After twenty years of writing jokes, I somehow decided to design an impossibly deep collectible card game. I wanted a game with all the strategy of deck building and all the tactics of tower defense, but with a challenging and fun resource system. I so nailed it.
Calculords Design Philosophy:
The math stuff looks educational, and I guess it is if you dropped out of 3rd grade, but I'm about to nerd out and explain why Calculords uses it. You may have noticed that in most card/board/strategy games, power slowly trickles at you. If it's turn one you can basically do one thing. If it's turn two you can do one slightly better thing. For several turns, there is virtually no difference between the moves of a grand master and those of his disinterested girlfriend. I don't think I'm being overly dramatic when I say this desperate world needed heroes and all those heroes are me.
In Calculords, your power is based on how well you math up your numbers, not how many swamps and elves you have in a pile. This creates a massive gap between smart players and dumbasses. I'm not saying I designed a game for the intellectual elite. Screw those guys with their sign languaging apes and their unnaturally accelerated particles. What I'm saying is that if you are a genius, here's a video game where that will come in handy.
In 2008, the game idea was an amateurish design doc and a few sketches. I started a company with Nick Heyman and Matt Franklin called Ninja Crime and we refined Calculords into a rad, unique strategy fest. Rich Joslin came on to finish the last of the programming and graciously said yes when I suggested we tear it completely apart and start over. He's added dozens of great ideas and absolutely rescued the project from oblivion.
To generate the enormous amount of art Calculords required, we hired the most affordable artist we could find-- me. I personally shoved pixels around for every menu, map, alien, tank, bike, mutate, and space marine until I had more than 200 cards, a gauntlet of enemy commanders, and a string of ex girlfriends who said I work too much. Most notable among them was the talented Pumashock, who composed the game's music.
I love video games. I've written seven of them and published over two hundred articles about them, but this is the first one I've developed myself. It's safe to say there's nothing else in the world like Calculords and I'm extremely proud of it. I hope you enjoy the game, but I'm totally okay with you just using it to trick your kid into learning math.