Crumbs! Dev Blog #2 - Beginnings
In anticipation of the Kickstarter launch of Crumbs! The Sandwich Filler Game, its designer (Jon) and publisher (Scott) will be discussing the process of designing and developing a game from concept to creation!
This week, how Jon designed Crumbs! and what drew Scott to publish microgames:
Jon: As I previously mentioned, theme is one of the biggest factors when it comes to me and games. One particular aim; attempting to make cards truly represent the theme both in terms of form and most importantly function. Themes that came to mind naturally went hand in hand with my other main interests – food, nature and education/therapy. Which of these can be naturally represented by a rectangular shape? One design quickly began to stand out for its theme, visual aesthetic, and gameplay on initial testing:
Cards representing bread and ingredients, stacked in a way to look like a sandwich. The reverse side of the cards would represent customer orders and the objectives of the game. Everything just seemed to click! Very quickly my brain started working on a tight ‘thinky’ game (whilst attempting to ignore the ideas for expansions that kept excitingly popping into my head). As I was attempting to create an 18 card game, typical condiments like butter, sauces and salt and pepper were quickly discounted and the feeling was that 6 slices of bread and 6 fillings (2 of each) would work best for what I had in mind; a variety of sandwiches with the cards being “cycled through” to allow for cards to be constantly reused. I also wanted to include a variety of types of sandwich as well as fillings to provide variety; open, “normal” and triple-decker sandwiches were introduced with each type also potentially being toasted.
When it came to gameplay, I really enjoy games with a firm win/loss condition. To ensure theme continued to be a key part of the game, it made sense that the player needed to be as quick and efficient as possible to keep customers. Putting these two factors together resulted in the idea that a player had a limited number of turns to complete a sandwich otherwise the customers leave and the player loses! Although I was relatively new to solo games I hadn't come across any with this type of mechanic, which helped solidify it as something would help the game stand out, alongside how it integrated with the theme and artwork.
With the card content, theme and rough gameplay idea in place the actions almost wrote themselves:
Take as many of one ingredient, placing it in a sandwich
Toast any number of sandwiches
Restock as many of one previously used ingredient
The result was a tight puzzle game; the player needs to maximise their 5 turns (using any of the 3 actions above, as many times as needed) and line up combos (one action used across multiple sandwiches) to achieve a win. After some playtesting and balancing I realised just how intuitive, immersive, and slightly addictive(!) the game was and how much bigger it felt than it’s 18 cards.
And so, like any good design that requires proving, the idea of “Breadhead: A strategic sandwich-making game” as it was previously known, began to rise…
Scott: As I mentioned in our introductions, I love 'minimalist' games, either in their design, art, or components, so I always had an intention of designing or publishing microgames.
Long-time Minerva fans may remember Pass The Buck, a free 24-card party game I released for free to print and play one Christmas. (If you missed out, you may see it again!)
Since then, I've built up a little collection of microgames including Sprawlopolis, Tussie Mussie, Grove, Dustbiters, and Penny Rails, amongst others.
I had also been working on a couple of designs, looking for the one to become the first in (hopefully) a line of Minerva microgames, when I received a rather intriguing private message on Twitter...
In our next entry, we'll reveal how Jon and I came to meet and play Crumbs!
In the meantime, follow the project on Kickstarter below: