Filter Blogs By Blogger : Babis Giannios

20 Apr

Designer Blog: Vampire: the Masquerade - Heritage

Posted By: Babis Giannios In: blog news 0 Comment 6580 Hit

Vampire: the Masquerade – Heritage was always meant to be a game about stories.
Detailed stories that would intertwine nicely, forming a web of intrigue that would connect its protagonists –the vampires with each other.
I was already playing the “Vampire: the Masquerade” RPG for almost a decade, as a player but mostly as a storyteller. And a couple of years later, I would delve into the most exciting aspect of gaming, the live action role playing (LARP).

It was a given, that the game based on this magnificent IP had to be story-driven, immersive, engaging, respectful of its title and its fans.

The basic idea was simple and quite direct.
The game’s main players should be the vampires.
According to the theme, those undead beings exist with the humans side by side, feeding off of them and steering their history towards where they please… and always to their advantage.
This would mean that the players should portray influential vampires with the goal of siring more progeny, thus extending their ‘terrible’ bloodline. But anyone familiar enough with the setting would know that “siring a progeny” can be a long-term procedure, because they would have to choose their childer carefully. So it had to be a choice!

And so, the 80-card Mortal deck came into life. Consisting of 80 unique types of people that would populate the world in the medieval times. Each with their own “behavior” and “way of reacting to things”. For it was expected of a Marquis to oppose a peasant revolt whereas an Innkeeper might stick with the rebelling folk and where a Mercenary might even see opportunities on both sides.
I had to keep this in mind, and make sure that a story was told properly.
And so the idea of colors came to life. A color that would mean something, describing the viewpoints, the way of thinking, the status, their philosophy, their tendencies and even their ambitions and destinies. And so, each character got a different combination of color patterns and class types.
Class types – there would be four of them, the militarist, the financial, the shady and the wise. All of them as generic, yet as descriptive as the colors. A priest could be of a shady, if into politics, of a wise if into spiritual growth or of a financial class type if guilty of simony. There would be no defined lines for each person could be different into their own unique way.

The deck was ready! Next were the Battlegrounds! Different stages where all these people and vampires’ stories would mix, where their interests would clash and where their worlds would collide. These needed to be the excuses of them fighting yet they didn’t need to be defined. “Of Clans High and Low” – the battle of the vampire castes across the medieval centuries, “The Beast Within” – the inner conflict happening into the vampire’s rotten heart as its humanity struggles to remain alive, and finally “The War of the Princes” – the stories of how the vampires managed to manipulate the rulers and the kings into countless of wars and crusades. These would be the first three and the next would follow suit “The Masquerade”, “the Inquisition”, “the Anarch Revolts” and much…much more.

The game’s premise would be simple for each player.
Choose and sire a progeny and have it influence the world, based on its colors, type and abilities. This illusory freedom of choice, where a player would embrace the Viking Jarl seeking to promote the kings of the north, at the cost of succumbing to their Bestial nature, or the Shieldmaiden who’s more virtuous and still a supporter of the north, but yet more sympathetic to the common folk and the Low Clans.
Players need to have a difficult time picking one over the other as their plans would clash all into the form of one single choice. And as time would progress things would become even harder…

But then again, in the world of Vampire: the Masquerade, in the World of Darkness, fear, hardship and despair are common and quite painful…

Next time: Let’s talk about change – what makes this game a “Legacy” board game

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3 Aug

The rules of magic

Posted By: Babis Giannios In: blog news 0 Comment 1376 Hit

Balancing things in life have never been easy.
Doing household chores, working and taking care of oneself every day is not an easy thing.
Just imagine when you add wizards, magic and mythical kingdoms into the mix…

It can get far more serious…

“Archons of Magic” narrates the story of potent spellcasting individuals that harness the world’s arcane energies to do their bidding. These individuals called “Mages” have sought a way to reach their own ends and have thus pledged themselves to the service of the world’s mythical realms.
At the last post we saw what this is all about.
Players choose a Mage and take their appropriate spell cards. After that they choose a Realm and take its appropriate cards mixing them together with the Mage’s ones, resulting in a single 14 card deck.

But how is the game played? What do these decks do? And how can one enjoy “Archons of Magic”?

Being true to its deck-building nature, “Archons of Magic” relies not only on crafty deck composition but on strategic play of the cards as well. As cards don't have any cost at all, timing and planning plays an important role in the game.
Beginning with a player, a challenge is made versus their opponent.
Challenges can be different, from diplomatic to more combat oriented ones.
The player targeted by the challenge is given the opportunity to react and either fend off their opponent’s attack or not.
If not, then various things happen regarding the nature of the challenge.

Will you manage to:
Sabotage your opponent’s armies?
Kidnap their precious allies?
Convince a lord to declare war on another?
Cast a curse on your opponent?
or even
Summon Nature’s spirits to your aid?

Each victory is crucial as each plot that a player passes through gives them more leverage and power against their opponent.

Thus, players play challenges, protecting themselves against those of their opponents in a relaxing and easy way as turns pass one after the other until a player has no cards in hand.
At that point, the Mages amass their own armies consisting of arcane servitors and city pawns in one final combat!

After the smoke has set and the armies have withdrawn, the Mages meet up…
And the most powerful is the victor!

The winner takes the spoils and all players carry on by telling the story in a grand campaign mode. A thing I’ll be covering later on in the blog.

