About 3 years ago, Space Lion was born out of the quick design of an 18-card game jam. It was really fun and it stuck with me long past that design retreat. A few months later, I asked myself what a fully developed version of this idea would look like.
The Core Mechanic of the Prototype
The idea of assigning up to 4 cards into three lanes (called battlefields in Space Lion) was always the core of the game. Cards would be played face-down and flipped up. The suit cards were used as bases. If all 3 bases were destroyed, you lose the game. If you match the bases color with your units, your units will double in power. Even at this simple level, the game had a soft buffing and guessing element. You wanted to track when your opponent used their biggest numbers and when you thought they were going to double their attack for the turn. In that case, you should focus on winning the other 2 lanes instead. The Ace also had an effect that eliminated high-numbered cards.
I wanted the game to have the big battle feeling you get from the RTS’s of the 90s. It means there needed to be a Macro choice and a Mirco choice to participate in a battle. In Space Lion assigning cards to a lane is the ‘macro choice’ and how you use your battle effects is the ‘micro choice’.
2 Players is pretty fun but the game really shines at 3+ players. The middle battlefield is shared between all players and it’s a free for all! The highest strength army will damage all other participating armies but if there is a tie for the highest, no damage is dealt with any player. This means it’s possible to under-commit in this lane and suffer no damage. It might get a little political between players. Watch out!
Space Lion mixes a love for Starcraft, Star Wars, and Cowboy Bebop into one brightly colored sci-fi strategy game. Space Lion has that feeling of intensity and uncertainty from the big team battles or RTS and MOBA games where you will need to make a critical decision at that moment.
What if we partner the idea of a huge Starcraft-like battle with the bright comic art style of Marvel vs. Capcom 2? Let’s make it brighter and bolder! It shouldn’t feel too serious but also not too goofy either. With that, the art direction of Space Lion was born. The color pencil lines and colored manga dots are critical to making it pop!
Why is it called Spae Lion?
The project used to be called Internally “Treycraft”. A mix of my game design friend, Trey Chambers, and Starcraft. For the final name of the game, I named it after one of my favorite songs from Cowboy Bebop of the same name.
What it has become
Space Lion has that feeling of intensity and uncertainty from big team battles. Because resources are so limited, you will need to win your battles by just enough. You might find yourself choosing to lose a battle on purpose to save a specific unit to win a battle later or even the war. This game is going to keep you on the edge of your seat!
— Chris Solis