Designer Diary #11: Gaming and Fiction (Part 3)

Designer-DiaryWriting fiction was my first love, but designing games of all sorts? They were a close second! When I was around fourteen or fifteen I began designing board and card games like mad. This is in addition to my regular work on Cosmothea and all my stories (I haven’t been lazy or idle since my early youth. I was terribly shy as a kid, so I spent a lot of time writing and designing. Some of my early stuff was pretty rough, but some of it I’d stand by today and am quite pleased with, as well as the later stuff. Today I want to talk a little about the card games I’m cooking up that have a Cosmoverse theme.

So, I’ve got two card games in the works right now, both of which focus on different aspects of the Cosmoverse: Onji Mojo and Crisis.

Onji Mojo, is all about magic and specifically dueling with magic (Onji Mojo is a very different system of using magic than you’ll see in pen and paper rpg’s—it doesn’t use spellcasting, but trust me, a lot of magic is being flung about nonetheless. It’s very cool, and uses many rules from Cosmothea. In fact, if two mages ran into each other in the Cosmoverse while playing Cosmothea, you could use this card game to resolve the encounter, if desired, or you could simultaneously have an Onji Mojo duel going in the middle of combat using the regular Cosmothea rules without breaking a sweat. And there’s a slightly modified version of Onji Mojo for running the duels without Cosmothea too (after all, if you aren’t playing the roleplaying game, you’d still need a mage to play the card game).

One of the systems that I like in Cosmothea that is featured in Onji Mojo is the ability to push your luck, playing with more magic than you can effectively control. It’s optional, but you can do it. When things go downhill, they can go downhill in a really bad way when you’re employing too much magic. Likewise, when things go your way, they can do so in an even more spectacular manner if you’re shelling out a good amount of magic.

The Onji Mojo dueling system and the concept of pushing your luck with magic appears in my fiction (and will continue to), and I think the card game and rpg look very promising, so I’m naturally excited.

Currently, Onji Mojo is about 70% of the way through a first major draft. It’s almost playable now, and I’ve done some early testing on the gameplay—seems to work just fine so far. All the hard work is done as far as design is concerned, at least until it enters more aggressive playtesting, where we’ll quickly see how the rules hold up.

This isn’t my first rodeo as they say, since I’ve designed dozens of games, but that doesn’t mean it won’t need a lot of retooling and then polishing for publication. It will. All games need that, and I have high expectations and insist on quality editing and graphics.

Magic in Cosmothea/Cosmoverse, is quite a different animal than spellcasting in pretty much any other game or universe you’ll find. Now, unique does not mean better, but the system just keeps getting better, and I’ve had nothing but great response from those who’ve used it in the past. You can get a taste of it in Arcane synthesis and in Onji Mojo (once I get Onji Mojo out the door, that is!) My Cosmoverse World Tour series of books will also get into Onji Mojo more (and classic dueling as well).

This isn’t your father’s vancian system—always hated that system! There are no spell books or wands in the Cosmoverse either, though I suppose you could simulate that if you wanted to. There are journals and books, of course, and a mage could write notes in them if they wanted to, and make a wand-like device, but magic is a whole ‘nother beast, and a rather exciting beast IMO.

Arcane Synthesis gives you a taste for magic, and the card game we have in the works will blow the doors of dueling—I think, revealing how it works in the Cosmoverse and Cosmothea, of course. I’ve designed several card games, but that one is near and dear to my heart.

Crisis (Tentative name) is the other card game I’ve been jumping up and down about, hoping to finish it so I can start playtesting (but my fiction is currently on the hot plate). I couldn’t be happier with Crisis, from what I’m looking at so far—it too is sitting at about 75% completion of a solid draft, needing more than a few card designs and piles of art (that comes later). Think Jack Bauer meets the Cosmoverse (with maybe a bit of Heroes and Men in Black tossed in!)

It’s not an entirely serious card game, but I think it has a lot of potential, so we’ll be pursuing that one sooner rather than later as well. I work on it whenever I can rationalize the time (like at doctor’s offices, brainstorming while walking the dog, jotting down notes at stoplights, etc., but mostly by bending the time continuum).

There are several board games I’ve designed that I’d love to publish as well, but everything has to get in line. I’m continually reviewing and refining my product release schedule. Finances will be a definite issue unless something takes off in a really big way beyond my expectations. After all, it’s a bit of a catch-22: some won’t play your game if you don’t have much street cred, but it’s hard to get street cred without publishing, so we’ll be playing it careful with Kickstarter to assist us (but as Kickstarter isn’t a bank, it is tricky to be sure). But I’m not a quitter, and I’m not lazy, so we’ll be hard at work for the foreseeable future.

That’s all for this week. Hope to see you next time as I delve more into the Cosmoverse and game design. Thoughts? I’m all ears! Thanks for stopping by, folks. Cheers!


About Bob Whitely/QT Games

Welcome to QT Games! Mission Never publish junk or waste people's time. Publish only high-quality fiction and games. 'Nuff said. Company Overview QT Games LLC was created to publish blended-genre (fantasy blended with sci-fi, etc.) fiction, board, card and roleplaying games for a discerning gaming community. Unlike most small press, we have very strict standards: Only pro writing, pro editing and pro art. That means that if we can't get it right, we find someone who can. We pay well for what we don't do in-house. We don't cut corners on quality. This means we stand to make less money than other small publishers, but that's okay with us. We value your time and money, so we're willing to take the bullet. We've designed a large number of games and written a pile of stories. Now we're polishing some of them and getting them out the door. 'Bout time, we know. Good stuff ahead!
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