Welcome to Candycreeps Development Diaries! This series of posts is like our transparency policy — it’s designed to paint a picture of the ideas and motivations that went into putting the game together. Keep an eye on this space for future updates.
Dev Diaries 1: Why Candycreeps?
Once upon a time, when we saw how much fun our buddy Justin of Green Fairy Games had with Fae Noir, Liz and I started kicking around the idea of putting together a small-press game. The kernel of an idea that grew into Candycreeps came from some of our earliest ideas for what we wanted to do:
1: Rules-light. We wanted the game to be short and sweet, with just one or two easily explained core mechanics, and to work off of a single die. The goal was for the whole game to fit into forty or fifty pages at the most. Once we got to writing, we found that there was a lot to say, and the document itself grew to more than twice that size. But the core mechanic stayed short and sweet — simple addition and subtractions, with an element of bidding to keep the players thinking.
2: Easy to picture. We wanted the game to have a defined sense of visual style, so that you could picture just what a character would look like. This led directly to the core mechanic of Aesthetics, which ties together the style and stats of your character.
3: Fun to read. Over the years, I’ve probably read at least five games for every one we actually played; and even for the games that led to long, satisfying campaigns, I’ve read way more supplements than ever made it to the gaming table. There’s nothing wrong with that! Some of my best memories from college are of late nights sitting around with Justin, poring over the Rifts Worldbooks, and laughing about all the crazy stuff you could make up with them. When I decided to write a game, I wanted to make it fun like that — something that you’d laugh while reading, even if you never played a single session of it.
4: Good to look at. Filling the game with cool-looking art to pull the reader into the game world was a priority from the start. When the plan was to have a forty-page game, this was a way less daunting prospect! But we stuck to our guns as the manuscript grew, and I believe that the result is one of the best-looking small-press games out there. That’s all thanks to our fantastic artists, Jorge Munoz and Ben Powis, who really captured the style we were going for.
5. Engaging chargen. For me, making up characters is half the fun of gaming. I’ve got whole notebooks full of all the guys I made up but never had the chance to play. We wanted our game to have a chargen process that lent itself to that kind of obsessive fun, encouraging you to make up a whole bunch of really distinctive characters to populate your headspace.
These ideas melted together into the smooth, cheesy fondue of a gaming experience that is Candycreeps. In the next few posts, we’ll take a closer look at the role each of these aspects fills in making Candycreeps play like it does.