Designer/Developer Diary, Oath

Oath: New Foundations | Design Diary 6 - The Arcs-ing of Oath

In the first diary I wrote for New Foundations, I described how many ideas for this expansion came out of the process of making Arcs. In the same way that Oath’s development had seeded Arcs’s design both thematically and mechanically, the development of Arcs had done likewise with New Foundations. This virtuous circle is pretty rare for me. Mostly I feel like I work against myself. Each game tends to be a reaction against the project I just completed. Oath and Arcs are perhaps the lone exceptions to this rule. The designs sometimes seem like they are speaking to one another. They don’t agree about everything, but they also haven’t resorted to shouting at each other, yet.

Designer/Developer Diary, Oath

Oath: New Foundations | Design Diary 5 - Empires and Difference

The early development of Oath was a very frustrating, protracted experience, and not something I’ve written much about. Partly, there’s not much to say. While the origins of the design go back very far, I only started working on the game that would become Oath (originally called Saga) during the year after Root’s release. For months, it bore hardly any fruit. With Root, I had benefited from a very clear design prompt from Patrick. Oath could be anything and was, consistently, amounting to very little. Thankfully, I was able to earn my keep during these months by helping out on Vast: the Mysterious Manor and the wave of new Root expansions that came with Underworld.

Designer/Developer Diary, Oath

Oath: New Foundations | Clockwork Design Diary 1: The Queen is Dead, Long Live the Queen

It won’t seem like it during this campaign, but Richard Wilkins (aka Ricky Royal) and I have been working on Oath in one way or another for almost a year. I first got a text from Cole in late June 2023, just as summer school was winding down, asking if I would like to work with Ricky to co-design a new solo/co-op mode for Oath. I am fairly certain my response was “Hell yeah!”

Designer/Developer Diary, Oath

Oath: New Foundations | Design Diary 4 - In the Weeds

Tomorrow, we’ll be launching the Kickstarter campaign for the next Oath expansion. Today, I want to talk a little bit about how we think about our crowdfunding campaigns and how they have shaped the identity of our studio. I’m also going to write a little about an element of the Oath expansion which I think illustrates our approach.

Designer/Developer Diary, Oath

Oath: New Foundations | Design Diary 3 - Family Histories in Oath

Back in the early days of Oath’s design, I made two structural decisions that I never really questioned. The first determined the size of the game’s deck, roughly how many cards were in play, and the general size of the game’s initial card-base (as well as its rate of change).

Designer/Developer Diary, Oath

Oath: New Foundations | Design Diary 2 - What Oath Forgets

When we were first pitching Oath during the first Kickstarter, I would often describe it as “a game that remembered how you played it.” This was less of a pure description than a kind of aspiration. My main task in those days was to find ways to quickly sum up what made the project special and to communicate its ambitions.

Designer/Developer Diary, Oath

Oath: New Foundations | Design Diary 1 - What's All This Then?

When I first proposed Oath, I remember telling Patrick that I had no idea who the game was for. I had a sense of what I wanted to make, but I didn’t know if such a game would ever find an audience. Now, a few years later, I know who those folks are. And so, at the end of this month, we’re going to launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the development of an expansion for the game.

Ahoy, Designer/Developer Diary

Ahoy: New Horizons | Design Diary - The Coral Cap Pirates

Ahhhh the Coral Cap Pirates. They may currently be one of my favorite factions in the entire game, but the journey to get there was much rockier than any of the other factions. Initially they weren’t even pirates!

When first ideating expansion material I approach it with mainly one question: “what do I think would be cool or funny to see in the game world we’ve created” And there is one fishy character who has captivated me ever since I first saw him in 2015… Tahm Kench from League of Legends.

Ahoy, Designer/Developer Diary

Ahoy: New Horizons | Design Diary - The Leviathan

My biggest desire for the new 3- and 4-player factions was more interaction, things that mattered for more players at the table more often. Since each piece you place in Ahoy is a potential interaction point I knew they’d need to place more pieces.

From a thematic standpoint I had been interested in exploring a Sea Monster faction and fortunately these things went hand in hand! A monster that grew and was so massive and dangerous that it would block sections of the map was my starting point and this was my first cut.