Originally the game was a simple puzzle grid where a player could choose between several pins to push off and collect gems of the same color. The end-goal was a bit vague and players scored by counting how many gems they pushed off. In the prototype photo below, the movement pins are represented by Lego bricks, the gems are Risk pieces, and the game board is the only part I can find of my marble chess set. Playing this version with friends quickly highlighted a problem: game-play felt like a sequence of solitary moves. One player's move didn't really affect the next player's options, so there was no multiplayer strategy or fun to the game.
|Prototype comprised of Risk and Lego|
|These look nicer than Risk pieces|
I love playing Castle Wars with my wife, so I thought a similar theme might work well for an overall goal and the three gems mechanic. We ultimately settled on armies, castles, and flying boulders, with the overall goal being for players to complete their castle or destroy all of their opponent's castles. To complete the setting, the player assumes the role of a medieval king standing at his war-room table, using the puzzle grid to gather his kingdom's resources and imprinting his seal on the resulting commands to send his valiant armies to battle.
|Getting ready to unleash Dwayne, the vicious dragon, on the battlefield.|