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What is Dragon Dice?

Dragon Dice is a collectible dice game published in 1995, developed by TSR, Inc. (now defunct). The game’s franchise (including the game itself and the IP etc.) was later acquired by SFR, Inc. and is still active until today. Dragon Dice was created during the big CCG (Collectible-Card-Game) hype era and can be seen as a creative answer to trading card games (like Magic: The Gathering). Although the trading dice game genre was far less successful and has seen way fewer games released. I think it is save to say that Dragon Dice was (and is) the most successful collectible dice game until today.

Dragon Dice is strategy game where players create mythical armies using dice to represent each troop.  The game combines strategy and skill as well as a little luck.  Each person tries to win the game by outmaneuvering the opponent and capture 2 terrains.  Of course eliminating your opponent completely is another acceptable way of winning.

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What is the BGDF?

The BGDF (short for “Board Game Designers Forum”) is a traditional, uncommercial web-forum that has been around on the internet for more than a decade.

The “Board Game Designers Forum” is one of the few places of the game related internet sphere that Im checking regularly for news, ideas, feedback and help. It has been around for so long that a trustworthy community of board-game designers gathered who are not only showing off their own creations but are also willing (and capable) to help.

Contrary to some other forums out there, that are either commercial, dead, spam-infested or full to the brim with newbies, the BGDF has been growing its niche since the beginning. Game designers posting their ideas, concepts and even prototypes there are not only showcasing it to a game-insider audience, they are also able to gather valuable feedback from people who know what they are doing (because most, if not all, forum members are designing games since years as well).

The BGDF is maintained by game enthusiastic individuals with no commercial goal in mind. The forum does not rely on big-business sponsors and has no contract with the big-players on the market. This creates a very indie friendly atmosphere and supports the “open-source” body of thought the internet is based on.

I for myself am a member since a decade on the “Board Game Designers Forum” and recommend it to anyone who is interested in creating a “unplugged” board- and/or card-game.

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What is Battleground Fantasy Warfare?

Battleground fantasy warfare is a miniatures game without miniatures, developed by Your Move Games. Units are represented by cards portraying the warriors and their characteristics. Battleground can be played on a kitchen table and each faction box includes a variety of units, more than can be fielded in any one game.

This game is quick to set up, easy to store and requires no assembly or lengthy painting of your armies. Battleground is also a very tactical game, where maneuver and marshalling your limited command resources are the keys to victory.

Battleground currently features fifteen different armies (factions), with more in production. Some of these factions are based on traditional fantasy archetypes, while others are unique. In addition, the game also comes with a bunch of historical factions that allow to replay the grand battles of history.

In order to play the game, both players build their armies from their chosen faction with a point limit in mind. After deploying your units, you give each of them a standing order to represent their default behaviour/command.

The players units will follow that order until it changes or the player takes direct control of that unit by using command actions. As you will never have enough command actions available, careful tactical decisions have to be made throughout the game.

Battleground is a tactically rich game, where players must use their limited resource wisely in order to outmaneuver their opponent and break through their lines. And when you are victorious, your army can fit in your pocket!

One of the possible use cases of our Fantasy Stockart, is a game similar to Battleground – where you use cards instead of miniatures to represent the armies on a battlefield. Instead of computer rendered artworks of several soldiers on one card, it would display just a single warrior represented by a hand-painted illustration.

Take a close look at the available factions on Fantasy Stockart, you will see that there are Dwarf units, Human units, Elf units, Orc units and more. Each one of the factions features rank-and-file troops, heroes, close-combat as well as ranged-combat units, war-machines, spell-casters and more. Perfectly suited to start your own a card based war game!

Image from the cancelled Gods & Minions fantasy warfare card game (similar to Battleground)
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What is miniature wargaming?

Miniature wargaming is a form of wargaming in which players enact battles between opposing military forces that are represented by miniature physical models.

The use of physical models to represent military units is in contrast to other tabletop wargames that use abstract pieces such as counters or blocks, or computer wargames which use virtual models.

The primary benefit of using models is aesthetics, though in certain wargames the size and shape of the models can have practical consequences on how the match plays out.

Fantasy Stockart artworks are perfectly suited to illustrate a miniature (or table-top) war-game. Many of the available images have been designed with medieval military orders and weaponry in mind.

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What is the Unity3d Game Engine?

In simple words, Unity3d is the world’s most popular game creation engine. It packages a ton of core features together and is flexible enough to make almost any game a designer can imagine. Unity started it’s path to glory with unrivaled cross-platform features and the engine is popular among both hobby developers and triple-A studios. The Unity3d game engine has most recently been used to create games like Pokemon Go, Hearthstone, Rimworld, Cuphead and many more.

