Sylvion was born out of my desire to create a “tower defense” game in the Oniverse.
I always had a thing for this type of game, maybe because they have so much in common with board games. I thought I could rip a few pages from their book such as resource management, positioning strategies and coordinating timing.
For my grandmother reading this article, a “tower defense” game is a game where you need to defend a place, often a castle or a fortress, from evil foes charging in waves. You then have to place towers and barricades or heroes in their way to try to stop them before it’s too late. In recent years, Fieldrunners, Plants vs Zombies, and Kingdom Rush are among the most successful games of the genre.
The theme came to me while remembering the beautiful German forest – I was in Germany for The Marriage of Figaro – and instead of defending a fortress, I wanted the players to protect the Forest of the Oniverse. Fire and flames were the natural enemies, facing an alliance of animals, fountains and floral creatures, each one bringing a specific power.
The draft aspect was the other key element that I wanted to integrate in this game. Instead of playing with the same group of defenders every time, players now have to draft a few of them before each confrontation, giving the players the opportunity to build their own deck for more personalized strategies.
Once a deck is completed, the goal is now to survive to Ravage and its many waves of attacks. Its army and maneuvers are represented with cards, which are divided in 4 decks. Each of these decks is assigned to a specific zone of the forest.
A game round starts with the revelation of the top card of every Ravage deck and the movement of all of its minions. If one of them reaches the forest, it inflicts a certain amount of damage to the forest. And if the vitality of the forest falls below zero, the game is over.
To prevent this from happening, it is necessary to manage your cards correctly, placing fountains in strategic places and playing the right animals at the right time. But all of these cards have a cost, and you’ll need to discard other pieces of your hand to play each of them.