This is not something that fundamentally changed anything about the game, but I was contemplating the nature of the Action Cards today while doing a bunch of stair climbing. Seriously, getting up and moving sometimes is the greatest thought catalyst.
Anyway, I was thinking about how I would explain the rules for the game for the upcoming play test. And one of the things that occurred to me, which was not how I originally envisioned them, is that the Action cards in Desolate Front are essentially like mana from Magic. They are the power for doing things within the game. They don’t work exactly like mana, but in order to take any action, you need to have an Action card.
How they differ is that you can use a Shoot Action card to shoot an opponent. it does not sit there waiting for you to draw another card in order to act. But, if you do wait and hold it until later, you can use the power of that Shoot Action card to trigger a Snipe card which provides even more power. Making this leap in how the cards are thought of, opens up new possibilities that didn’t exist before. I’d been trying to force certain things on the rules and though they worked in theory, they felt like wings bolted onto a Volkswagen Beetle; they might provide lift and you could potentially get airborne, but it would not be a thing of beauty nor will that flight get you where you want to go.
I’ve been designing games in one form or another, professionally, for over 10 years now. And the thrill of working a new twist into something you have created is still there. I think that’s how I know I still want to do this. When you are so excited about how something came about that you actually have to share the process and not the “rule” or mechanic. I hope, in the end, that what I create is something that I like, not just something that works. And if I get there, some of you may like it as well.