Time for yet another discussion about design choices for Sigils of Kairos. Today’s post I will be talking about trap cards. I’ll start by discussing the reasons for including them, how they’ve changed from that original idea, and then touch on the different traps available. Let’s go!
First off, one would assume that trap cards came about from playing Yugioh or Hearthstone. This is probably subconsciously true, but it is important to note that I played neither of these when they were included into Sigils. Traps were actually a natural and obvious solution for one of my initial worries, Hand Dumping. Even before my initial mock-up for the game, I knew that there had to be something in place to make players think twice about throwing down a card. In fact, I liked this idea so much, that I left three spaces for traps for each player! Thankfully, when Jacob agreed to take on the project, he quickly noted that this is overkill and would serve only to frustrate.
Touching on a design philosophy so wonderfully explained in an Extra Credits video, traps were a perfect way to add a lot of depth with very little complexity. By this I mean that the traps added a lot of strategy and thinking through plays without having players learn any difficult-to-grasp rules. Any player can understand how a move could get blocked by a trap, but good players know to bait out a trap by throwing out a weak attack before unloading their special moves. As our game evolved to include the forge mechanic, this became even more important. Forging powerful cards meant that a player was putting more eggs in one basket. If that move gets blocked by a trap, that player didn’t just lose one card, but 2 or 3. That being said, let’s take a look at the traps that we’ve included in Sigils.
This is probably the most important of the traps as it cuts right to the main purpose of traps. When triggered, the tank shield doesn’t just prevent one attack, but three! Throw in the ability to upgrade this to a 5 shield trap, and it’s easy to see why this card defines Otto’s role as a tank.
The most standard of the different trap cards, Skrill’s bone ward blocks a single attack and throws a bit of damage their way via poison damage over time. This move (as well as Bone Cage) helps classify Skrill into the support role and pushes back against the idea that support roles are simply just healers.
Another seemingly standard trap card, Stalagg’s frost ward (Pictured above) blocks a single attack while slowing the attacker’s draw speed. Though this may not seem very useful this move serves to slow down the entire game, which was a major goal when designing Stalagg. This allows the player to breathe and plan out their moves against an aggressive enemy team.
One would have thought this would be the most boring of the traps, but Amyth’s flame ward comes with its own unique mechanic. Unlike the other traps, the flame ward actually runs on a timer. This means that over-zealous players can hit this trap twice. We don’t extend this prolonged trap time for very long because Amyth doesn’t fall into the tank or support roles, but it opens doors for future trap designs.
Last but not least is the trap for Lynx. I had planned for this to be another run-of-the-mill trap, but Jacob took this in a completely different direction. When he had first brought up the idea, I wasn’t sure how it would play out. After seeing the animation, however, I was instantly convinced it should be in the game. Mechanically, Lynx’s portal ward ended being a very powerful tool. Perfectly suited as a strong support move, the stakes for falling into this trap are very high. By losing a key character like a tank or healer for a short time, the player is now left very vulnerable.
That about does it for this post. Though I don’t post on a weekly basis, I do hope that you find these insights worth reading when I can get them loaded and ready to go. Though I would love to engage more with you all, please remember that for now we are a small two man team working between our regular jobs. Our saving grace is that our build is very far along and playable, despite needing a bit of fleshing out and balancing. We would like to express our ceaseless gratitude for showing interest in our small project in our grassroots days and we look forward to bringing you all the very best gaming experience we can. Until next time.