So, this is going to be one of those questions I’m going to hear a lot, so I might as well head it off at the pass.

“Why did you start making your own games?”

I just KNOW I’m never going to hear the end of it. So here we go! The short answer is that I’ve always been interested in card and video games and I’ve always wanted to make my own game. Being that I am a terrible programmer, card games was the next best thing.

Growing up, I made a lot of really terrible card games. Back when I was 10, I tried making a card game inspired by Decipher’s Star Wars CCG but set in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. Yeah, I was that guy. It didn’t get very far, either. I tried drawing the cards at actual size because printing cards simply wasn’t a thing. Over the years, I tried making some other creature battler style games based on Dragon Warrior, Mega-Man, and others. I went to a private Christian high school, and made a game called “Bible Team Battle” for a class project. It basically functioned like the Pokemon TCG but with teams of 3. It…uh…it was something!

Fast forward a smidge to my college years. I stumbled upon an app called Magic Set Editor, which let me make custom Magic The Gathering cards. Being obsessed with Magic at the time and also a total weeb, I made an anime themed Magic set. I still have the cards, they’re a ton of fun to play!

So yeah, that was fun to make! I spent about 8 months throwing it all together, and I showed off my progress to the “You Make the Card” board on the Magic The Gathering forums. In the process, I learned a lot about how to properly make a full set, how to properly balance rarities, casting costs, and the color pie. In working with MSE to make this set, I learned how it works, and more or less fell in love with this app. It’s really potent!

Fast forward to 2020. Kohdok started a little YouTube series called “The Seven Deadly Sins of Trading Card Game Design”. I watched all of them pretty much en masse. It’s a pretty good series! He breaks down some glaring problems in quite a few well known and popular TCGs. Everything from working with licensed properties to nonstandard card sizes to having too many different types of counters to keep track of. Some of the games he mentioned, like Keyforge and Netrunner, are games that I have played and thoroughly enjoy. And speaking from experience, his critiques were spot on! So I’m sitting there, thinking about these “deadly sins”, and looking at them as challenges to overcome. One of my favorite formats when I played Magic was Standard. I am a firm believer that constraints breed creativity. The more you have to work around, the more opportunities you have to do crazy, interesting things. From these constraints, The Condemned was born.

Truthfully, I never intended The Condemned to be the game that it is. My intent was to build a game and license it to a publisher to produce artwork and tie it in to one of their worlds or properties. But as I shopped around the game to different publishers, I either got no response or “we’re not interested in CCGs at this time”. And let me tell you, that was disheartening! But I was not going to let that get to me. I was not going to be deterred! I picked myself up by my bootstraps, and I said,

“Screw it, I’ll publish The Condemned myself!”

Yeah, yeah, something something seemed like a good idea at the time. I know. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and it showed at the outset! It’s been a wild ride. I’ve learned so much about the game design process that I didn’t even know before, and it’s been tons of fun building this little game. This whole endeavor has been one big experiment, and very soon, I’ll have something to show for it! I can’t wait to share it with you guys!! I hope you’re looking forward to playing The Condemned, because I sure am!

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