Friday, March 29, 2013

Card Art for Sudden Death

kusari-gama sudden death ninja attack card game+Erik McGrath

The art for Sudden Death is now fully underway thanks to +Laura Hamilton. Her stuff is fantastic, as I'm sure many of you already know, and the challenge for us now is doing the typing and setting up her images with the necessary hardware to make them into full on cards.

This is all in preparation to use Kickstarter as I have mentioned briefly in past posts. By getting the artwork fully settled before we even try to get funding we hope to show our commitment to this project beyond a shadow of a doubt. To that end we've commissioned a half dozen images from Laura to whet appetites which should help us reach our goal so that we can afford to have her do the entire set.

So here's a few of the works in progress:

sudden death ninja attack card game cunning decoy sudden death ninja attack card game metal claws sudden death ninja attack card game smoke bomb

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sudden Death Playtest results phase 1

Sudden Death Ninja Attack card layout concept
Concept for the card border.
+Erik McGrath

Last week we sent out a call for playtesting using our Print and Play document and the first batch of feedback has been received and reviewed.

There were a lot of useful suggestions and several things that came up from almost every tester and it's those latter suggestions that I will focus on now.

1) Attack Order

The number one point of confusion is how cards are played, so we will be making a sample of play document and video in the near future. Specifically, people tend to infer that there is a turn sequence where one person plays a card, the opponent responds and then the process begins again with the opponent playing an attack.

In retrospect I can see how that opinion is formed, but it is not how we intended Sudden Death to operate. Instead, the first attack card played creates a chain of events that has no gaps unless they are created with a Withdraw card. Each Melee, Trap, or Ranged attack not only defeats the card before it but must be responded to in turn.

Example: CJ vs Erik: CJ goes First
Circling Phase
CJ: Katana (melee)
Erik: Punji (trap)
CJ: Arrow (ranged)
Erik: Kusari-gama (dual melee/ranged, played as melee)
CJ: Smoke Bomb (withdraw vs melee or trap)
Return to Circling Phase

2) Keyword updates and clarifications

The wording has been tightened and all terms printed on the cards will be clearly defined keywords. Foil has been removed and the Withdraw cards are now Reaction type.  Draw, Discard and Reveal will now specify specifically who does the action (so it will be You Draw 3, or They Discard 2).  This should allow us to develop more card types and actions without having to change our style in the future.

Additionally, we have added new keywords, most importantly:
Negate for Antidote and Heavy Cloak so that they simply remove the card draw/discard effect as appropriate.
Effect for fire and poison
Dual for Kusari-gama, Cunning Decoy and Crossbow.

3) Cards with multiple keywords

There are 3 dual attacks (melee/ranged, ranged/trap, melee/trap), 3 attacks with the fire effect and 3 with poison. The dual attacks can be used in more instances than other attacks but once played they are identical to any other attack. Only one of the attack types is used and it is declared when played, the other type is ignored. So if Crossbow is used as a trap then it must be countered with a ranged attack.

Cards with an effect (fire or poison) can be defeated by any card that beats either their attack type OR their effect type.  So Poison Gas (a poison melee attack) can be defeated with a trap (counters melee) or an Antidote (withdraws from poison, negates poison effect).

4) Changes and improvements

Traps can now initiate attacks, instead of being only able to respond to melee attacks.  Insight now reveals the opponent's entire hand. Art of Misdirection now makes the opponent discard 2 cards. One additional action (Know Your Enemy) and reaction (Copycat) are planned. Know You Enemy steals a card from your opponent's hand and Copycat reflects an attack back at your opponent (thanks +Graeme Henson for the copycat idea).

Friday, March 8, 2013

Print & Playtest Sudden Death: Ninja Attack

It has been a whirlwind of activity for Sudden Death in the past two weeks. It's gone from an idea to what may end up being the final rules of play in that short amount of time, and we are now working on the artwork so that it can become real. 

To that extent, Inspired Press is now working with +Laura Hamilton  to provide the artwork and hopefully everyone else will love what she's doing as much as we do. Once we have the first batch of images we plan to use Kickstarter to fund the rest of the artwork for Sudden Death:Ninja Attack and get a finished version into people's hands and so that Laura can get paid what she's worth for her work. 

But before we can do that we need more people to get the opportunity to play the game themselves, so we have a basic Print & Play PDF ready to go. This PnP version is low on art but contains all the rules and cards needed to play. 

If you are reading about this for the first time, Sudden Death: Ninja Attack is a game for 2 players that uses a 25 card deck to simulate a battle between two ninja who encounter each other in a bamboo forest. With a plethora of weapons, traps and cunning tactics you vie to be the last ninja standing.  The rules are simple and once you've printed the cards, you can be up and playing in minutes.

If that sounds interesting then check out the PnP PDF, print it out and give it a try. Then after you've played a few rounds, let us know how you feel by commenting here or emailing us at

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sudden Death, The Mechanics of Play

Sudden Death Ninja Attack card game

+Christopher Andersen

Got to playtest our new prototype of Sudden Death: Ninja Attack at Battleground Games & Hobbies yesterday, and it received overall positive reviews.  I've very confident that all we need is some really good card art and we have a very salable game here.  We are shopping around for artists willing to work for contingent Kickstarter pay (if we don't fund, we don't go forward with art).  We're currently in negotiations with one artist right now, but we'll continue searching if we can't get her.  Speaking of art, we also met an art student there, +Mike Coleman,  looking to get his name out there, so we'll be happy to take a look at his work (so far looks good) and see if he can collaborate with us on some future projects.

Now for the meat of the post; the mechanics of how Sudden Death plays.  As I've mentioned in other posts, Sudden Death: Ninja Attack is a small card game using one deck for 2 players, meant to simulate a deadly meeting between two ninjas in a bamboo forest.  The ninjas will fight using melee attacks, ranged weapons, and deadly traps until only one of them remains standing... or both perish.

There is the initial Standoff, where players are dealt their initial hand of eight (8) cards.  They choose five (5) of these cards to keep for themselves... then pass the other three (3) to their opponent.  Then each player chooses one card to discard, leaving them with a starting hand of 7 cards.  We then move on to the Circling phase.  When circling, players have a chance to prepare themselves further before committing themselves to the fight.  The player with the least number of cards goes first. If both players have the same number of cards then the ancient, ninja art of Janken (aka Rock-Paper-Scissors) is used.  Every time ninjas circle, there is at least one round of drawing/actions before attack cards can be played.  After this time, players can continue to draw or play actions, or they can Strike and start the fight.

Battles between ninjas follow a Janken-like style, fights can be started with Melee or Ranged attacks, and then begins a furious exchange of attack and counterattack.  Melee attacks can be countered by Traps.  Traps can be countered by Ranged attacks.  Ranged attacks can be countered by Melee attacks.  Players play one card after another; a melee attack, countered by a trap, countered by a ranged, countered by a melee, etc. until either one player cannot counter an attack, or a withdraw card is played to Foil the attack.  If a player cannot counter or withdraw, they die.  If they withdraw, both players start another Circling phase to prepare themselves for another round of attacks.

Overall games are very short, usually no more than 5 minutes, and take very little time to learn. The deck is small, only 25 cards, but every card is unique, and we've balanced it well so that no one card is a "win all" strategy.  We've had playtest games where one player started out strong, only to have the game turn on them later (it was me... I lost).

Currently we have posted The Rules for anyone to take a look at, and we hope to soon have a Print & Play version out sometime in the near future.  Until we do, Erik and I will be visiting Battleground periodically, so keep an eye out for us and we should have a copy on us to playtest with you.