Here’s more of a quickfire “blow-by-blow” account of early iterations of the game. I’m going to try to keep these brief and focussed on the takeaway learnings.

V.01 (March ’17)

    • Heavy emphasis on the “metagame” element of 8 fighters gradually eliminating each other in a “league”, with 7 quick matches adding up to a 30 minute game.
    • Combat resolution handled by simultaneous draw from decks of cards which all players were able to tamper with in a pre-fight preparation stage, each card representing man oeuvres or weapons with Rock-Paper-Scissors type interactions.
    • …It didn’t feel very involved; it was just a couple of mechanisms with not a great deal of interesting decisions. But making it and playing it still let me get my finger on what people found interesting about the core premise.
Who’d have thought that building decks of cards which fight each-other without any real player interaction is incredibly dull!
Pro Tip: this is too early in the design process to build a randomised spreadsheet sim “for balancing”. Yep.

V.02 (May ’17)

  • Players take turns to navigate a push-your-luck type maze built by the other players. They do this by rolling and spending a pool of dice which are unique to their player (black/snakes for cunning, yellow/scorpion for toughness and red/bull for strength). During the set-up phase, other players can add worse hazards, but doing so increases the prize pool.
  • This one didn’t make it to play-testing…
  • Side note: I think you can already see how much builds of the game jump from one early iteration to the next. I had a theme I wanted to work with and a feel for the player experience I wanted, but I still needed compelling central mechanics for things like “betting” and “rigging” to be enjoyable.
… in which much time was wasted on making custom dice, for no good reason.
Time spent getting slightly less-shit at graphic design is never wasted time. NB: this version was before I realized I don’t like dice much.

V.03 (May ’17)

  • This build pitted two fighters again each other in short confrontation, where augments were played out by gradually revealing a flower of hexagon cards around each fighter.
  • I tried this version with dice, and with 3 tug-of-war style stats where the fighter with the most points in 2 stats would win.
  • There were some interesting things here about spatial interactions between hexagonal cards, but not really what I was looking for… also, just getting a bit obsessed with hexes as a design motif because, y’know, cyberpunk.


in one version, you’d have this triple-stat “tug of war” scoring track as augments were revealed for each fighter. It was an attempt at letting the card order do the randomness and avoiding any post-card-reveal randomisers like dice. Another example of a system that could’ve been fine but just didn’t have any game to it.
at one point I got a bit obsessed with token-flipping as a combat-resolution mechanism, for some reason

V.04 (Sept ’17)

  • This version of the game veered a bit more towards the Spartacus side of things, with each player now representing a corporate agent, investing in different fighters, sending their fighter-upgrades to market for other players to buy and so on.
  • Ultimately I was trying to do too much at the same time… there were some awesome advances about theme here, but in trying to get it all in I was still focussing on a meta-game about a league of fighters as opposed to an individual fight itself. It didn’t really convey the brutality of the fight.
Pro Tip: your game probably doesn’t need Lore before Beta.
Later versions of the game abandoned this 1v1, 8 fighter league structure in favour of a closer focus on a single fight.

V.05 (Nov ’17)

  • This was the first iteration of the game where Dangercube became more about the blow-by-blow brutality of an individual fight. I also took the onus away from players to judge a possible outcome and place a bet, and the game started to become more about the spatial puzzle of navigating a maze of deadly traps.
  • In this version, players were given a blue or orange betting chit at the beginning of the game. They then rolled several action die and used the results to move either the orange or blue fighter, or to draft traps into the maze.
  • I experimented for a while with using a draw-bag to resolve the fights themselves. You’d draw out color-coded lightning bolts for attack and skulls for wounds; an orange lightning bolt would activate a drawn blue wound, taking it out of the bag, and the fight would end when one of a fighter’s wounds were all out. It was a nice probability scale for a betting game because it effectively meant that landing a hit on a fighter became more difficult the closer to death they were… but it just didn’t really lead to interesting decisions.
  • this was a steer in the right direction which lead me towards an “anyone can control any fighter” approach; the USP of the current game.
Orange vs Blue, because it’s The Future(TM)
early incarnation of the “number of viewers as scoring mechanism” which crops up again in later versions of the game


That’s it for now… my next Dangercube post will cover the version of the game I consider to be its Beta.