Whew, that was a long weekend. Hope you guys like the game!
In the old west, you live and die by the cards. What cards exactly? Well, that depends on how quickly you beat your opponents. Prove yourself a quick draw, and you can add their leftover cards to your deck as you go. Explore the local township, and find out what happened to your horse.
For speedrunning: Press R to restart the game at any point, it should reset everything properly. Why not make this a real-world duel as well? XD
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Pleasant, vibrant visuals propped up with humor to boot, that's always a good combo. Slapping on spaghetti western music would have gone over well too. I guess you wanted to make everything yourself. Can't blame ya, pardner.
The first time around I didn't understand what the something special meant. It is not obvious that yellow means protection, as the tutorial simply states that stars mean protection. Figuring out what different mechanics do in a puzzle (with infinite undos) is fine, but in a card-based competition it is merely annoying. There is not enough visual feedback to indicate why certain cards would destroy some surrounding cards, but not others, if the yellow bullets rule is not clear. In short, I'd just explain it in the tutorial; it saves time and nothing is lost.
On the two other play-throughs I did have a good time. I quite like the rules apart from how new cards are awarded. Certain kinds of victories, namely sapping cards from the adversary, are not rewarded as the enemy deck runs dry. For instance, in situations like this:
The enemy mindlessly slaughers all of its remaining cards, leaving me with no award for the clever play. Fortunately, in this case new cards aren't desperately needed, even the horse can be beat dead with mostly starting cards.
There is much room for new cards and mechanics with this design. The wild west theme also works. I reckon this here competition could go to places.
Now that I think of it, this reminds me of Card City Nights. Worth a play, if you have not yet.
The intro made me laugh. The graphics in general are really nice for something that could have been done in Paint. Proves once more that it's about skills, not tools. The animations help too. And the writing is very witty.
The mechanics are quite interesting, though it might be better if it were possible to see at least some of the opponent's cards, to make it less than guesswork. A better tutorial or external description is essential though; right now I think got most of it but was still sometimes surprised by what happened. I haven't played any of the similar games mentioned in the comments above. But it really helps that you can retry as often as you like.
I would love to have some music to go with this!
Thanks for the feedback everybody, and I'm glad most people enjoyed themselves!
@everyone: You guys are definitely right about the tutorial, and the "something special". I changed the corner icons in the last three hours of the jam, but didn't update the tutorial to be more explicit about what they did afterwards. Initially it was orange bullets over stars, but golden bullets conveyed protected edges more easily to me, at a glance. With more time I'd probably redo the whole intro as a tutorial battle, though, since text is skimmed by like half of all players anyway…
@HuvaaKoodia: Your screencap is cool, and well done setting that up! Part of what I wanted to do with victories was a quick-draw incentive, where beating enemies quickly gave you better reward cards. This avoids some dominant strategies, as you have to work with the next enemy's deck to end on a slight advantage, instead of taking all of the spaces yourself. And it also guides the player towards getting faster speedrun times, with the mindless card slaughter being a time penalty for not playing that way.
Was this reward design as successful as I wanted it to be? Not really, but hopefully you can see where I was experimenting with these ideas. I was actually considering an expanded version of this game in an Egypt+Taroh theme, where the icons would be wands, stars, swords, and cups, so I'd probably tweak the whole formula if I do that one.
And yes! I mentioned Card City Nights in my initial planning phase post, that and FF8 were major design inspirations here. Since I played CCN2 recently, but didn't like it as much as the first game, I wanted to see if there was a way to have opponents battle on the same board, without losing the edge-based icons and combos. CCN is very much a build-sets-of-three game, which telegraphs threats well in advance, so I thought incorporating Triple Triad's immediacy would make it more compelling. I think that part turned out pretty great, even if my AI isn't always the smartest.
@thomastc: Lol at that MS Paint comment, thanks I guess? I made my art in Photoshop with a Cintiq 13HD drawing tablet, so I'd probably be the first person to argue that tools do matter, especially under gamejam time constraints. Skills can only get you so far, back in the day I had to draw on paper, scan it, trace the outline in Illustrator with my mouse… drawing directly on a screen with touch pressure is so much easier!
And I'll add music next time, everybody! I was way overscoped this time around, I'm surprised it all coalesced at the end of three days, to be honest.