While most often used for 3d games (hence the 3d in the name), Unity 3D also comes with lots of tools for 2D game development. Programmers have always been in love with this engine because of the C# scripting API and built-in Visual Studio integration.

Artists also enjoy Unity3d a lot because it contains a range of powerful animation tools that make it simple to create your own 3d cutscenes or build 2d animations from ground-up. Nearly anything can be animted in Unity (even without the use of additional Assets).

Finally, Unity3d features a free version so indie developers can release games made with the engine without actually paying for the software, as long as they earn less than $ 100,000 from their games (quite a benchmark to reach for a indie dev).

Computer Games and Mobile Games require decent art as well, and Fantasy Stockart is ideal to be used as icons, textures, backgrounds and decorations for those games.

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What is The Game Crafter?

The Game Crafter is a print on demand board game publisher. Their website allows anyone to create their own board game, card game, or custom playing cards. Game designers have a lot of flexibility and can build out their game with playing cards, game boards, tiles, game pieces, rules documents, and custom packaging.

When the game is ready the designer can purchase one copy or as many as they’d like and The Game Crafter prints and ships the game. Since we are a print on demand game publisher, there are no minimum orders and you only have to purchase what you need.

In just 8 years, The Game Crafter community has grown to over 240,000 users and it continues to grow at over 2000 new users each month! Their users have been very busy creating over 85,000 different game titles on their servers, 7,000 of which are self-published and available for purchase in the online shop.

Watch a video interview below with the CEO of The Game Crafter, JT Smith. He talks about The Game Crafter’s print on demand game publishing service and the awesome game design community that surrounds it.

Of course, all images offered at Fantasy Stockart are 100% compatible with The Game Crafter and can (and should!) be used to improve your projects look & feel. As both, Fantasy Stockart and The Game Crafter use large PNG24 images – it’s a perfect fit!

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What is a tabletop RPG?

As you may already know, role playing is akin to playacting. The referee, or gamesmaster, serves as a sort of actor/director, while the players portray the main characters. Everyone combines their imaginative talents to conceive a spontaneous story which is never short of action, intrigue and adventure.

The easiest way to understand a table-top role playing game is to think of it as a work of fiction such as a novel (or a play, or a movie, etc.). In a novel the author determines the setting of the novel along with the actions of all of the characters and thus the plot; however, in a role playing game, the author (called the Gamesmaster) only determines the setting and some of the basic elements of the plot.

The actions of the characters (and thus the plot) are determined during the game by the game “players” and the Gamesmaster. Each of the “players” controls the actions of his “player character”, while the Gamesmaster controls the actions of all other characters (called non-player-characters). Thus each player assumes the role of (i.e. role plays) his character and the Gamesmaster role plays the non-player characters. In other words, a fantasy role playing game is a “living” novel where interaction between the actors (characters) creates a constantly evolving plot.

The Gamesmaster also makes sure all of the characters perform only those actions which are possible within the framework of the setting that he has developed (his “fantasy world”). This is where the “fantasy” part and the “game” part come into the definition of a fantasy role playing game. A Gamesmaster creates a setting which is not limited by the realities of our world, and thus the setting falls into the genre of fiction known as “fantasy”. However, the Gamesmaster uses a set of “rules” which define and control the physical realities of his fantasy world. The use of these rules makes the process of creating the role playing “novel” into a game.

The Setting
Thus, a fantasy role playing game is set in a fantasy world whose reality is not defined by our world, but instead is defined by a set of game rules. The creation of the plot of a role playing game is an on-going process which both the Gamesmaster and players may affect, but which neither controls. The plot is determined by the interactions between various characters and the game’s setting.

since fantasy role playing is after all a game, it should be interesting, exciting and challenging. Thus one of the main objectives of a role playing game is for each player to take on the persona of his (or her) player character, reacting to situations as the character would. This is the biggest difference between role playing games and other games such as chess or bridge.

A player’s character is not just a piece or a card; in a good role playing game, a player places himself in his character’s position. The Gamesmaster uses detailed descriptions, drawings and maps to help the players visualize the physical settings and other characters. In addition, each player character should speak and react to the other players as his character would. All of this creates an air of involvement, excitement, and realism (in a fantasy setting of course).

The Gamesmaster
The Gamesmaster has been described as the limited “author” of the game; actually, he functions as more than this. The Gamesmaster not only describes everything which occurs in the game as if it were really happening to the player characters, but he also acts as a referee or judge for situations in which the actions attempted by characters must be resolved. The Gamesmaster has to do a lot of preperation before the game is actually played.

He must develop the setting and scenarios for play, much material concerning the setting and the scenario is known only to the Gamesmaster. In addition, the Gamesmaster plays the roles of all of the characters and creatures who are not player characters, but nonetheless move and act within the game setting.

The Players
The players each develop and create a character using the rules of the game and the help of the Gamesmaster (for the character’s background and history). Each player character has certain numerical ratings for his attributes, capabilities and skills. These ratings depend upon how the player develops his character using the rules of the game. Ratings determine how much of a chance the character has of accomplishing certain actions.

Many of the actions that characters attempt during play have a chance of success and a chance of failure. Therefore, even though actions are initiated by the Gamesmasters and the players during the game, the success or failure of these actions is determined by the rules, the characters’ ratings, and the random factor of a roll of the dice.

Finally, a fantasy role playing game deals with adventure, magic, action, danger, combat, treasure, heroes, villains, life and death. In short, in a role playing game, the players leave the real world behind for a while and enter a world where the fantastic is real and reality is limited only by the imagination of the Gamesmaster and the players themselves.

Quality games require quality artwork. We are here to provide you with affordable, royalty free fantasy artworks for your board-game, card-game, computer-game or mobile-game. Browse and buy professional artworks available at our art shop: Fantasy Stockart.

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What is a Collectible Card Game?

This special kind of the card game genre emerged in 1993 when Magic: The Gathering first appeared in the local games and hobby stores. This game was originally developed by Richard Garfield and was the first of it’s kind, spawning a whole generation of collectible card games, trading card games or customizable card games that are still popular until today.

As diverse as CCGs / TCGs are, they have several things in common that include the use of a starter deck or introductory deck that features a basic inventory of cards used to learn and play the game. Then, each player is able to expand his or her card collection and therefore the play deck as well, using new cards from booster packs. The cards packaged in those booster packs have varying rarity levels and the packs contain a random assortment of those cards, usually between 8 and 15 cards. Typical for this rarity system is the fact, that rarer cards have a much higher gameplay value than cards of lower rarity. With enough cards, players can create new decks and strategies from scratch.

The founding father Magic: The Gathering dominated the whole scene with it’s presence, but several other CCGs have come and gone. Among them popular IPs as well as smaller background worlds and scenarios with more or less varying rule sets: Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon, Legend of the Five Rings, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are very popular examples.

As the internet continues to change our lifestyles, it also has big influence on the way collectible card games are played. With the emergence of Hearthstone, digital collectible card games gained massive popularity. Those game do not make use of physical cards and instead use digital representations, with the newer ones foregoing card images altogether by using icons or avatars. Digital card games also allow for a much more complicated rules set and more subtle ways of distribution and monetization with expansions, custom card backs, layered rarity levels, campaigns and so on.

Quality games require quality artwork. We are here to provide you with affordable, royalty free fantasy artworks for your board-game, card-game, computer-game or mobile-game. Browse and buy professional artworks available at our art shop: Fantasy Stockart.

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What is a Social RPG?

The rise of Social RPGs begun with mobile phones running Android and iOS systems, as well as tablet computers – and are therefore to be classified as a mobile phenomenon. But this genre also has it’s niche on desktop computer systems as well. The birthplace of this genre is Japan and the additive “Social” also origins from there (despite being an english word). Im not sure if the tag “Social RPG” will be enforced or replaced by “Casual RPG”, “Mobile RPG” or any other combination later on, but Im quite used to the term already and stick to it.

The premise of this article is that you already know what a “RPG” is and have a good knowledge about the genre. So we take all the basics like a characters, enemies, maps, progression via a leveling system, inventories, items, abilities and magic for granted. For a good example of Social RPG’s check out games like Brave Frontier or Summoners War.

But the “Social” part of the name tag is not that obvious and should not be confused with its literal meaning. Instead it originates from another genre: “Social Games”. This kind of games became very popular as browser games in the past, distributed via social networks like Facebook. Social Games are usually free-to-play and can be played endlessly, similar to MMOs (for example building up a farm or managing a city). Social Games usually provide only light multiplayer aspects, as they are casual by nature (so no fixed raid times and lenghty dungeon runs or such).

Most of the social interaction comes from showing off your work to others, competing with other players and climb up the ranking ladder. The times when these games where distributed via social networks is almost over, but Social Games continued to exist elsewhere until today – for example in the AppStores and Steam.

The Japanese are renown for unique game concepts and a individual way of mashing two genres together. It did not take long until casual game concepts (like Puzzle games) where mixed with certain RPG aspects and light multiplayer feature to create this new genre. In terms of labels, the american trend leans towards mashing two game titles together (like “Metroidvania”), while the Japanese simply combine two genre titles to create a new genre label. This way, the term “Social RPG” was born.

Social RPGs often actually only feature very light social elements. Limited to a fighting with or against friends, joining a guild or clan, inviting friends from outside the App for bonus points and so on. These social aspects have not changed much since the invention of the genre, but their presence is one of its defining elements. This fact makes the label a bit hard to understand, if you are confronted with it for the first time. But, the label “arcade game” has not much in common with “Arcades” anymore as well and every now and then we see tags like these pop-up and stick around forever (like “roguelike”).

