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dogpile, 2018

Dogpile is a traditional card game that was made collaboratively by members of The Great Sage together, for UEL's Board Game Jam commemorating the start of the academic year. Whilst not all members took part in developing the game, those that did not remained involved in the process by helping us playtest each iteration of the game. In the game, players sit around a table containing a pile of shuffled cards turned face down. Each card has a numerical value attached to it, though this game can be played with more standard playing cards (Joker, King etcetera) too as long as they are also translated to numerical values. Within timed periods, players must scramble to tactically collect either the lowest or highest total value between their cards, though there are other conditions they can aim to meet if they feel like risking it. The rules are explained in further detail within the above .pdf file. My contributions to this project were primarily illustrations (as seen above) and written documentation, though all of us had suggestions which worked themselves into the rules of the game.

As Dogpile is a game that was created over the short span of a game jam (see Dirt Life Radar for more), it is not quite as ambitious as a long-term project could be. In spite of this, care was taken by our team to polish the core mechanics of the game, playtesting it rigorously and making many tweaks until gameplay felt right: towards the end of the jam, we found ourselves enjoying our creation so much that we would keep playing it between ourselves just for fun. Whilst the game does bear surface similarities to more typical card games such as Blackjack, it has individuality, and much fun is added through the sense of chaos in play. This project gave me opportunities to produce art in accordance with the demands of other team members, and learn more about the positive impacts that thorough and repeated playtesting can have on the balance of the game.