Gods’ Favour is a game about three gods fighting for dominance over the mountain leading to their palace, while a lone hero battles their way up the mountain to complete their destiny and slay a god. It pits 4 players against one another asymmetrically in a battle of wits and heroics which can only end in bloodshed. The game is built with a focus on emergent storytelling, competitive collaboration and strategic decision-making.
The game was developed for a university project that encouraged rapid iteration and playtesting, through the development of a series of prototypes over a whistle-stop period of only five weeks. We had four prompts to pick between for our inspiration: Chance, Failure, Collaboration or Memory, and we chose Collaboration. We decided, however, to avoid making a collaborative game, and instead built an experience where collaboration was central to winning the game, but always shifting to and fro between players. I took the lead on design, running playtests and iterating for the project due to team member absences for much of the limited time, but that meant I could delve deep into the gameplay and the huge number of cards and make something I was really confident in. I also handled the final art for the board.
Gameplay features bidding and offers, shifting gamestates, trump combo reveals and subtle ways to interfere with opponents or play them off one another, all with the aim of creating constantly shifting alliances between the asymmetric players. During the game, one god player holds the hero's 'favour', giving them various advantages in exchange for continuing to help the hero. However, at any moment, the favour may switch to a different god, as allies and villains emerge. The different sides of the game play entirely differently: an active hero traversing a world, fighting enemies and collecting new abilities, verses passive gods that have much greater control over the overall board and fight for territory. The hero plays a game reminiscent of Talisman, while the gods play Coup or Settlers of Catan. This asymmetry offers something for a variety of players and creates really unique relationships between them.
To drive emergent storytelling, we tried to imply as wide a world as possible using just the cards. We created a pantheon of 12 gods that players drafted between, each of which had 3 seperate central abilities, and a linked powerful boon in the deck. This meant that every god felt not only different to play, but as if they occupied space in the world of the game, and the players felt like much more active participants in it. Three different hero characters were also designed which, while simpler than god characters to offset the steeper complexity curve for the hero player, offered three very different playstyles. This all made for a much more replayable, immersive and mutable game.