I hate that some enemies deal damage even after getting defeated, it just turns it into a reroll while running away until you find that one combination of 2 cards. Awesome game otherwhise
Check out the hugely expanded version: j4nw.itch.io/pawnbarian
Made in a week for 7 Day Roguelike 2019.
Rock Paper Shotgun: "a stylish, clever little browser game that mashes Chess together with Slay the Spire"
PC Gamer: "horribly named" 82/100
Free Game Planet: "it takes a couple of goes to get the hang of Pawnbarian, but once you do it’s an addictive and cerebral dungeon crawler"
- You're the dude in the horned helmet.
- You have a deck of cards with chess moves. You draw 4 every turn. When your deck is empty, the discard is shuffled into a new deck.
- Drag on a card and highlight a direction to make the corresponding chess move.
- Kill enemies by attacking them like you would capture with a chess piece.
- Red crosshairs are tiles targeted for attacks, you'll lose lives if you end your turn there. You can get attacked multiple times in a turn, the crosshairs overlap!
- Clear the board to progress through the game.
- You have 2 moves every turn (shown left of the board), and you can press the arrow next to your hand to end your turn early.
- You'll need to figure out enemy behaviours and attack patterns on your own. Good luck!
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Awesome game, I've been coming back to it for weeks now. For a challenge, I've tried different game modes. You could add these as achievements for beating with these restructions:
1. Only pick hearts (more strategy when positioning as half of your hand is pawns)
2. Only pick pieces (pretty easy until the last few levels)
3. Only pick pieces and finish a run without losing a heart (pretty hard)
4. Only pick hearts and finish a run without losing a heart (Haven't beat it like this yet, takes a lot of RNG)
A lot of people get confused about which spaces the enemies attack. I don't think it can be a simple hover-over tooltip as the hit markers also change when some enemies die. I think a solution to this would be to have a toolbar where you can read about each enemy, or just put an infographic in the description of your game to refer to.
The game seems perfect as it is, I would enjoy more levels (some having obstacles that can't be removed for example), possibly different map shapes, different enemies, different game pieces (a random card that changes every turn) and different bosses. More ideas include a timed mode (either a certain amount of time per turn or per level). I have more suggestions that should be easy to implement.
You could even have power-ups, such as a one-turn shield, or have your piece attack in a square around the player. These powerups can be offered after beating a level as a third option, rather than choosing a piece or a heart. They would act as playable cards from your hand.
Also personally, I really enjoy the look of the game pieces more in this demo than in the updates you've been posting on Twitter (no offence). The demo's graphics are sleeker, more compact, and honestly look more finished.
Just my opinion. I don't think you need to spend a lot of time on graphics, but rather in more variety in the game.
Cool puzzle elements, although I didn't catch the logic behind the enemies attack. Quite unpredictable.
Briefly put, this game is fantastic. I wanted to say that I am an experienced Chess, roguelike, and cards player and that I would love to help you make it even better by tossing ideas at you and hearing your ideas and giving you my input, be it by email, discord, skype, whatever. Cheers for giving me an amazing experience tonight!
Thank you! I hope to release a public alpha version for the full game in early May, and will be glad to hear any feedback then.
Well, I would love to hear at least some of what you have cooking right now. Since we're not going to talk on Skype I'm going to write most if not all of the ideas that have been brewing in my head today. (Note #1: "My" "vision" for what this game could be may be a huge undertaking, so it may be more fitting for a sequel but I really hope (for both our sake) that something like it could be in this one. Note #2: Everything I'll be writing now is going to be under the assumption that you already thought of it and that it's completely obvious, and all credit of course goes to you for making this wonderful gem.)
Firstly, only due to ease of implementation, I suggest a score (self explanatory, something like StS's) and Acheivements (Same way in Dream Quest, where they're all outlined in the first place and you can choose what to go for). It's easy to come up with Acheivements for it, and I've even thought of a pretty good example: No Royalty For This (or something along those lines) for beating the game without ever using a king nor a queen. (Tons of other options: Never taking hearts, never losing hearts, etc. etc.) People dig Acheivements. And now I've misspelled that word for the third time.
