Intermission: Card Quest!

In these weeks of travel I didn’t had the possibility of working seriously on Wizard’s Duel, however, just for fun, I experimented a bit with a new language for web development, Dart, and the resulting time-waster is a combination of two of my favorite tabletop games: Munchkin and Talisman.

This is a surprise also for Daniele, here comes Card Quest!

Card Quest screenshot

Play online here

I think in the last couple of weeks I spent more time in airport, on trains or in hotels than in office (and it seems that May will be no different). Most of that was dedicated to work related activities, like replying to emails and writing minutes of meetings (yuck!), but to not go more insane that I already am I decided to interleave these with something more practical, thus deciding to learn Dart.

Dart is a recent language, an effort from Google to propose an alternative to Javascript, with a lot of nice features that maybe I will describe in a later post. The main attraction, of course, is that, just like Typescript, it can be code-compiled to Javascript and work natively on a browser. Another nice feature is that the development environment is “portable”, a huge plus when you don’t have your dev machine with you.

Now about the game itself. Card Quest is a simplification of one of the ideas that I sometimes write up in my spare time. In essence it is a “card game” with elements of role playing.

Each turn you draw a Location Card and read the instructions on it, sometimes you have to roll a die for a random effect or to overcome an obstacle described in the card. The effects vary from increasing one of your stats to draw a Quest Card to fight a monster, that you have to draw from the Enemies Deck.

Enemy Cards work just like Location Cards: they prompt you a possible set of actions to do (usually fight or flee, sometimes tricking your enemy of dominating it). Quest Cards give you a set of requirements that you must meet to gain a level (increase one of your base stats: strength, reflexes and smarts), for example “Slay the Dragon in the Forest” or “Bring this Ancient Idol to the Chapel”. Quest Cards can be picked during random events, like while staying at the Inn, if you have at least one Gold, or while taking a walk in Town, as demonstrated in the screenshot.

There are also Equipment Cards that may be bought at the Market or looted from slain monsters. They come in three categories, wielded, wearable and rings, and can boost one of you base stats.

The game was put together in a very short time and is not polished nor very deep. The point of the exercise, speaking about gameplay, was working with procedural narrative. The idea is that from very simple rules (everything is decided by a single roll or draw, there is not even a Markov Chain) it is possible to grow an emergent narrative system, maybe even a simple story.

The other thing that I was exploring is modular design, a thing that always fascinates me. You can just change the cards and the game can shift from a fantasy to sci-fi, or horror or whatnot. It can even shift in tone, depending on the random events described on Location Cards.

You can try it here if you want. And it works on smartphones too!

Beware of bugs, typos, half-implemented features and of course I don’t take responsibility if you PC burst in flames while playing! (this is a standard EULA, really).

Thanks for reading.

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