Siege SCG Blog The developers of Siege official musings

14Mar/120

The First of Possibly Many…

Hello,

I wanted a place to introduce people to the game, the rules, and the mechanics of Siege.  As well as a place to talk with the minute possibility of people listening.  This page has accomplished the first, the second is still in the works.

So a crash course on Siege: the history.

It's a collectible card game set in the time of ancient empires (think Greece and Rome), that is much like every other collectible card game out there (MtG, pokemon, vs, etc), with the major difference in that I, with the help of some others, made it from scratch.  It's was meant from the beginning to be a tactics heavy, expert level, card game for people who liked games like the aforementioned MtG but wanted a more, adult, game.  A game that rewarded great play over deep pockets, adept card usage over blind top decking, smart deck building over "GoodCard.dec."

Sure like any card game, there will be great cards, there will be luck, there will be bad players who beat good players with nothing but a bad bluff, but I wanted from the start to make a game that tried at it's core to be about skill.

I think we did okay honestly.  And the game has gone through 4 major phases of it's development or version to get to where it is today, where I think it's likely to end up.  Because outside of comprehensive proof reading, I have for the first time in the history of the game written all of the rules down. Up until this point at least some portion of the rulebook has always existed solely in my mind, this is dangerous for an number of reasons. Now, it is finally in a state where the rules are on paper and set (Note to all: It is entirely likely I will renege on this claim and start from scratch later, but I shouldn't because I like the game as it is now).

I had a couple of key mechanics in mind when I started Siege.  One was the mechanic that is still to this day the backbone of the game: Territories.  Most card games don't deal with physical distance, it's a lot to manage on a table top.  Some games have space represented like front and back rows of a set up, but the space between players is arbitrary.  Not so in Siege, in Siege there are 7 territories laid out between players that represent actual, physical, traverse-able space that cards can and must move through before they come into contact with each other.  The idea arose because I wanted a game like tabletop games (Warhammer 40K, for example), but represented in a card game.  Also physical space was a must if ancient armies were to battle.  The spacing and tactics required in correctly deploying forces was necessary.

The 2nd idea I wanted to have was simultaneous turns.  This one was more obscure since it wasn't really about tactics, more about purity of gameplay.  I didn't want one player to have any advantage over the other at the start of the game, I wanted it to be a true test of skill.  So I did it like this.

Another tenant of gameplay is what I'll refer to as "permanence." What I mean by that is your decisions and actions don't merely impact that turn but have lasting effects on the game and where each player stands.  Games like Magic for example have very little permanence. When you start a turn everything resets and you get to untap all of your cards and start new, it doesn't matter if you used a land last turn or not, you can still use it this turn.  Same for combat, it doesn't really matter if you attacked or what you did last turn, if you got a creature, it attacks this turn if you want it to.  I didn't like that sort of short term planning.  I wanted Siege to require long term goals, incremental change, slow developing conflict.

It may sound odd, but this concept is easily the most differentiating thing about Siege from other games I've played, at least in the way the game "feels." Armies who enter combat may take several turns before they fall, even if they are taking damage the whole time, possibly an army in combat could hold down the fort until you can recruit reinforcements.  This idea of time, of permanence, changes the way you think about the game.  You are always force to think ahead, to plan, to survey and predict.  "Do I advance an army now or save him for a counter attack?" or "Do I build up my resource stockpile to play a larger army down the road or can I not wait?"  I want you to make decisions in Siege that may not see their impacts until the final turns of the game.  I've finished so many games with friends that end with, "Man, 15 turns ago had I just advanced my armies to stop your assault this would have ended differently, I would have had a chance."

This is fun to me, always fighting for the upper hand, slowly trying to enforce your empire's will on the other player's, calculated combat with permanence. I know this first post was a long one, and in the future they should get shorter and sweeter now that the meat of the introduction is out of the way.  Next time I post I'll dive into the rules and hopefully start getting to why Siege does what Siege does.