So, what defines a Social RPG? Like with most genre labels there is no perfect definition for the term as the individual games can vary a lot. But here is a list of common concepts that helps to nail the corner posts down:

  • A single, repetitive core mechanic (like a combat system)
  • Micromanagement of game objects (like teams) to complement the core loop.
  • Leveling up through experience for both the account and game objects
  • Features increasingly difficult, short single-player challenges (combat etc.).
  • The focus is on challenges rather than exploration or story
  • Light multiplayer features like a friendlist, fighting with or against friends
  • A wide array of game objects to collect and use
  • Loot is gained via a random lotto mechanic termed “gacha”
  • Game Objects are tiered according to power and rarity
  • Game Objects can be evolved or increased in rank
  • Hard cap on all inventories to force players to invest resources to lift the cap
  • Rare premium currency that is used for a variety of purposes
  • Free-to-Play with optional in App buys of premium currency
  • Puts a limit on game sessions via a stamina meter (or energy meter)
  • The main battle mechanic can draw from a variety of other genres such as action, puzzle etc.

Quality games require quality artwork. We are here to provide you with affordable, royalty free fantasy artworks for your board-game, card-game, computer-game or mobile-game. Browse and buy professional artworks available at our art shop: Fantasy Stockart.

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What is a casual MMO?

MMOs have come a long way since the humble beginnings of their ancestors like Meridian59 and Ultima Online (with several others even preceding those). We have seen whole generations of development in regards of graphics, gameplay and usability. But MMOs are also bound to the time players spend in the game, this means all MMO games run in “synchronous” mode – where enough player have to be online in order to raise the gameplay experience to an enjoyable level.

With the rise of mobile devices, more and more casual Massively Multiplayer Online games see the light of day. The usual definitions for these types of games are: Easy to learn, intuitive design, fast gameplay in short intervals and quick results. But casual games also have the “asynchronous” gameplay in common. That means players are not forced to be online at the same time in order to fully enjoy the game.

In a world with many different timezones, increasing workloads and stress levels and so many different ways of life – casual games hit the nail right on the head. How do you benefit from a large player base if the major amount of players must be online in order to enjoy raids, dungeons, battlefields and guild wars together? In a casual MMO, every player has the freedom to participate whenever there is time – and is still able to enjoy, progress and contribute to the game for the full gameplay experience.

So, casual MMOs feature all the typical keypoints we know and love about traditional MMO games. This includes character generation, character development, acquiring, collecting and upgrading items, finishing quests and progressing through the story and the overall game. But casual MMOs cut out the fat (like having to stay online for 3 or 4 hour shifts in order to participate in a dungeon raid) and streamline the gameplay to the most enjoyable parts. Of course this also cuts out some of the meat we used to enjoy in past (offline) games like Final Fantasy and others. But after walking from Location A to Location B for the third time, the excitement of this process like begins to fade away and is something we are more than willing to resign.

I don’t say this removes repetition from the game, as most casual MMOs rely strongly on reptitive behavior (“grind”) like fulfilling daily quests, completing daily challenges or fighting the same bunch of monsters/enemies on a daily base. This kind of grind is very common to almost all casual MMO games and increases repetition, while on the other side many repititive factors are simply removed.

This phenomenon goes hand in hand with “content stretching” as most casual MMOs try to deliver the same content (map, stage, level etc.) over and over again to the player (with varying degrees of difficulties and rewards). This is done in order to spread the existing, prefabricated content (that is always expensive to produce) out like butter. But also to slow down player progress as much as possible with the ultimate goal to make the player stick as long to the game as possible. In a single player game, you usually finish the main storyline in something between 25 and 50 hours – a MMO on the other hand must be able to keep it’s players around for month’s, if not years!

This all being said, the casual side of MMOs is not bad at all. Okay, lets put aside some of the more P2W aspects some of them try to sell to the players as features. But besides these capitalistic developments, casual MMOs are quite enjoyable for a very long time and are able to maintain large player bases.

But on the other hand, this type of MMOs is also not as innovative as many developers/publishers want them to be, its just another variation of the genre, wrapped up in shiny new clothes and then sold to the masses. If you look for a revolution in the MMO genre, better look elsewhere. But if you are looking for an enjoyable Massively Multiplayer Online experience that does not force you to lengthy game sessions every day – “casual” is the way to go!

Quality games require quality artwork. We are here to provide you with affordable, royalty free fantasy artworks for your board-game, card-game, computer-game or mobile-game. Browse and buy professional artworks available at our art shop: Fantasy Stockart.