Wizard Chess 7DRL: version 0.1

I'm proud to release this 7DRL challenge entry named "Wizard Chess". It took a full week of focused work, and while certain things could be polished further, and balancing is most likely off, it is a complete playable product (or so I hope).

The core idea was to replicate certain aspects of the old Heroes of Might and Magic games (further lovingly referred to as simply "Heroes"), but shift the focus onto resource management, supply lines, and battle positioning. I spent a lot of time trying to understand how Heroes corresponds to real-life (after you trim the fantasy elements) war and battle, and while there were a lot of things that made sense, some stuff just doesn't feel right:

  • Any real-life army needs to eat, and prolonged campaigns with large armies need massive supply lines. In Heroes, this is reflected in the 7-unit-stacks-per-hero restriction (I believe Heroes 3 specifically mentions you not having enough food to allow 8th unit stack to join). This doesn't make much sense, as it allows you to keep 9999 Black Dragons, but not 8 human units of different type. It also doesn't account for the army's ability to forage/hunt for its own food, which they could certainly do in the forest, and certainly wouldn't in the desert.
  • Heroes accounts for battlefield terrain advantages by granting the units who are native to a terrain a +1 speed boost. There is no concept of elevation, and the only variety on the battlefield are obstacles. This attempts, but ultimately fails to account for the importance of high ground and correct battlefield choice.

And so I set out to create a game that addresses the above issues, but also kept the scope to something reasonable, given that it's a one-week project. (To be fair, I spent a lot of time prior to challenge figuring out the mechanics I wanted to include.) The final vision was the following:

  • There are three factions: Order, Balance, and Chaos. Each has some amount of unique units, and also has access to a common pool of units.
  • Every city / town / village has a permanent faction, and refreshes the units that can be recruited there on a weekly basis. It also retains some units from the previous week based on some utility function and budget. The budget is higher for bigger cities, and higher yet on Hardcore level.
  • You control a single hero, and don't own any cities. You can trade / recruit at any city of your faction anytime. For all other cities, you can only trade or recruit there if you have defeated the city recently. After some time (second Monday from defeat), the city will fight you again.
  • The units are divided into two categories: salaried units, and tradeable units. Salaried units have lower upfront cost, but demand money on a weekly basis. Missed payments result in low discipline, which could have catastrophic results on Hardcore mode, and has moderate penalties otherwise. Getting rid of salaried units involves paying them off (or killing them off, hehe). Tradeable units have a high upfront cost, but don't have a salary to pay. These include beasts, war machines, and summonable creatures, like Djinns and Golems.
  • You can forage, hunt and mine on the terrain you are standing on. All the salaried units perform these actions, so your army can produce enough food to sustain itself if you play wisely. Different terrains have different advantages and disadvantages, with Forest feeding you well, Mine giving mining a 10x boost, and Swamp/Desert being terrible terrains for anything. Each operation depletes the land of 20% of the corresponding resources, and that tile needs a week to recover.
  • Fighting against other monsters / castle siege happens in a dedicated turn-based tactical map. It's very similar to Heroes, but sports a key difference: each tile has its own terrain, with each terrain having different advantages. Mountains and hills give you elevation, which in turns gives you attack/defense advantage. Trees provide cover against ranged and flying attacks. Swamps halve the attack and defense level of both participants of a melee battle. You get the idea.
  • There are treasure-filled mines scattered across the adventure map, which provide a good way to replenish your money supply. Alternatively, you can sell off the food and goods you forage, hunt, and mine, at nearby cities. There is even some dynamic pricing in place, with cities paying more if they experience shortage of a resource.
  • I had a lot of fun trying to generate random maps for this game. I ended up randomly generating some amount (12-20) of points scattered across the map, and choosing them as "region centers". Any point that's equidistant to two closest region centers is going to be a separator - either a mountain, a swamp, or a guarded path. Different regions have different primary terrains, and affect the type of cities that can be spawned there. On top of this, mines of different sizes are generated randomly throughout the map. I also run a randomized path-ensuring algorithm to make sure all cities are interconnected. (It breaks holes in mountain ranges and places defenders there.)
  • For this 7DRL, I picked a single objective: defeating an opponent city at the other end of the map. This city starts with extra garrison, and probably provides an intense fight by the time you clear the path to it.

Whoa, I sure wrote a lot. Thank you if you got this far. Would love to hear your thoughts.


Wizard Chess 7DRL (Windows 64-bit) 0.1.exe 13 MB
Mar 07, 2020
Wizard Chess 7DRL (Linux) 0.1.zip 9 MB
Mar 07, 2020
Wizard Chess 7DRL (Mac) 0.1.zip 30 MB
Mar 07, 2020

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