Siege on the House of Suits is a cooperative board game where two players act as mercenaries or heroes who are hired by a mysterious figure to raze the four cities the make up the "House of Suits." Players are able to use their regular actions and ability cards to siege the cities or tend to their own wounds. After they make their move, the cities retaliate with thunder and fury! Each side takes their turn back and forth until one team is defeated!
The concept for Siege on the House of Suits came was inspired by having a pile of dice and a deck of cards. My original partner and I were going to make some sort of survival game but couldn't pin down its mechanics. We then came up with the idea of making it sort of war game where there were four cities--hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades--where the two players were trying angered gods trying to destroy them. Originally there was a small list of abilities that each player could use, and the cities moves were predetermined and simple.
After the groups were split and we went our own ways, I added a few more abilities and tested the idea several times over the weekend and came to the following conclusions:
1) The ability pool was small and didn't allow for diverse strategy
2) After defeating any one city the game becomes way to easy
3) If a player is defeated having them do nothing isn't exciting
4) Having the same abilities between each player wasn't interesting
Ultimately I realized that it was fundamentally sound, but the actual mechanics needed to be reworked. So then I went to a class system with 6 unique roles that each had their own abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. To make sure that players weren't abusing a single ability, I assigned each ability to a deck of cards and made it so the player could only play one of their class specific abilities if they had the card in their hand. Lastly, each city and player were able to influence the battle even after being defeated to keep the gameplay more dynamic and the late game more interesting.
Some of these mechanics were inspired from games like Forbidden Desert and Pandemic, where each player is given a list of universal abilities to make sure they knew what they were aloud to do even if they didn't have an in depth understanding of the rules. A major complication due to the "alpha" nature of the game was that no actual cards for the abilities were made. Rather pieces of papers with numbers on them represented each ability which, after a few rounds of play, proved to work just fine (but having the abilities written on the cards would've made the experience much smoother).
After I fixed the games pacing by reducing the health of all units, the game ended up being a lot of fun. Despite a few mishaps with the cards flying around (because they were paper) the game's flow was dynamic and a few player decisions even surprised me: risky play relying on the dice not kill them next turn, extremely safe play by staying as close to full health as possible, and some insanely unlucky dice rolls. If given the time, I'd really like to see where this game goes because I think it definitely has potential.