Designing Squarriors The Card Game has been, by its very nature, a holistic endeavor. Because of this, STCG has gone through four complete revisions, each starting over from scratch. Each major revision has been a fresh interpretation of how to properly bring to life the experience of Squarriors the comic book, each exposing wildly new and divergent mechanical challenges. I say it has been a holistic endeavor because modifying one mechanic inevitably affected the efficacy or viability of completely different mechanics that, in many cases, didn’t directly interact with the original mechanic that was modified. As each version of the game was proposed it was tested and refined, in some cases, taking months of time to find out that we just needed to start over again. Our time was not wasted, though. Each revision brought us closer to, what we feel is, the most mechanically sound (and fun!) expression of the Squarriors story.
In the beginning we placed certain constraints on the game. Some of these were abandoned as we discovered they were not necessary; others proved their value and, as a result, have survived all the way into the final launch edition of Squarriors The Card Game. Chief among these surviving constraints has been avoiding pure randomization of any kind. There is no shuffling and, indeed, no deck. Every player’s cards start in their hand or on the table in play. In our exploration of the various implementations of the game, we certainly tried some shuffled deck concepts and, in the end, abandoned them all. We discovered that top-decking the exact card at the exact moment you need it is exciting but, most of the time, you end up drawing cards that aren’t helpful and, as a result, frustrate players and removes their agency. After the last shuffled deck concept was abandoned, we decided to build a game that has less in common with poker… and more in common with chess. Squarriors The Card Game is, first and foremost, a game of strategy… not a game of chance.
That all said, Squarriors the Card Game isn’t purely deterministic. Over the years, we discovered that purely deterministic game play isn’t really all that much fun, and we certainly weren’t going to accept a game concept that wasn’t fun. So, we sought out a compromise. After a lot of trial and error, we introduced six-sided dice (d6) rolls into certain built-in mechanics. In doing this, we had to ensure that this randomization can be controlled (or modified) through a well thought out (and well executed) strategy. Every built-in dice roll is always combined with another numeric value that you have (at least) indirect control over. The effect of this is that this turn you might need to roll a 4 or better to achieve the desired result but, through other actions you take, you might be able to wiggle your way into a position where you only need a 3 or better on that roll. You can’t control the roll, itself, but there are permanent mechanics in place to help you push the odds into your favor.
Naturally stemming from our abhorrence of randomization, it has been a foregone conclusion since the early days that we weren’t going to sell these cards in randomized booster packs, either. Squarriors The Card Game is sold in complete sets with enough of each card to build any tribe once. One set will certainly be able to produce more than one tribe, just not an identical one.