Dev Diary: Creating Game Mechanics

One of the primary goals we have as developers is to bring something unique to each game we develop. While Cursed! is certainly influenced by previous games in the tabletop card game space, it was important to us to create something different. 

For Cursed! we came up with the innovation of giving each card two possible purposes, making each play a strategic decision.. The primary mechanic of the game is the Blessing and Cursing of the Five Fortunes that govern the players’ lives. Each card is capable of one action in this mechanic: it blesses, curses, or neutralizes a single fortune.

This card, for instance, sets the Luck fortune of the player it is cast on to neutral. It’s a rare and powerful card in the game, as it can remove a blessing from an opponent or a curse from the caster.

The normal "vertical" play of the card.

The normal “vertical” play of the card.

This being a powerful card, you might expect your desire would be to save it until you need it, in order to neutralize a blessing at a vital moment, or make a last-ditch effort to keep your own fortunes afloat. However, turn that card on its side for a moment.

A card, played in a non-traditional manner.

A card, played in a non-traditional manner.

Now, some different words are upright, and you can see the nearly as powerful alternate effect that this card can have. In this case, the option to sacrifice the card on the Altar of Tyche enables you to neutralize all of the fortunes which have not been devastated for a single player of your choosing. At first, this may seem vastly more powerful than simply neutralizing one fortune, and it is. But then, you only get to play one sacrifice per turn, and the other cards in your hand may have equally tempting rule changes based on the situation of the game.

While similar mechanics probably exist, we didn’t know of any particular game using something like this, and we have found it gives the game depth and strategy, while maintaining accessibility. It also ties into the visual design of the game, which from the beginning was based on the orientation of the cards signifying things about their use, about which more in another Dev Diary later on.

A quick reminder that, assuming all banking needs go on schedule, the Cursed! Kickstarter campaign will be launching on TableTop Day, which is in less than two weeks. So please, remember to check back in this space and support us.


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