Monday, May 21, 2012

Box Design Version 1

Here is the first version of the box design with art by Stefan Lochner circa 1435.

I will be adding the tagline "A card game pitting the 7 archangels vs. the 7 princes of hell in a fight for the eternal souls of humankind." and changing the logo for "Robert Burke Games" as it stands out too much.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Here are the odds of being dealt a particular hand in Battle For Souls:

Pair 77.65%
3 different colors 94.31%
different colors 61.81%
different colors 15.24%
2 pair 21.17%
3 of a kind 20.32%
Full House 2.57%
4 of a kind 1.71%
5 of a kind 0.04%

Of course, odds are different if you choose to build your hand by discarding some subset each turn.

There are many wonderful decision points in the game, it's really turning out to be something special.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Phase II

Playesting is far enough along that I am beginning talks with my graphic designer, Luis Francisco, who did Cartoona as well as Flash Point Fire Rescue and The Resistance.

Once the card templates and rules are done, I will go ahead and do a small run to send to reviewers and interested playtesters.

Moving along nicely...

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Playtested Battle For Souls again last night with a new face in our game group.

He picked up the game extremely quickly, which is a good sign, but he's an experienced gamer.

Again, a very close game was played with the victor winning by just 1 point! More angel and devil cards were earned since I lowered the max holy/unholy points required by 1 in both directions. This change is a keeper!

The balance is really good at this point, so I think I will continue to play test with the current ruleset for a while before considering any more changes. The game is very close to a point where I can start graphic design and start printing a bunch of prototypes to send out.

Those who follow this blog and offer comments and feedback will be the first to receive free playtest copies.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Worker Placement

After thinking about what mechanic would work best with the Battle For Souls theme in a board game format I have come to the conclusion that worker placement would be best.

While the mechanic has been used quite extensively, there are some changes I can make to keep it interesting while providing the tension required for a "battle".

I would commission a grand piece of art for the game board that shows humankind struggling with various choices. Players would place guardian angels or demons (workers) to collect virtuous deeds or sins. There would be seven different colors to represent the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues just like in the card game.

For example, a soldier capturing a prisoner of war could be where a player places an angel/demon to collect a red virtue/sin cube that represents the choice of the soldier.

Soul cards would be laid on the board in groups of three like in the card game, but they would have 3 to 4  places to place cubes collected by the players. A player would need to claim a soul by placing a meeple on it, place the correct color cubes on the card and then place another meeple to reap the soul.
So to claim a soul you need to give up a meeple until the soul is reaped. The souls will have spots for cubes on the side of light and the side of darkness. An opposing player can still place cubes on the soul once you claim it. If the other side can fill up all of their cube spots on a soul it goes to purgatory when reaped. This will provide a mechanic for direct conflict over the souls, which I feel is important to support the them.

Players will also be able to instigate major and minor earth event. Major events once played become another space for all player to play on, awarding the player and the owner of the card.

The idea behind the events is that they provide great opportunity to bring out the best or the worst in mankind. Here are some examples of major events:

As you can see each card has a place for a player to place their meeple to claim the benefit, two red cubes for war, and trade one cube of any color for any cube of a different color for Exodus. These also have a place for a player to place their color marker if they bring the event into the world. They will then get the secondary benefit every time another player uses the card.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Do you have kids?

Pick up a copy of my first game Cartoona, which is being released in September in coordination with Game Salute.

Three days left to pledge for a copy of the game or the first expansion on Kickstarter.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Soul Cards

I have made some changes to the soul cards.

1. They are now square - This allows for bigger text and icons and prevents art from being warped in order to fit
2. They now include the painting title, artist name and year painted
3. Reduced the number of steps needed to max out a soul from 8 to 7 - I felt it was a tad too hard to get new angel and devil cards, so this should help a great deal
4. Removed the spirals and replaced space #4 on the marker track with a star to better identify when a soul can be reaped
5. Added gray circles to clearly show that if reaped a soul goes to purgatory if on these spaces
6. Made the background 7.5% gray so that white tracks are more clearly visible for souls with Pride/Humility
7. Changed the hue for blue and for orange to help differentiate them better from purple and red

Below is an example, but please note, these have still not been through graphic design. I have no doubt our graphic designer will improve the look tenfold. But I think this layout is about right.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Card Game + Board Game

I have an idea for a full-blown Eurostyle worker placement game.

I may turn Battle For Souls into a package that includes the stand alone card game AND a board game that shares the theme.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Playtesting Discoveries Resulting In Changes

So we have have about 10 play test sessions under our belt now and we've made changes to a bunch of thing to improve the game.

Many of the changes have to do with the power of individual cards as we hone each side to ensure balance.

Some changes include:

Holy Relic - Key Of St. Peter - This card allowed an player to free a soul from purgatory for the side of heaven twice per game. This combined with other "free point" cards was just too much. We trimmed it to once per game.

Holy Relic - Selaphiel's Thurible - This card used to add points to a virtue only if Sepaphiel was in play. This made the card not very useful as Angel and Devil cards are hard to acquire. The ability has been updated to "Reset a soul with 1 unholy point to neutral" We found during playtesting that being able to recover from the other player getting a head start on souls is a good thing. This card helps with this.

Holy Relic - Assumption Robe - This card allowed a player to reap a soul to heaven as long as it had a single holy point 3 times per game. This essentially handed the player 9 points. We have changed the requirement to be 3 holy points. So it reduces the amount needed by 1.

Intercession - St. George - This card prevented one holy point each game. It was too weak. This card now allows a player to destroy 1 unholy relic per game.

Two pair rule - Players could get multiple hands of two pairs in a row by acquiring an extra color card after drawing an Intercession/Sin. Although fun for the player who gets lucky, it's a bummer for the other side. I think it will be best to allow two  pair to be played only once per turn. We will play test this way and see if it is better.

Holy/Unholy track - It's very difficult to get new angels/devils by maxing out the holy/unholy track. I will reduce it by 1 on each side and see how that changes the game.

Finally, the angel and devil cards have special abilities in addition to providing a +1 bonus every turn to souls of the same color. This was just too much. Players could become confused with so much to think about. I have removed the special ability from angels and devils and the game runs MUCH faster now.

Here is a new angel card. Please note that I am NOT a graphic designer, the game will have PROFESSIONAL graphic design and icons. But I want to show the new card elements. Special ability text can be replaced with flavor text. Also included is the art credit and the name of the heavenly virtue the angel affects. I will add text with all color cards for the benefit of colorblind players.