Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sudden Death: Ninja Attack

Sudden Death Ninja Fire Sketches

It was half past midnight when he reached the bridge, stopping to stare up at the moon as an all-too-familiar sensation prickled his consciousness. He was not alone, and whoever was out there was broadcasting the intent to kill. A slow smirk creeped across his face behind his mask, one hand reaching down to select a few smoke bombs from the pouch at his side. A quick flick of the wrist in the direction of his opponent and thick veil of smoke became his only friend -- the fight was on.  (Blurb courtesy of +Jillian McGrath)

 -CJ Andersen

So on Monday, while in the shower, I was struck with a sudden and deadly idea for a game.  Two ninja, locked in stealthy combat, in a back and forth battle which can only have one winner... or none.

So in the next few hours, after Erik and I hashed out some basic rules, Sudden Death: Ninja Attack was born.  We had a prototype of 25 cards the next day and tested it out at our trip to Battleground Games & Hobbies on Wednesday.  Using traps, melee and ranged attacks, each player uses their arsenal of cards, shared from the same deck as their opponent, in an attempt to gain the advantage, and find the one weakness the enemy has no defense for.  We found it works well as a basic game, and flows generally the way we want it to.

We designed the card game to have periods of quiet, preparing your arsenal, circling one another looking for an opening.  Those are followed by quick rounds of attack and counterattack (and counter attacks to your counter attacks) until either one ninja is dead, or a card is played that allows the players to withdraw back into a preparation phase.  Games play out fairly quickly; only a couple of minutes from start to gruesome death.

It's been interesting to figure out how the cards interact in a way that is asymmetrically balanced.  Attacks and counterattacks are based on the ancient art of 両拳 (Rock/Paper/Scissors), with other cards thrown in to make things interesting.  The challenge going forward is to tweak the balance so that there aren't any single cards that act as "I get this, I win" cards, and to add some cards to make the deck slightly larger.  We hope to eventually have this out in a free print-and-play version, as well as real cards you can buy (probably via DriveThroughCards).  Expect more updates on this game soon, with pictures.

UPDATE:  You can now find the rules HERE

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