Okay, now we get to the meatier stuff. In one word: Choice. Choice between ways to further the progression of your character. For this, we need to discuss some pertinent concepts, and following that I will provide examples for what I mean:
1) Action points: Starting with the obvious, this is a very powerful way to upgrade your character. More action points, more chances to kill and avoid damage.
2) Stop: The ability to stop a long range piece, as an upgrade for a piece or as some sort of ability. Somewhat helpful and especially for combos with other pieces. Perhaps a Stop and Go as an upgrade for such piece or an ability, which let's you stop and then go again, allowing you to change a direction with a piece mid-move.
3) Upgraded pieces: A Knight+ may move twice in a row (reasonable upgrade for a short ranged piece on a bigger board, which, btw, I think it should be), or perhaps is now allowed to attack one move diagnoally too (Similar to the Wizard in Omega Chess), Or say a Pawn+ may get a range increase for both his movement and as mentioned, a Rook+ or a Bishop+ could have a Stop or a Stop and Go.
4) Removal: Those pesky pawns bothering you? No longer need those old unpgraded pieces? Remove them and cycle your deck better to boot.
5) Hand size increase: Very powerful, obviously. Allows you more choices to play and cycles better.
6) Invincibilty: Take no damage this turn. Implementation example: Once you take it, you can use it once per level.
7) A bunch of other stuff.
So, now we can return to the concept of choice: I think every level, or 2, or 3, doesn't matter (Or even better, allocating experience points to monsters and leveling your character that way, which among other things would mean you could level mid-level. level mid-level. heh.), you should get a choice between two somewhat equally upgrades. For example: Gain 1 hand size or Invincibilty. Another example: Upgrade 2 pieces or gain one Action. Another one: Remove 2 cards or Gain Triggered 2 Action Points per level. And so on and so forth. The upgrades to your character should become more and more powerful as you progress, naturally.
Yippity yippity yippity, that's all folks!
You can rest assured that I spend most of my time thinking about mechanics to explore in the game, and have considered all of this at one point or another. :)
Okay so 2 things: 1, I can't wait to see what you can do in a month and a week after seeing what you did in one week. 2. Come on, throw a dog a bone. Can you tell me ANYTHING about your plans? Some mechanic? A direction? Anything
This game is amazing. I have no idea how you came up with such an innovative concept. More importantly, you made it so freaking entertaining!
Thank you for posting this, for free AND browser-based no less!
This game concept is incredible! I love it!
Beautiful game, well done! Would love to see some kind of Confirm Move feature similar to Enter the Breach so that misclicks are not as punishing.
Fun game, boss was a really fun fight. Pawns are the worst cards, so it seems that getting more cards is always better to reduce the chance of 4 pawn hands.
I like the concept of integrating chess into a roguelike game. I finished the game once after maybe 5 tries, understanding attack patterns of enemies.
The strategy for the virus looking enemy (Honestly don't know how else to describe) is to kill them last. (So there'll be less enemies on the board.) Wait till it touches the sides of the board, reducing the spawn upon death by 2. Better if it's in the corner, where only 1 would spawn on death. Either escape to a safe tile (if the one you're on after attacking the virus is attacked) or just end the turn. Do not attack the spawns as they leave a 3x3 attack pattern from where they die. Only engage one of them for the start of each turn, while escaping to a safe tile the next turn with bishop/knight/queen/rook. If unable to escape on second turn, don't attack the first turn and move to a safe tile.
Attack the ninja enemy first. It doesn't leave a 3x3 attack pattern unlike the virus spawns and it usually stays away from you while attacking tiles from far.
What I hope could be improved are :
1. A tutorial. I almost quit after trying to drag the card onto the board. Wasn't really intuitive for me. I knew how chess pieces move but would be great for players new to chess to have a tutorial on how each piece moves too. (The direction "arrows" after clicking a card may not be intuitive for new players.)
2. 4 pawns in one hand. When you get stuck on the top rank and the tile is under attack, isn't really fair. Increasing the card pool may decrease the chances, but maybe some sort of guarantee would be good. (Maybe every 2 card gain reduces the maximum number of the same pieces you can get in a hand from 4 by 1.)
