Flash Duel 2nd Edition is such an unusually large leap over the first version that I think I should explain how that came to happen. It started out simply enough, but it ended up as a business experiment of sorts.
The original plan was to just release an expansion to the game with 10 new characters. After that, there'd be a second expansion that added the ability to play with more than just two players. One problem with this plan is that I have since upgraded the manufacturing of my other games, and I do much higher quantities now to make that possible. It wouldn't make much sense to print thousands of copies of the expansion if there aren't even thousands of the original in existence. So what was really needed is a remake of the original that uses better manufacturing (the original version's cards were sometimes blurry...) and that can exist in high enough quanity to even be part of the retail distribution chain.
Ok, so we'll just rerelease the original game, then? Several fans of the game were disappointed with this, for various different reasons. The most obvious is that if they already owned the game, they were hoping for more. But also, some complained about parts of the rules and wanted some things to work differently. I was looking over the card art, and I wasn't quite satisfied with the lettering of the card titles, and some other graphic design elements. Also, we've developed a FAQ about how some of the abilities work, and it seemed like several should be reworded so as not to need their FAQ entries in the first place.
Next, a guy named BT (who made the awesome 8-bit art on the screens in the Puzzle Strike Upgrade Pack) suggested that we color-code some of the words. I immediately saw the value of that idea because "attack" and "dashing strike" are different entities in the game, and different things trigger off them. An ability that says "when you attack" doesn't trigger if you dashing strike, and vice versa. By color coding attack to red and dashing strike to purple, it made that concept even more clear.
While I was rewording the abilities and color-coding them, I realized we needed more room for that text box at the bottom. The base game has a couple abilities that need it, and the expansion had more, so I went ahead with that change. But then it became clear that the aspect ratio of the character art fit a whole lot better when we used the chibi (kid) versions of the characters, than the original ones. I also got rid of the black border around the character cards and did edge-to-edge art instead, which makes the cards feel bigger.
Modes and More Modes
We've talked about changing some graphic design elements, card wording, art, and even some system-wide rules changes. So at this point, you can think of the project as a remake. But then some crazy ideas came up. One player suggested a 2v2 mode, and another player suggested a variant on 1v1 where you can actually *draft* whatever ability cards you want, to make your own custom character. I started developing both of these modes, possibly for an expansion. There was also the multiplayer mode I had originally panned as an expansion: the Raid on Deathstrike Dragon. In this mode, you team up with up to 4 players against a 5th player playing as a powerful dragon. (It's actually the expansion character Master Menelker in his dragon form, which is far more powerful than Midori's dragon form.)
Also, some people asked if there was a way to play the game by yourself, solo. I worked on several possible answers to that, but the one that worked best was coming up with a simple algorithm that a "bot" would use against you. It worked pretty well, so I thought this mode should go somewhere, too. This is getting to be kind of a lot of modes though, so which ones should appear in which expansions?
Too Much Value
And then the crazy idea was on the table. "What if we put the base game and both expansions--including all those modes and all 20 characters plus the dragon raid--into one box?" This goes against traditional business concepts actually, because releasing one game, then an expansion, then another expansion is just a better way to make money out of a product line. It's not a bad thing, it's just what everyone does, no big deal. But what would happen if we put it all in one box but only charged the amount that we'd normally charge for just the base game? This would be impossible with Yomi and impossible with Puzzle Strike, because there are just so many components. But it's maybe within reach for Flash Duel.
But...is it a good idea? I honestly don't know. Maybe I'd sell more if I separated these into three products, but I'd like to see what players think and what the press thinks when they get what amounts to basically "too much value" in one box. TWENTY characters means 190 matchups in 1v1, not counting mirror matches. Twenty characters in one box is kind of ridiculous, really. Plus the 21st character of the Dragon, who we'll get to in a later post. And all-told, there's actually SEVEN different game modes here. Yes, you can play the game in the same old 1v1 mode that the first edition was all about, and if anything, it's even simpler due to better wording and rules. But you can also explore a sort of shocking amount more with drafting and single-player and 2v2 and dragon raids.
So the experiment here, what I'm wondering about, is if a game has a lot more gameplay in it than you'd really expect, does that get noticed? Do reviewers talk about it, does it bring more players into the fold? I don't know, but I guess we'll find out. I'm really happy with how it turned at least, and just wait until you see this dragon raid thing.
I'm shooting for a December release, but not sure if manufacturing can hit it yet. Fingers crossed on that.
More on Flash Duel 2nd Edition later. You'll hear about new character abilities, including:
- A way to create an extra soldier on the board
- A power so strong that if you lose with it, you lose two rounds at once
- A way to keep a card secret across rounds
- A fair version of Setsuki