Langskip, wasn't always Langskip. In fact, it was a struggle mentally to start recounting the events of the past year for this development diary so early because of how different the game was back then to how it is now. On the other hand, as I imagine the position of you, the reader, I've also considered that it could be interesting just to see the progression from the beginning, right up until the end. So let's start with the beginning.
Langskip, in the beginning, used to be titled "Cat Game" or "Yarn Run!" at one point. These were working titles, but it did give you a strong sense of the thematic direction where the game was heading, which is to say that it definitely wasn't Viking themed.
The hand limit being 5 instead of 2 had a similar issue in that you had enough information in your hand to gauge what would be an easy lie or not without much thought. However, the true issue with a hand size of 5 is that you can't design less useful cards in purpose (to promote lying and strategy) because they just lay dormant in the player's hand all game.
As you can tell though, the game was still a bluffing game from the very beginning, and despite the bluffing being hampered somewhat by the ratio of cards, either in the deck or the player's hand, it was fun. So I tried to fix these two issues that I identified early on. Like most designers I'm sure, I stumbled upon the answer. I was actually heading out of my door in the morning to go somewhere, and it clicked.
Now again, this isn't the final set of cards, mechanics or even ratios (and for some reason there were dice?), but the card count was now 20 instead of 52, people had a hand size of 2 cards and I introduced the Mischief tokens, which were there to stay. On top of that, what made it all work, was the introduction of the mechanism which made it so the deck of cards were reshuffled multiple times throughout the game. This allowed for the percentage chances of cards being drawn to be more easily tracked (due to the size of the deck) but would still constantly be changing because of the reshuffling of the deck.
Also, you can see that the theme had finally switched from fluffy cats to hearty Vikings, meaning that the course was now set, and the journey of development of Langskip was properly underway.
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Niall from Crab Studios
Hello, my name is Niall Crabtree, and this is my comprehensive blog showcasing all of my game development endeavors and successes, as well as essays on game design.
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