3. Background music.
This is a really amazing game! Love the design, everything is great!
It is cool idea. I find however really annoying that sometimes after killing enemy there appears more enemies or red crosshairs. Or rather that itself isn't such problem, but rather that there is no indicator whatsoever for that kind of behaviour. With proper indicator player could prepare for that, but now it just feels bad, when you thought you could end your turn to safe square or kill all enemies, but something like this happens. Otherwise really nice game. It would be nice to see your current deck and health when picking boons.
This is just awesome.
I'd love to see a "mate in k" puzzle mode, where the sequence of available cards is fixed and the player must win in k turns.
Great game concept! Good choice to extend this into a full game! I'm curious to see how you are going to design the game to make it more challenging and complex, just more types of enemies and bigger maps or maybe also more units or units upgrades. Might also be cool to have extra energy card usage as a boon.
I love this. Great job building it. I am really looking forward to an iOS release.
all around greatness!
any chance of this landing in the google play store? (please say yes!)
Thank you! And yes! So far I'm only brainstorming ideas, but I intend to flesh this out into a full release for PC and mobile.
Simple game in appearance but with a lots of strategy involved ! Had a great time playing it!
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Fantastic idea! Especially loved the moment I realized pawns are trash because they can't move backward :D
I'm torn on whether bishops/rooks should move you the maximum distance. It's simpler to control but limits combo ability!
i really like it. everyone with almost no chess experience can play this :)
I wondered if chess could be good for a roguelike and this is a great way to do it. I didn't understand why I would take damage after clearing all the enemies so that's something that could be indicated better. Great job!
Loved this game, quick and simple but with alot of strategy. One helpful addition for new players would be to highlight what tile you'll end on while hovering over the directional arrow on the card. This woulda helped to tell the difference between king and queen cards too (cause I kept mixing them up, thinking I could escape the death explosions on my first run)
Hey, thanks! That's a common request and something I'll have to implement, but you can also tell the difference by looking at the center of the directional dial - cards that keep moving until they hit something have an infinity icon, cards that only move once have a dot
Loved the game!
It would help tremendously in figuring out how all the different enemies attack if there were different indicators for when a tile is attacked once or multiple times. I've now consistently ("easily") gotten to the boss twice, but i'm still not 100% sure what tiles it attacks, so lost both fights.
Cheers! That's a piece of UX that will need work for any sort of post-jam patch, for sure. The boss attack pattern cycles between inner ring, outer ring, light tiles, and dark tiles.
(figured out and defeated the boss on the third time getting to it, just in case).
WOW! Nice one! Very intersting game memechanics even if the "controls" are not that intuitive at first. It could have been better to just play the card and then move on the board.
Anyway, again, NICE ONE!
'Once you figure it out'? It is not very encouraging.. I do not see how to play in this game.
You have to know how to play chess, then it's quite simple
Sorry - that definitely sounded patronizing, I removed the line from the description. I simply meant to say that it is consistently beatable and I'm not just playing a cruel joke on the player.
However, I strongly believe that letting people figure things out on their own by fiddling with the game is a big part of the charm of roguelikes!
:) thanks for reply :) I got an answer from Luca that I need to know how to play chess to understand your game...it is a pity that I am not familiar with the chess' rules...anyway I hope that people that know them are stunned with your work :)
Sure, thanks for trying it out anyway!
Some feedback after playing many hours (10?) the past month. I have it wishlisted on Steam, and its given me a lot of interest in turn based tactics after bouncing off XCom hard.
- Anecdotally, just buying as many lowest priced upgrades as possible each shop visit seems to be a dominate strategy, with the caveat this is a small board and scenario I know very well. That is, I want to buy the extra move upgrades, since coming up with long move chains can be a lot of fun, but indiscriminately buying the cheap stuff works reliably. Lots of upgrades with fewer moves gives me the most flexibility to survive the late rounds.
- I like the idea mentioned above of pawn upgrades for reaching the back row
- There's something extra nice about the upgrade screen using the same in game pieces and moves as an interface