Insider 5-14-2012

One of the perks of designing assets for games like Heap is getting to be a part of playtesting. Playing the game and watching how people hold and play their cards had a big influence on how we ended up with our final layout.

Designing the cards for Heap was a bit like putting together a puzzle. We had to find a way to connect the players to the information, making the game easy to understand. There’s a lot of info on those cards, and it’s important to keep each piece distinct and easy to find.

We noticed in playtest that we were frequently shuffling through our hand to find the cards we wanted during combat. To help speed up gameplay, we put the combat tree in the upper left of each card so attacks and defenses can be viewed at the same time just by fanning out your hand; there’s no need to fumble through all your cards.

Showing the part type icon in the upper right has similar reasoning. Since you can only have one part of each type attached to your vehicle, being able to see all the icons at a quick glance makes it easy to find the parts you do need.

You’ll notice when you attach a part to your vehicle that you slide the card under the vehicle. In doing this, some of the information on the card is covered up. This actually just simplifies the card for you, showing you only the information you need now that you’ve attached the part. Laying the cards out like this makes it easier to see what each part does during the rush phase. Pretty clever, huh?

Graphic design is more than simply making something look cool. It's about finding the balance between aesthetics and function and pushing to get the best of both. And with Heap we really feel like we have hit the mark.