Just on 30 years ago I sat down to my first Dungeons & Dragons session with a piece of paper in my hand, a pencil, eraser and a some really weird shaped dice. Little did I know that I was about to embark on an amazing adventure that would somehow lead me to writing my own game so many years later. During the last 3 decades I have played 4 editions of D&D, countless board games, Magic: The Gathering, the entire Warcraft computer game series, Warhammer Fantasy, Warmachine, League of Legends, Hearthstone and so many more I cannot even start to name them all. I have always had a curious blend of table-top miniature games and computer games, although that is not so unusual these days.
Judgement is my attempt to combine the best of both these gaming worlds, the most enjoyable aspects of the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena combined with the cool game mechanics, strategy and hobby aspects of table-top miniatures. At first it was nothing more of an indulgence collaborating with 2 old gaming buddies of mine. However I soon become engrossed in the process and once the creative juices started flowing I was unable to stop it!
The thing I did realise fairly early on was that writing a game is not easy, well let me re-phrase, writing a highly strategic, balanced and fun game is not easy. After a lot of false starts, self reflection and several months of hard work I remember sitting down for a play-test session and thinking afterwards "now that was not too bad". Since then there has still been another solid 6 months of writing, re-writing and play testing to get to the point we are now however that initial break through was a great moment in the process.
Throughout the development phase I stuck to my initial ideals. I wrote them down at the time:
- inspired by the hero brawler computer game genre
- easy to learn
- great amount of depth in strategy, list building and game play
- no "gotchas" (rules that catch a new player out that would instantly lose them the game)
- 54mm scale models
- no factions/armies/teams so a player could field any models they wanted across the entire range in a game
- both a quicker & smaller board game version and a full blown table-top version
Each time the game got to good stage where it played well and for all intents and purposes was finished I would go back to the hero brawler genre and take something else to add in. First it was the ability to purchase magical items, then it was neutral monsters and the final piece was hero levels. Each time I added such a big element it would send the game back a month or two before we could work the new rules into it and build it back to a great game once again.
I have to say I am just so proud and happy about how good Judgement has become. It is truly a fun, challenging and highly rewarding game to play. The depth in strategy is enormous, I spend my days thinking about synergies between heroes and strategies putting my Warband together. Then you have the added ability to adapt your strategy through magical items and levelling heroes during the actual game!
Whatever happens from here, whether the Kickstarter is successful or not, it has been an amazing journey. My only hope is that I have the chance to enable other people to enjoy the experience and pleasure of what it is like to play Judgement. All the play-testers I have worked with think the same way. We just want the game to become a reality. There is a lot of work to be done between now and January 26 when the Kickstarter will launch but I am confident with the people in the Judgement team it will be a huge success.