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Subject: Masamune Diary #1: Anime Archetypes in Card Games rss

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Brandon Higley
United States
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My name is Brandon Higley, and I am one of the co-designers of Masamune Shining Forge Academy (now on Kickstarter, *cough*cough*). I wanted to share some of the obstacles we faced, and outline the overall design goals for Masamune, and detail how we created the deck-building/tower defense game it is today. This will be the first development diary for Masamune, so stay tuned for more!

While we were taking a break from playtesting Nightlight, I don’t even remember who it was, but somebody suggested we make a tropey-as-hell anime brawler micro card game. We all loved the idea, and started brainstorming our favorite tropes (mech pilot, boy detective, etc.), and started trying to figure out how each one would function in a simple card game. We decided on four main characters, and started fleshing out which strategies they would embody (links to their more finalized character previews below):

The Partners: Goten and Trunks, Maka and Soul, etc. - Rivalries between main characters create drama from episode to episode, but it also makes it that much more satisfying when they finally learn to trust one another and cooperate to defeat the Big Bad. We wanted to create a duo “character” that could flip-flop between opposite strategies. In this case, we settled on tall versus wide, or one huge attack versus the death by a thousand cuts.
The Martial Artist: Naruto, Goku, etc. - Scenes of episodes-long battles (and “powering up”) come to mind when I think of the martial artist archetype. We knew his attacks would have to be the strongest ones in the entire game, but have a delayed effect to simulate the time it takes him to charge them. The other alternative would be to use “state changes” to simulate Super Saiyan forms, in which all of his attacks get stronger, but at some continuous resource cost, since elevated energy levels are difficult to maintain.
The Magical Girl: Sailor Moon, Card Captor Sakura, etc. - Nothing ever gets the magical girl down. She will always believe that good can conquer evil, no matter what the odds. But, it’s only when this hope is truly challenged that she can save the day (usually only after some Tuxedo Mask reminds her how powerful she is). Similar to the martial artist, we wanted the magical girl to have to maintain a secondary resource, in this case “hope”, in order to become more powerful. Unlike the martial artist, though, it isn’t a simple power boost, but rather, a resource that can be spent to fuel different active and passive abilities at different times.
The Reformed Demon: Inuyasha, Prince Zuko, etc. - Everyone loves it when the bad guy turns good (especially the shippers!). The former bad guy uses his dark energies for good, unleashing hell on the battlefield. We originally had a resource system similar to “hope” that would allow the demon to manipulate the effects on other players’ cards, but once the monsters and Chibis were introduced (more on that in a later diary), we decided he would draw his power from a different, formerly evil, source.

So, that was our reasoning and motivation behind the way each of the characters play in Masamune, which influenced the different cards and passives they gain throughout the game. I think we managed not to pigeonhole any of the characters, either, and allowed them to be adaptable no matter which deck-building strategy a player employs.

In a few days, I’ll post another developer diary, but until then, check out our campaign, and let me know which archetype you would put in a card game, and what strategy you would use!

Thanks for reading!
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