A single match of "Archons of Magic" takes about 15-25 minutes and engages players to play more matches with a different deck composition.

The game's rulebook will soon be online and you can easily check all the mechanical details that were ommited in the post.
We'll soon be heading to the game's beta, so as I said before, send me a message if you're interested and I'll be more than happy to have you in our team!

See you next week!

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26 Jul

What "Archons of Magic" is all about?

Posted By: Babis Giannios In: blog news 0 Comment 1553 Hit

There have been some years since I first created "Archons of Magic".

It was a project based on my love for deck-building card games combined with high fantasy intrigue! Back then everything was sorted out, the cards, the mechanisms, the story... I got the game, Panos and Haris got the drinks. And the matches were fantastic! The game was intense, the feeling was great! And all I knew is that I had a game actually in my hands. Back then game designing professionally was still a dream...

Seven years later, I figured I needed to check on "Archons of Magic" once more! Last year I showed you "Beyond the Mist" and now I wish to show you this new game! Now I need to know what you think about it!

"Archons of Magic" (AoM for short) is a deck building card game for 2-5 players.

Set in the world of Allangtoh, a fantasy world filled with insidious intrigue, warring kingdoms and a handful of important spellcasting individuals that can shape the entire world in an instant. Each player portrays such a Mage, telling the story of their own quest to greatness.

Each player chooses a Magic type, a Mage and a Kingdom.

The Magic type signifies a way that each player would play. One could pick the nurturing yet potent Nature magic, or the insidious and destructive Dark magic or among the other three...

After that, each player chooses a Mage linked to the Magic type the chose before. Would a Nature Magic player choose the Druid, the Nymph or the Ranger? What about the Dark Mages? What about the rest?

And last but not least, they must choose a Kingdom. By their own manipulative ways, each Mage holds sway over the rulership of a Kingdom. This is where the factions and the game story kicks in as the game offers a vast variety of kingdoms, from shady hamlet provinces to militaristic iron-ruled holdfasts!

Each Magic and Kingdom offers different card sets from which players are asked to create their own unique decks and begin their conflict battling it out by intrigue, diplomacy and direct confrontation...!

After many matches the player will be asked to reach a decision and shape the story of their own game. Kingdoms will fall, other will get empowered and other might fall under a Mage's tempting control!

But before we go that far, we need to say more about how the game plays. Let's talk more about the game rules! On the next post, in 2 days time, I'll describe to you the mechanism of the game itself!

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23 Jul

Attuning with the Arcane - a new game?

Posted By: Babis Giannios In: blog news 0 Comment 1514 Hit

Many months have passed and I haven't posted any new updates.

What can I say? It has been a frantic couple of months to be honest!

First of all Galactic Warlords hit Kickstarter! The response was great, but the feedback was even greater! You asked for more and you even proposed new things to be introduced! You wanted more gaming modes, more stuff and more variety! And Archona Games and I were happy to oblige! I really liked what they decided and I really like where they're heading with my game! They have drive and vision and I couldn't be more happy! So we've taken a step back and on September we're ready to hit Kickstarter again with a brand improved game!

As far as designing is concerned I've been working on numerous titles of mine. So far the "Granny", the "Poltergeist" and "Families and Bloodlines" have attracted a good deal of attention and hopefully will be hitting the shelves in the near future.

However, work hasn't stopped...!

For the past couple of months I've been working on a past project named "Archons of Magic", a personal favorite of mine! A fast-paced, replayable yet quite an addictive game that comes along with a great deal of adventuring and magnitude! Right now, I'm putting on the final touches and the game will be ready to hit its open-beta stage next week.

You can participate in it and help me improve the game! You only have to e-mail me at or send me a pm at my social network profiles! So, if you're up for it, feel free to give a shout out! Send me a message!

In a couple of days, I'll be offering much more information on that mysterious title. Could you bear the heavy burden of knowledge, especially when it concerns intriguing global matters of the arcane...?

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9 Apr

The muse and the caring father

Posted By: Babis Giannios In: blog news 0 Comment 1521 Hit

There are these moments that we have all experienced, and mostly those who are designing board games.

The moment that your muse has shown you the right path to the creation of a new board game and reassures you that it will be an incredible one! Your most precious pearl! You create it, you test it, try to make it perfect and you love it as you develop a caring relationship that flows through the very existence of your creativity. 

And then comes the time that you have to show it to the publishers.. Those grand beasts who will judge it, measure it and question it according to their own standards. And you will be there, by its side, like a caring father to support it, to show its strengths and its particularities that make it something authentically different, while the "beast" on the other hand will judge it as insufficient and incomplete. But you have faith in your child and when it justifies your care.. Then comes the moment where you start discussing about its publishing. 

The "beast" then becomes the guardian of your game, while keeping its first ability. "Changes need to be made" it growls, and as a conservative patriarch it tries to make your child wear clothes that it thinks fit. 

Then your boardgame changes structure, theme, shape, become it knows better. And maybe it is true, since it has been around for a while and it knows its job. But you stand proudly by your child, even if it wears weird make up, not too fancy clothes and has its hair all mixed up - you still have to smile and support it again, while at the same time you also understand the "beast's" vision to make your child memorable and unique. 

And you smile as you see it "parade" in front of the eyes of the people, who then cheer or disapprove it. And you look by your side and you see your muse looking at you enigmatically. Maybe you both live in another sphere, in another world.. 

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