When I first saw A Druid’s Duel, I’ll admit that I thought it looked too happy. Sure, there were waves of nostalgia hitting me from long nights playing Magicka, and the idea of a chess-like game played with beast-transforming druids sounds super cool, but it’s bright color pallet and cheery music had more than enough joy in them for me. However, Thoughtshelter’s Game quickly won me over with its addictive game play, its simple mechanics, and the tactical depth that became apparent as soon as I began to play the demo.
Started a few short days ago, A Druid Duel‘s Kickstarter has raised just over $1,500 of its modest $7,000 goal, putting it at 22% funded with 26 days to go. The basic concept of the game is simple; using a team of Druids, each one of 4 ‘classes’, control as many tiles as you can on a board until you wipe out your opponent. Special Moves are used and additional troops are summoned by spending mana, which is gained based on the number of tiles you have; the more tiles you control, the more mana.
Take control of your own Circle of mischievous druids in this chess-like battle of wits. Duel your way across the vast Realm of Six Seasons, striving to dominate the land. But beware! The stakes are raised with every parcel gained or lost.
Your druids assume powerful animal forms and the very landscape can transform in front of you, keeping you on your toes and forcing you to adapt every single turn. Featuring an engaging single-player campaign and tactical battles for up to four players, A Druid’s Duel is ever-changing and fraught with exciting challenges; much like Nature herself.
What’s most impressive about this Kickstarter is the free, downloadable demo that has been made available by Kris Szafranski, the creator and head of Thoughtshelther Games. You’re able to play 4 single player missions and mess around with a simplified version of the Multiplayer. While I’d say the game is in definite need of tool tips or a tutorial, after starting and restarting for a few rounds, something finally clicked. The game has an incredible level of tactical depth, and things can swing very quickly one way or the other. The order you activate your druids, the types of druids you have and whether you focus on land grabbing or eliminating your enemy are important points to ponder every single turn. I lost more than one game by eliminating all my enemies troops, and forgoing grabbing some more tiles. This lead to my opponent having more than enough mana to summon enough men to overwhelm me on the next turn.
Kris has launched this Kickstarter for a couple of key reasons, mainly to push a solid product into a higher tier of game. He is looking to fund the following:
There has been great progress toward the vision, but there remains a lot more to do in order to let A Druid’s Duel truly bloom. Your hard-earned dollars will go a long way toward bringing the game to life by allowing me to pay talented musicians, artists, and programmers for their tremendous efforts.
Art & Animation: The majority of the artwork in the Demo is placeholder art that needs to be completed. All of the game elements and units need animating and they need to be given that polished visual sparkle.
Awesome Audio: The sound effects are all placeholder and need to be updated to match the final artwork. The remaining music has to be composed and recorded.
Single-player Campaign: Story mode is very exciting and will build on the solid gameplay already in place. The game will have witty dialog, a branching story, and unique Boss characters. Each Season has its own artwork, music and boss character to create, develop, record, or program.
Challenges: A Druid’s Duel will release with a series of increasingly difficult single player Challenges that teach new players how to play. Each Challenge will have a set objective (like capture the Relic) and a limit by which to accomplish the task, such as a Mana or Turn limit.
Online Multiplayer: Asynchronous online multiplayer games are nearing a testable state. A Druid’s Duel will support a full online League and ladder progression system which need to be completed and tested.
It’s an incredibly polished Kickstarter, and an incredibly polished game, even in these early stages. With the backing to beautify it and and expand the game beyond its core concepts, A Druid Duel could easily become a go-to game for me in the future.
If you would like to fund A Druid Duel, please visit the game’s Kickstarter page.