In a future far off from our own, giant robot warriors battle in space for the amusement of the elite. These warriors are controlled by a team of practiced engineers who, through clever and adaptive attacks, defense, and hacks, must program their robots to defeat their opponent. Circuit Breakers is a two-player card game that lets you take on the role of these gladiatorial engineers, using a conveyor belt-like circuit of cards that is revealed turn by turn. Purchase upgrades to your weapons, upload viruses into your opponent’s loop, and even unleash your Super Awesome Attack to take them out in one fell swoop. Each game lasts about twenty minutes, and is suitable for anyone age twelve and up.
In this project, my work was heavily focused on the game design. The original goal of this game was to create a two player card game with a partition between players that relied on combat and resource management, comparable to the real time strategy game StarCraft. Though early prototypes began to simulate the early economy of a strategy game that we were looking for, players often found that the partition between them made it easy for them to cheat, and taking the partition away decreased the fun. On the other hand, players enjoyed the combat system more than all other mechanics in the game. After analyzing and playtesting this prototype for a week and researching card-based economies by playing other games, we knew that we needed to redesign the game to achieve a few distinct goals: increase dynamism between players, provide multiple ways to win to encourage diverse strategy, and add more cards with different abilities to help achieve both.
We designed a new prototype that preserved the economy portion of our original design within the looping mechanic we created. Combat was simplified to a single, straightforward “attack” card and we experimented with a defensive “block” option. This three-card game was fast, engaging, and original, but lacked sophistication, complexity, and generally, felt a bit too much like Rock, Paper, Scissors. After playtesting, we decided to create multiple end goals that emphasized different gameplay styles as we tried to create the space for “aggro,” “combo,” and “control” decks through combat, economy, and special ability cards respectively.