One of the most active channels on our IACP Discord server is the #NewCardIdeas channel, so we know that a lot of folks in the community enjoy designing and sharing custom content for Imperial Assault. And that’s what IACP is really all about, creating new designs for the community to play with and enjoy, but most importantly taking feedback and suggestions from the community to make our IACP card designs as awesome as they can be.
For the upcoming IACP Season 8, the IACP Steering Committee would like to invite all of you in the community to help us with designing a new card to be included in Season 8. Rather than implementing cards that have been designed top-to-bottom by one individual, we’ll be walking all of you together step-by-step through the process of designing a new card from the start to the finish. We will be using a design-by-vote system that has been used in other games to facilitate the public working together to design a brand new game piece.
The design process will be broken down into steps which are described below and each step will be capped off with a 3-day public vote at the end of each week. During the week, the community will work together to discuss and refine their individual ideas until they are ready to submit their idea to the ballot. On Friday through Sunday we will host a poll on the BoardgameGeek Imperial Assault Forums to allow the community to choose which ideas they like the most from the submissions that have been made. The results of the poll will be announced the following Monday and the next week of discussions will begin again, leading into another poll the following weekend until the card is completed. It’s totally free to make a BGG account with just your name and an email address, and it’s a great website to be a member of if you’re into tabletop gaming.
We will use ranked-choice voting in each poll to help prevent ties and to make sure that folks are voting for submissions other than just their own. If one submission gets more than half of the “1st choice” votes, that submission is the winner for that week. If there is no submission that initially has more than 50% of 1st choice votes, then the submission with the fewest “1st choice” votes is eliminated, and the voters that had that eliminated option as their first choice will have their 2nd choice votes added to the tally of 1st choice votes of each submission. This process is repeated until one submission has more than 50% of the votes. This is the standard process for ranked choice voting, so you can look up how it works if you’re still unclear.
The final card that is created will be included in the Season 8 playtest league, which starts on April 24th, in whatever form it ends up in. The IACP Steering Committee will retain the right to curate the design submissions for each week in case there is anything that is obviously problematic or broken, but our intent is to keep this process as organic as possible to allow the community’s designs and desires to come through in each step and the final design of the card. We will do our best to monitor the discussions before each vote and notify someone before the voting deadline if their idea is likely to be rejected from inclusion on the ballot so they can change course beforehand.
The first weekend of voting will be happening on January 27th-29th, and the entire process should be complete before the end of March 2023. We will create a thread in the BGG forums for each week’s design topic for the community to discuss their designs and make their final submissions. Below we’ll go over in more detail, each step of the card design process.
Week 1 Vote – Card Concept and Design Goal
BGG Discussion Thread: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/3002752/community-makes-card-iacp-s8-thread-1-card-concept
This is a really important step is it will guide all subsequent steps of the design process. This is where the community decides what kind of card they want to make before they get into specific abilities and costs and things like that. This is a very general concept in some ways but it can also be quite specific as well.
For example, the community might decide that they want this to be a card that boosts a specific figure trait in skirmish. Or one that boosts a specific type of strategy in skirmish. Or maybe boosts a specific figure. Or maybe a card that counters a specific strategy or strategies in skirmish. Or maybe a card that explores a new specific design space in the game, or that creates a very fun and specific play pattern that is not often experienced in skirmish. The idea here is to identify a need or a goal that exists in Imperial Assault skirmish and then use that as a guide for the rest of the process on what kind of card the community is trying to create.
They say that the hardest thing to design around is a blank page, and so this is something we are going to encourage the community to start talking about now and have several weeks to start figuring out what they want this card to accomplish for the game. This will be the guiding lighthouse for the remainder of the project as to what the card should be doing and designed around. If we feel that any future design submissions for this card are not in accordance with this voted concept and goal, we will not allow those submissions to be placed on the ballot.
Once the design concept is figured out, it’s time to decide what type of card this should be.
Week 2 Vote – Skirmish Upgrade or Command card
BGG Discussion thread for Part 2: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/3019053/community-makes-card-iacp-s8-discussion-thread-2-s
The community will vote in week 2 on whether to make the card a Skirmish Upgrade or a Command card. These card types have different advantages and disadvantages and the community will need to decide before moving on to the next steps which of these 2 card types will best serve the stated design goal of the card. This is one of two votes where there will not be any submissions, just default choices, in this case the 2 default choices of either a skirmish upgrade or a command card. Whether or not to make the card an attachment will be decided in a later vote.
And yes, this means that we will not be using this process to design any new figure deployment cards. Needing to figure out a figure’s stats through a voting system like this would have added a lot of complexity and very likely not result in something that close to balanced right out off the bat, so limiting this to skirmish upgrades and command cards seemed like the way to go. This does still mean it’s possible to create a card that boosts a specific figure though, so keep that in mind.
Week 3-4 Vote – Ability Text (including attachment type and trait restrictions)
And here we come to the meat of the card, the abilities. Since they often go hand in hand during the design process, this is also where players will be voting on what type of figures might be restricted to being able to use this card, as well as whether this card will be an Attachment if it is a skirmish upgrade.
Because this part of the card is such a critical aspect to its design, we will be allowing 2 weeks of discussion before moving to a vote. The Steering Committee will assist with making sure that all submissions are worded using correct templating.
Week 5 Vote – Cost and Uniqueness
Next the community will vote on how many points to cost the card at, as well as how many copies can be included in a deck. For Command cards that means the little pips in the lower left corner by the cost, and for skirmish upgrades that means either being a unique card limited to 1 per army, being an elite card that can have 2 copies per army, or a regular non-unique card that can have up to 4 copies in an army.
Week 6 Vote – Faction
Finally for gameplay purposes, the faction of the card will be decided. This can either be Neutral, Rebel, Empire, or Mercenary. Often the faction of a card will have already been determined as part of designing the card’s design concept goal and abilities, but sometimes you realize after designing your card that there are opportunities for that card to be used in more than one faction, or sometimes that it needs to be kept out of one faction in particular to avoid problems. Either way, it makes sense to lock in the card’s faction last after locking in the other gameplay parts of the card’s design.
Week 7 Vote – Card Name
Moving into the more flavorful aspects, we’re now ready to vote for the name of the card. This should take into account the card’s ability, cost, faction and restrictions and match all of them accordingly, while also being somewhat iconic in its own right and being easy to for players to remember.
Week 8 Vote – Card Art
Finally it’s time to pick a piece of artwork for the card. Community members will be allowed to submit one piece of Star Wars art that they like and think would fit the design of the card up to that point. Players should not submit art that has already been used in another official FFG Imperial Assault card or IACP design. It should go without saying also that overly lewd, vulgar, gorey, NSFW or otherwise inappropriate images should not be submitted, and blatant violations of this rule may have consequences.
Week 9 Vote – Revisions
We’ll then use the final week to look at any revisions that need to be made to the card that were discovered in the weeks between it’s design being finalized and its flavor aspects being voted on. This might include things like templating errors or an unintentional combo with another existing card. This is NOT a way for losing submissions to try and take another shot at being picked, and repeat submissions will not be added to the ballot here. The idea is for there to be an escape valve at the end to correct any blatant mistakes while staying true to the design that was voted on in previous weeks.
And that’s it, that is the layout for our card designing journey which begins on January 27th over at the BGG forums. Here’s the link to discussion thread for week 1, though you’re also welcome to discuss design ideas on Slack, Discord, Reddit and Facebook. I am personally looking forward to seeing what cool and awesome card design comes out of this project that’s made and designed by the Imperial Assault IACP community.