Floppy Knights: Accessible Tactics Game Design


Hello! My name is Christian Scandariato. I’m the lead game designer at floppy knights, a tactical card fighter developed by Rose City Games. The original concepts of floppy knights they were rooted in the games we grew up on, but we wanted to do something new and different that would help the game stand on its own by combining tactical gameplay with elements of card strategy. Let’s take a look at how that turned out!

“What if we did advanced warsbut with cards?

Our starting point was playing our favorite retro games like advanced wars Y final Fantasy Tactics, with some new design in the gap. A key feature in advanced wars is to have all the information at your fingertips, easily see the entire battlefield and strengthen your army to win battles. Drawing a hand of cards is random, so the challenge behind the mix of genres is what interested me the most.

the goal for floppy knights became allowing a player to plan a perfect turn with a random set of actions. This prevents players from planning more than two turns ahead, which in turn makes the game more accessible and exciting! We also knew we wanted the visuals to be a big draw for the game, taking creative director Marlowe Dobbe’s strong character designs to deliver the personalities of the armies.

screenshot

Based on our inspirations, I settled on our first combination: having a group of unique, individual characters with their own abilities, as well as the ability to bolster your army. While maintaining accessibility, we took the idea of ​​a simple army that uses powerful buffs and upgrade cards to introduce the player to the game. This was the focus of our first army: the plant deck.

The paper prototype

This is where the cards come in! If everything from actions to commanders consists of cards, then we can attach unique abilities to each unit card, which will generate more action cards. My main goal when making games is to always design for things that only video games can do. Generating cards from cards would be really hard in a physical card game, but it would be easily handled digitally.

people playing

The best thing about making a card game is that you can test almost all of its main parts without having to code anything. So I took the core concept (play units, get cards, play more cards) and presented it as a paper version to the team. After a few months of paper prototypes of the most flexible floppy knights has ever been, we solidify the core mechanics and take the code.

Checking the mix

Mixing genres came with a lot of strengths, as well as concepts that didn’t make the final cut. Our goal was not to uniformly mix the genres, but rather to deliver concepts that showcase the strengths of the game. we wanted to make sure floppy knights it had enough flexibility to make decks fun to encourage individual playstyles, but not so complicated that it confused players with too many options.

screenshot

Being able to constantly move units was the main concern for over two years of development. Test players consistently reported that they felt their movement options were limited or that they were drawing entire hands of cards without movement. The easy answer was always to allow each unit to move once during its turn, but we felt this would make card play actions feel less important each turn, and we wanted to avoid that.

After months of testing, we decided to create a system for our leading units, the commanders, to spawn a card in the player’s hand each turn that allows for a single move. This gives the player a choice of one very powerful card per turn and again brings the focus back on unique and personal units. After testing, we finally got a test round with no feedback on the movement. Success!

screenshot

By focusing on our core mechanics and always returning to our original inspirations, we strive to create something unique that will hopefully serve as both a first tactical game for younger players and a refreshing look for seasoned veterans.

floppy knights is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (via backwards compatibility), Xbox, and PC Game Pass. I hope you enjoy playing it as much as I enjoyed working on it.

xbox live

floppy knights

pink city games, wiip


71

$19.99

game pass for pc

xbox game pass

Meet the Floppy Knights: tangible projections summoned from floppy disks! Tactics meld with card game mechanics as Phoebe and Carlton, a brilliant young inventor and her best friend with a robotic arm, face off in turn-based battles. Select your Knights, perfect your deck and execute your strategy for victory!