Target audience and game design

The work of the last few months

We’ve been busy over the last few months. We have tested the game many times with different groups from all over the world. We’ve changed some mechanics, added new ones based on feedback, removed some. There have been some major updates and some minor ones. There were also changes in our creator group, there was a move to Essen. In short, this year has been hectic and we expect the next one to be even more so.

Maxima Mea Culpa Ladies 🙂

Matriarch of the Trollbane Clan in Karnarak

The most important point we noticed from our many testing sessions is that we got our target audience a bit wrong. Indeed, and I insist heavily on the fact that we are in no way sexist 😉, we did not think that our game with its very hairy and martial theme (well yes, they are dwarves after all 😊 ) could interest the female gender. Well, as said before, we’ve got our finger in the eye up to the shoulder blade. And for this, dear friends, we apologise. Maxima Mea Culpa 😊.

We received excellent feedback from the ladies who participated in the various tests, especially because of the extremely collaborative aspect of the game where it is very difficult for one player to gain the upper hand over the others (who said quarterbacking?). This allowed us to review our target audience and we took the opportunity to work on representation and diversity.

Simplification of rules

Finding ideas process

Another important change is the cleaning up of the mechanics. Originally, there were too many modifiers and conditions that made the game heavy and difficult to follow. We have changed or removed these mechanics. For example, the goblin shaman that gave +1 defense to minions in a room, including himself, has been replaced by goblin spider riders who are not blocked by the door and enter the citadel directly.

Still with the idea of simplification and following the observation of the different test games and the feedback from the players, we have changed the upgrade mechanics. In the first versions of the game, it was possible to upgrade each room independently, but this made the game considerably more cumbersome by requiring constant monitoring of the state of each room.

Now, upgrades are done directly at the citadel level and provide global bonuses. This makes the game much easier to play and provides additional strategies.

We also removed elements that we felt were redundant, such as the corruptions mechanic, which was similar to the events mechanic and didn’t really add much to the game other than additional tracking.

We replaced this mechanic with the arrival of siege engines. Indeed, what would a siege of a citadel be without catapults or mangonels? 😊

What next?

Currently, we have several projects underway: we are reviewing the design of the game board following these various changes, we are working on the balancing of the different clans, we continue to clean up the rules to simplify them as much as possible without losing the playability and the strategic aspect. And on everything, we test, test, and test again to get a balance that makes the game interesting, not too easy, not impossible.

This aspect is certainly the most complicated part of game design for a fully cooperative game, but it is a crucial point. If the game is too easy or too difficult, there is no point in continuing to play. And we want to give you the best possible gaming experience.

See you soon for more adventures of the Karnarak clans!

About Us

We are 2 geeks living in Switzerland and passionate about board games and role playing games since childhood. We decided to realize our passion by designing our first game, Dwarves: The Fall Of Karnarak.

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