When I started Dangercube I had a couple of design goals in mind. Weirdly enough, the initial impetus came from playing Camel Up! – I game I didn’t expect to like as much as I did – and then wanting to make a game about betting which was a little more involved. The sort of wasteland or high-tech arenas you see in a lot of R-Rated sci-fi seemed like a great sort of setting for this.

I’m also lucky enough to have a friend who is an exceptional graphic designer and character artist who likes post-apocalyptic and cyberpunk stuff. So, knowing he had a bit of a penchant for brutal Ameritrash games, I thought that with him in mind as a potential artist in future – I’d design a game with him in mind as the target audience. Side note: I’d highly recommend trying to design with a specific person in mind – especially if your tastes don’t always line up.

I’d watched some videos of Spartacus being played and read about some other gladiatorial combat games. I wanted to make something lighter and a bit less dice-rolly and simulationist, with the emphasis mainly on the hidden agendas of the players themselves.

After I’d tested out a few different mechanics, I ended up settling on a glossy cyberpunk (or more specifically “neon-punk”) setting for the game. While a post-apocalyptic wasteland arena would be identical to the Roman model in a lot of ways, a corporate-sponsored futuristic bloodsport hints toward elements like heavy body modification, with players acting more as corporate sponsors and, therefore, not necessarily “owning” any one fighter outright.

Very early prototype using pirate coins (arr!) stolen character portraits and a more trashy wasteland theme.