Blog: The Ginger Wars Origins

The Ginger Wars is a game we created that we’re starting to promote. It’s aimed at the casual or travelling gamer. It’s quick and easy to set up and learn. These are the basic rules. You can flip through this for now, since we don’t have any game play vids yet. 

The game play vids will really show how ultra mega fun and interactive it can be, so stay tuned for those.

So, how did we even start this project? Well, it all started with a desire to create a game and a theme. I initially pitched the idea of gingerbread people versus other candy… things in some large scale war, but we settled on gingerbread people battling each other. We both liked the theme and started brainstorming mechanics.

Brent was in. He lives for tabletop games and couldn’t resist creating another game with me. His first e-mail back to me had some ideas on mechanics.

Brent to Jason:

“maybe a simple a deck building game would work, that could even play similar to war or something. and as you get injured those cards get added to your hand making your hand more useless (or possibly more powerful to give you fighting chance).

or it could be like a trick taking game similar to euchre or something (where tricks are like mini battles). Person to lose the most tricks in a hand takes damage but gets the damaged card added to their deck/hand.

or it could be something like Stratego where players lay cards face down and take turns picking cards to battle, not knowing who they are battling.”

Our testing went well when we used cards with War like battles and we continued on that route. I liked the idea of the player having health cards and pitched that to Brent.

Jason to Brent:

“You have 5 main lives (those declining pics of gingerbread men) and 3 damage tokens per main life. Once the 3 damage tokens are attacked and flipped over you lose 1 main life.

There are 2 decks. Attack cards and Defense cards. 3 actions per turn where you can either pick up defense cards, trade in a number of defense cards for an attack card or launch an attack.

There are 3 types of attacks.

1) Can only be defended with a successful coin flip.

2) Can roll dice (2 success sides, 4 damage sides) or use defense cards to match it.

3) Can only be defended with Defense cards.”

Once you lose all your main lives you’re out. Any thoughts on this?”

I had some crazy ideas about various types of attacks, but we’re just brainstorming here so it’s good to get these out of the way. Brent didn’t want to much luck to be in the game with coin flips and dice, so we took away those, but kept the attack/defence cards and 5 health lives per character. The damage tokens idea was shot down to keep the game relatively short.

Here are the initial sketches of the character health cards I drew.

Card-Ideas-1

It didn’t really work well when flipping these health cards over during test plays, so I though it’d be better if each player was made of pieces.

Jason to Brent:

“Here’s another game idea building on the below.

You have 5 pieces that make up your gingerbread character. Head, arms, legs pieces. … and there are specific attack cards that are for each body part. You collect multiple of the same body part attack card to play. For example, you have 4 arm attack cards and play those. I use 2 of my defender cards to make it down to 2 attack cards in play… now this is where the dice comes in. To ward off the attack I have to roll higher than a 2. If I don’t, you get my arm piece and if you are missing an arm, you can attach it to your gingerbread man. If you don’t need it than you have to discard it from the game and do something like take an action card. The head has to be the last piece attacked, so when you get a head attack card, you could either save it for later or trade it in on your next turn for something else.”

We kept the idea of having a character here, but scraped everything else. Keeping it simple. Here’s what Brent thought.

Brent to Jason:

“I’m intrigued

This could a nice quick game if you keep the deck relatively small and only consist of attack/defense cards for variouse body parts. it would be neat if you start with a hand of x number of cards and on your turn you can draw a card and discard a card to try and build up a sense of attack as opposed to each player having their own decks. that might increase the speed of game play (similar to monopoly deal). if you use up all your cards you can draw another x number of cards.

As for the die I think we would need to play test with and without it, as it adds another level of randomness it may not be necessary. it may make the game too quick or too long. Also from a final product perspective it would be nice to be just a pack of cards, and not have to worry about other pieces.

otherwise we should get together and start trying to play some of these mechanics with a regular deck of cards or 2.”

Here the game was starting to take shape. A deck of attack/defence cards. A revolving deck. No dice. The game evolved a lot since then through many play tests and we really enforced the keeping it simple mentality. We’ll go crazy in some future games, but we had to make sure our first real game was nicely balanced and had silky smooth gameplay.

Hope you enjoyed some insight on the start of our game development conversations. Follow us on Twitter @PMDGames for updates on our game, blogs and reviews.

~ Jay

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