We thought this first entry should be pretty light and basically show some of the numerous updates and improvements of the Mon Wheel during the development of Bushido Duels.
“What’s a Mon Wheel?” you ask.
Well, it’s one of the central mechanics of Bushido Duels, a rock-paper-scissors-based system determining how attack cards interact. (See the game’s page for more details.)
Below you can see some of the variants that were used during various stages of the game development process.
Quite some changes along the way, right? As you can see they all had different flaws. You’d notice things like freakish colours, varying line types, asymmetric shapes, inconsistency in design. All those flaws can however be summed up with the fact that the cards lacked visual simplicity.
Bad visual design can KILL a good game mechanic! These previous iterations were all too complicated to read in a gaming session. They took too much effort to survey as a player and slowed down the gameplay, they were probably severe enough ruin (what we think is) a good game.
We had the rules, we had the game mechanic (the interactions between the attack cards), and we had the desired shape, The race towards visual simplicity was on.
Trying out different approaches and receiving feedback from people outside the company provided insight to what worked and what didn’t. Using that information and our initial idea of the Mon Wheel we worked with our illustrator, the excellent Emily Ryan. Through Skype calls and e-mail conversations we were able to reach a better more readable wheel.
It was now a Mon Wheel that had all information without the previous flaws and sources of confusion and also looked really nice. It simplified the design, made it completely symmetric and arranged the symbols in a way so the next four symbols are all defensive and the arrows sort of make sense.