Genre: Wargame, Team Tactics
Project Role: Solo Developer
What is it?
"DYNO-Mech Gladiators" is a four player, tabletop team-tactics game centering on pilots of dinosaur-shaped mechs, competing in a sports-like arena.
Players choose from a roster of eight separate characters, each with their own backstories, abilities, and appearances.
The goal is to score 20 points within 6 rounds as determined by the players' turn order. In the case that neither team gets to 20 points, the team that scored more points wins.
The map is designed to allow for multiple lanes of movement while focusing on the three hills that allow the players to score additional points.
The players' spawn zones are set behind protective one-way doors. Each spawn zone has multiple exits to prevent players from being cornered and stuck into the spawn zone.
The hills (hereafter A, B, and C) can each be controlled by either team. Each hill grants the controlling team an extra point when they defeat an opponent. A and C are closer to each team's respective spawn zones to encourage players to move toward B. This is to help the players get into the action faster and allows for more strategic choices.
The golden spaces located around the central area of the map are pickup spaces to encourage players to move around the map more. These spaces gain an extra point at rounds 2 and 4 that can be collected. The decision for this is to speed up the pacing of the gameplay, and to potentially give the underdog team a chance to catch up.
The brown spaces act as a cover that allows players to receive some amount of protection. These spaces also grant players advantage to attacks. These spaces also cost an extra movement point to enter, shorten players' effective lines of sight, and slow down the gameplay pacing.
There are several systems at work in this game. The statistics of each character fall under the following categories: Armor, Health, Dodge, Accuracy, and Damage. Characters also all have a specific archetype: Support, Damage, Scout, or Tank. Four of the characters are blends of these primary archetypes, and as such, have their abilities and statistics reflect these blends.
Support characters are focused on helping their allies and hindering their opponents. Damage characters focus on dealing damage to opponents and helping themselves deal more damage. Scout characters focus on maneuverability and harassing opponents. Tank characters focus on shielding their allies and absorbing as much damage as possible.
The armor in this game is called ablative armor. This means that each piece of armor has a set value it blocks with any remaining damage affecting the target's health. This means that if a character that has an armor value of 4 receives an attack dealing 6 damage, they lose the piece of armor and take 2 damage. Every character's armor pattern is based off of their archetype.
Every character has 3 active abilities and one passive. Each ability is tailored to the character's archetype(s). All of the abilities are designed to complement each other, both within each character’s kit and within the roster as a whole, with some characters having a higher skill ceiling than others.
To further differentiate between each character, each character's abilities have different cooldowns. This means that each ability must charge for a certain number of rounds, and once it is used, it has to charge again. Each ability also has some sort of special effect, including but not limited to: damage over time, healing over time, and temporary invulnerability.
To confirm that each character functioned as intended, I performed extensive playtesting. This playtesting also served to help me refine the level and system design.
What went right?
With the aid of playtesting, I was able to make an interesting level that players enjoyed moving through. In addition, players thoroughly enjoyed each of the characters, and when asked why they chose a character, the response was generally that they relate to them and wanted to play someone like they see themselves in that scenario.
What went wrong?
This game had an extremely steep learning curve, due, in part, to the interface that players used in gameplay. There was a large amount of information to keep track of, as well. However, once the players got the hang of the game, they had an easy time enjoying themselves while working within the system I designed.