Game Modes in Gem Wizards Tactics

Above: the new (still WIP) intro for Campaign/Ranked modes)

On launch in February, Gem Wizards Tactics is set to have four game modes, and I’d like to lay those out for people now just so everyone has a sense of the game. It’s pretty unusual for me to ship a game that has more than 1 game mode: Auro has exactly 1, I think ETO had two. But over the years I’ve become more flexible about allowing players to use the software in different ways to play how they want to. So here’s what we’ve got planned:

  1. Ranked Mode. This is, if you ask me, the best way to play, at least in the long term, because this mode uses the Single Player Elo system to get harder as it goes. So in Ranked Mode, a whole campaign (~8-10 missions) will be missions at or near your current skill level. The way it works is, if you win a mission, the next mission will be your rank +1, if you lose a mission, the next mission will be your rank again. So overall it’s somewhat similar to playing a bunch of Auro matches to rank up. After winning a Ranked Campaign, you immediately Rank Up (you don’t have to win multiple campaigns to rank up). That’s one of the other really cool things about this mode is that players can and will lose some missions, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to lose the whole campaign.
  2. Campaign Mode. We maybe need a better name for this, but this is more like a “Rogue-like” or “Rogue-lite” mode you’d see in most indie games these days. Basically, each mission gets harder as you win missions, and losing one mission ends the run. So it will have that Rogue-like sort of structure where, you really have to get quite good at the game to win even a single campaign ever.
  3. Custom Mode. This mode lets you play a single mission, at any rank, with any faction and against any faction. If I have time I’d love to allow you to completely customize your squad for this mode, but that will be in either at launch or later on. This tool will be extremely useful for playtesters, I think, and if we have things like daily challenges later a lot of the code for this mode will come in handy.
  4. Story Mode. Just a short tutorial, really. I’m still in the process of working out some of the details of it, but it will introduce players to a lot of the rules and concepts, and also a tiny bit of the narrative frame of the game.

That’s about all we have planned for launch, but later on I would love to do more. Let me know if you have ideas or thoughts on any new modes, or these existing modes.

Thanks for reading!