instead of Miniatures – More of a cosmetic change but very important in order to monetize the game at a budget!
This all being said, MTW was one of the more serious efforts to self-publish a board game with low to no budget. I actually stopped developing the game further because my main job (or should I say job’S) kept me more and more busy. I don’t know if the weird background world would attract many people, but the overall game is a clear improvement of Godsend and I still think it could have been quite successful.
After so many years, you step back and take another look at your projects. And yes, nowadays I find many flaws and design faults in MTW:
- Length – The game is still too long. I switched to design games utilizing way smaller boards after MTW. Big boards are the bane of quick games and until today I have not found any workaround for this problem but to downsize the board.
- Overcomplexity – This adds to the lenghty games, as the many “tacked-on” features add a lot of flavor but also take much longer to process. This creates some overcomplexity that is not justified by the gameplay in itself. The game is fun but the features make it more complex than it has to be. If I would re-design this game once more, I would cut back a few of these features and concentrate on the core instead.
Well, this game is finished as well. Sitting here on my hard-drive for years. It even has a complete core-set with several cards and elements that blend together and still allow a bit of strategic deck-building freedom.
*sigh* good old times!