The Layers Of An Onion
I am glad to see you have arrived :)
You may be new to Rogue Angels, or perhaps you have been with me from the beginning. In all cases, I welcome you to this first entry into my designer journal for Rogue Angels. Through these posts I will try to uncover more of the gaming experience, while also giving you some insights into what, how, and why I have designed the game the way I have.
This will also be part of Rogue Angels' journey to Kickstarter and final product.
I hope you will enjoy the ride :)
So, what exactly do I mean by comparing Rogue Angels to an onion? To my mind, a good game must consist of several layers that can slowly be peeled away as players discover its story, mechanics, and strategic depth.
A game must have something awaiting the returning player. Personally, I return to games to explore more, look at new ways to play and enjoy it. It has more to offer than what I first encountered. The game must not impede this with unnecessary roadblocks or constraints. You could even say that the bigger the roadblock, the bigger the pay-off of returning must be.
I have built Rogue Angels around three pillars:
These pillars must always complement each other and always stand aside when the other elements are taking stage.
- In practice this means that the rules must never bog down the flow of the game, and the story must never become so long or complicated that players cannot follow it or get to the action parts. And neither of those must take away from the player agency.
Marketing vs Experience
From a marketing perspective, it would make sense to have Rogue Angels firing on all cylinders from the moment player set foot in the first Hellfire bar on Fury's Fall. It would perhaps be easier to sell too - "look at all these fancy bits and mechanics all fused into the game".
However, when you look at it from a perspective of getting a 40-hours-campaign-experience to work, things start to look a bit different. I want Rogue Angels to be a fresh, engaging, and fun experience every time gamers sit down to play. Each mission must unwrap a new element, new dilemma, new mechanic twist, new story arc, new NPC, new enemy behavior, or new action cards.
It WOuld Be Cool If...
Not everything can or should evolve all the time, as you want to keep the whole experience familiar and easy to pick up, even if gamers have to go into a hiatus for a while. It is, however, very important to me that Rogue Angels keeps players on their toes, that it can surprise them and present new challenges that will spur engaging table talks.
After trying the introduction mission, I have had many testers say something along the lines of: "It would be cool if...". While I do take notes from all those awesome ideas, I can most of the time say with confidence that the players have something in store for when they return to the table :)
As a campaign designer you should always strive to hit the balance between new and old. To never shy away from what makes the game great, but also not leave the players to fall asleep at the wheel. In practice this means that I introduce a lot of different elements down the line, instead of shotgun pepper players during the first three missions.
I think it is best we keep it spoiler-free, but I can assure you that even 30 missions down the line, the game will still present something new :)
So What Is Rogue Angels?
What exactly is Rogue Angels, except a metaphoric onion? :D
It has RPG relationships and character development but is not pure RPG. It has stealth options on some missions, but it is not a stealth orientated game. It has boss battles when needed, but it is not a boss battler. It has tactical combat but is much more than hack and slash. It has hacking and puzzles, but also loot, upgrades, and personal stories.
I usually go with the term "sci-fi adventure", as it touches a lot of different elements from other game genres, and the underlying theme is the epic adventure that players are taking part in.
I would however be lying if I did not say that I often fall back on the easier descriptor of: "Imagine Mass Effect as a board game". It is usually the best way to convey just how many elements have been worked into the game and how they are tied together by an overarching story with unique characters, exciting moments, and personal stakes.
Thank you for reading. I hope it inspired you :)
Now I would like to hear what layers of the Rogue Angels onion you have enjoyed so far? And if you have not already, which one do you look forward to dive into, or what would you like me to talk more about?
You can always try Rogue Angels on Tabletop Simulator.
Thanks again for all your encouragement in this endeavor :)
Best regards Emil
Join the community on Discord and Facebook | Get notified when the Kickstarter launches
Leave a Reply.