The Challenge Mode

The challenge mode is the "roguelike" way of playing Dawnmaker, and is aimed to be the main play mode for players who are familiar with the game. It is composed of 2 main parts. First, each time you start a new run, you get a (semi)random roster of buildings. "Semi" because we want to make sure you can still win and have some fun, so we're making sure you won't have a list of buildings that is just unable to win. But, apart from a few checks, that roster will be random and you will have to deal with what you've been given. Sometimes you'll have obvious synergies, other times it will be harder to figure out a way to victory. We're fine with that, as that means each run will be different.

The second element is: rewards! Each time you finish a city and secure a region, you'll get two main rewards. The first one is a booster of buildings. You will receive 3 new buildings, that get added to your roster and thus will become available in your market starting with your next city. The game will feature a world map, allowing you to choose which region to go to next, knowing what buildings you will receive — somewhat like the map in Slay the Spire.

The second reward you'll receive is a card to add to your starting deck. You'll get to choose a card that was in your deck at the end of the last city, and put it in your starting deck, while removing another card from the deck. We expect this will make the early game much easier. Generally the first level becomes less interesting as you progress: by giving you stronger starting cards, you should be able to upgrade faster. We also hope this will lead to interesting and unexpected situations.

We are doing three things with this challenge mode: adding more randomness, which increases the diversity of situations ; adding more choices, which is what players strive for in strategy games ; increasing the power of your starting deck, reducing the time to get to the interesting parts in the later regions.

Our first internal playtests indicate that it's working as intended: the game is more enjoyable for us (players who have already played the game a lot), more challenging, and has a lot more depth. We're looking to having that feature ready in a few short weeks, and when it's ready we'll roll it out in the demo and let you all have a go at it!

Lastly on this topic of replayability, we have another feature cooking up to increase it: random terrain! How about having some lakes, mountains or ruins on your map when you start your new city? We're preparing that, but it will be a topic for another newsletter.

(I hope y'all enjoy my attempts at doing cliffhangers in a newsletter!)

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