Stephan Church - Game Design / System Design / Artist
Noah Summers - 3D Modeling
2008 - 2017
Illustrator | Photoshop
My earliest work, Turtley Democracy has been a product that I used to learn artistic and design practices. The game is now going through it's final stages of design and testing before going to market. As a board game, it is a game built around the concept of freedom of movement and blocking opponent's movement. It use hidden probability scaling to create risk vs reward.
The game hinges around the use of space manipulation, so creating an effective gameboard was a priority. Ultimately I went with a board variant that emphasizes "controlled chaos." The board has a double sided reflection in arrangement while the spaces are proportioned to balance risk and reward.
Below are some of the prior iterations of the board that were created during the development of the game. Tests showed that the arrangement of the board and the ratio of spaces drastically affected the length and meta of the game. Different sized boards were also considered but not listed below. In total, eight board iterations were created for testing purposes.
For the cards, I created a strict formula of card archetypes and functions to balance the luck of card draw. The result was a formula for deck creation that keeps the game fresh, interesting, and reduces frustration.
Each card has a designated purpose. As more cards are played, the game slowly evolves. Cards that interact predominantly with the user are more passive in their design language while cards that interact with the board are more active in their language. Cards also speak their roles through color and structure.
Previous Card Iterations
In the initial versions I explored functionality and visuals as I developed my proficiency in digital arts. When I became more versed in illustrator, I explored the layout and readability. The final art was made large for scalability.
Character cards are made larger to distinguish themselves from the rest of the deck. Flavor text is placed to the bottom to make it less apparent, so it doesn't distract from the main character's ability. Some indicators such as name and label are still in the same location to create a sense of cohesion to the rest of the cards.
Other Physical Media
The earliest interations of Turtley Democracy put a heavy emphasis on emulation for the physical components. As I became more proficient in design and returned to the game, I put a large emphasis on feel and expression through materiality.
I worked with Noah Summers to create models for each Turtley playing piece. I sent him guides that he then turned into models. Once finished, I painted the finished models with acrylic paint.
With Turtley Democracy I was able to experiment and iterate over a long period of time. This project allowed me to understand the design process through testing long before I had a formalized education in design. For this reason, this project serves to show my evolving design philosophy over an extensive iterative process.