In MATCHY SNATCHY, players are personal stylists who are tasked with building the best outfits for a suite of hot shot Clients to flaunt their looks at their next big Event!
HOW TO WIN
A stylist must accumulate the most Client cards by end of the game. To win Client cards, stylists try to score the highest amount of points by creating the best outfit for a Client, every round. The best outfits are ones that match the Event dress code, the Client’s preferences, and are the most Eco-friendly. Watch out though—the other stylists are also competing to dress the same Client for the same Event. They have their eye on your rack, and might get snatchy...
The game mechanics aren't complicated: it's a point accumulation game, where every card has a point assigned to it. It requires both strategy and luck. Hopefully when we're allowed to safely visit each other again, I can play this game with people in real life!
Background: December game jam
Over December 2020, I had the privilege and pleasure to collaborate with Bea on a wholesome card game. She was craving to create something, while I was waffling around, needing external distraction from the roaches. Bea lives on the west coast while I live on the east coast, but with the power of dropbox file syncing, jitsi meet, and cryptpad (UX tradeoffs for privacy), we were able to collaborate quite well! We agreed to dedicate 3 days a week (~5-7h/day) to make a MVP game by the end of the month. We also had a secondary goal of learning how to use the Affinity suite, so that we could both eventually wean ourselves off of the $$$ Adobe suite.
Overall, the game jam was a big success! We learned a lot about Affinity (lots of habits to unlearn from Adobe ecosystem) and we ended up going higher fidelity than we both expected; we made 2 very limited printed copies for ourselves! We also had great laughs along the way, including delighting each other with Friday Night (Yakuza 0) in the late afternoon.
The premise for the game was inspired by plushies and pets in our lives. At some point Bea drew clothing over some of mine, and I was completely smitten.
We started our brainstorming in a shared doc, typing as we spoke to each other. We used a game design framework as a starting point to talk through goals, style, genre, etc. Then we made an asset list spreadsheet. We were both most excited by the "client" cards, so those were hashed out pretty early on, haha.
We had over 100 item cards shortlisted, an early on, an elaborate stat system linked to each item card. Our heads began to spin because we couldn't figure out how to even score our own game. We knew we had to make some fundamental changes to our original plan, which then took a few days to pare down, so that the game didn't feel like a drag to score.
This version was super scrappy and had a lot of placeholder images from the internet. We laughed because our early design work looked like those ads that you tape/staple to lamp posts on the street.
We play tested the game over webcam, but only Bea had the colour printer and cards, so we played with open hands. We started with very few "events" and "items" for this pass.
As we played, we took note of how the game mechanics and assets worked together, whether it was fun, and how long it took to set up/play the game.
After the first play test we made adjustments to gameplay/rules and added more "events" and "items". We also balanced the number and features of cards available. I was responsible for balancing and writing instructions, while Bea took on visual design and colour palette.
I really like how Bea built in addition visual cues for item type based on the location and size of the colour fill. BRILLIANCE that really shined through when I could barely read the text off the webcam stream during the playtest.
When we did our 2nd playtest, we used the instructions as a guide along the way. This approach allowed us to see where there were inconsistencies or uncertainties in gameplay. Chosing consistent terminology was also important.
We ended up tying for win at the end of the game, so we had to think of new instructions on how to deal with ties.
We both wanted to get a "slightly more professionally printed" copies for ourselves, so we let some print specs dictate the scope and quantity of cards that we would have in this iteration of the game. We added a final suite of "event" and "items" and did a design/visual pass on everything (cards, instructions, placemats, etc.). I proofread everything, while Bea did her magic on card backs and other design fine tuning. Since the game required colour matching, we added labels for any player who might have colour blindness. It was December 23rd, 2020 when we exported everything for print! Not only did we finish, but we finished early!
The smaller cards were designed at standard playing card size, so we could get those printed at places that print customized decks (front and back). These cards were printed through Artscow.
The rest of the materials haven't been printed yet (yes, a full year later) cause it ended up being quite expensive! It's still a MVP so it was hard to justify the cost. Someday...
Today's music post: 野良犬 by 刃頭 feat.ILL-BOSSTINO. I was making lunch and remembered this song from 2002. I'm not sure how I found it originally (was it really a Bleach connection?) but I remembering liking the beat and the sense of urgency/desperation with the voice and flow. ILL-BOSSTINO is from THA BLUE HERB, a group from Sapporo and they're still making music (e.g., ASTRAL WEEKS / THE BEST IS YET TO COME).