Robert Sparks

  -  Play   -  Indie-velopment – Card Game

Indie-velopment is a 2-4 player card game where you manage your own indie game development studio. Through the game, you will be hiring and firing talented employees, competing for lucrative marketing opportunities, and acquiring new technologies to further advance the plight of your innovative game studio. But beware, the publisher is getting restless, and there are plenty of other studios who are willing to fill your place should you not complete your masterpiece in due time. Completely build your video game before everyone else, or have the most complete game when the publisher has reached their harsh deadline – to be crowned the little indie that could.

The Rules

As a classic engine building card game, the rules were something which consistently needed tinkering with. They were also written back in when I was rather inexperienced in providing documentation – especially considering this is the first tabletop game I’d developed. As such, they serve as a good guide to how the flow of the game would play out, but are a bit sparse regarding finer points on the win condition. Regardless, you can peruse them here: Indie-velopment Basic Structure

The Cards

Employee Cards

Employee cards are the hard workers of Indie-velopment, and you couldn’t make your interactive masterpieces without them. Ensuring you put the right talent under your employ is of key importance, as they fuel your engine by allowing you to roll more production and research die, depending on which team they are in. Employees are free to play, but cost hard earned money each turn they’re working for you (upkeep – shown at the top of the card).

If you think one employee has something extra to bring to the team (the skill located at the bottom of the card), you can promote them to leader of a team by paying their upkeep again, allowing you to use their special ability. You can replace a leader for free during your turn – and should you not be able to afford all your employees, you will have to let as many go until you can afford the upkeep.

Each employee card consists of it’s upkeep cost at the top (if this is 3 or higher, that employee is considered a specialist, and belongs to a separate deck to the employees), followed by art and title, dice type added to certain production, and leader bonus ability:

Tech Cards

Tech cards behave like spells and secrets in Hearthstone, or instants and sorceries in Magic The Gathering – they require a certain amount of research tokens to play, and have very powerful one off effects. Some can be played face down, hidden to all other players until a certain condition is met – and once triggered, will activate regardless of who’s turn it is.

Each tech card has the research cost at the top, followed by art and title, card ability, and finally flavour text at the bottom. Check out the selection I created here:

Marketing Cards

Marketing cards fulfill two purposes; they present individual or group side missions which offer big bonuses to those who complete them, and they speed up the end of the game by increasing the time until release date by 1 month (12 months is the whole game development – yes this is a rushed indie game). When drawn, the player who drew the card checks the top of the card to see if it’s a single-player, or multi-player challenge (shown by a single person, or multiple people icons).

If the card is single-player, they may place the card next to their dashboard face up, and is now the only person who can complete that challenge. If the card is multi-player, it is placed next to the deadline dashboard in the middle of the table, and can be completed by anyone playing the game.

Each marketing card shows the type of challenge it is (single or multiplayer) at the top, followed by the art and title, then the challenge requirements on the left, and rewards on the right, finishing with flavour text at the bottom:

The End?

Indie-velopment was incredibly fun to try to piece together, merging my love for video games and tabletop games, and feeding my passion to develop for either platform. It came from a place of love, and that gave it most of it’s mileage, but it being my first attempt at producing a tabletop game, I fell into pitfalls of diving too deep too soon, which ultimately left me feeling a bit burnt out creatively.

I genuinely believe in this game however, and though it’s really far on the back burner at the moment, I would love to return to this to make something more of it. I’ve also found a great deal of inspiration for future projects from the hard work I put into this concept, so though there’s no complete product, pieces of this project live on in other work endeavors.


Project Type Individual – Card Game (Tabletop)
Collaborators Rob Sparks
Duration March 2015 – June 2015

Bolt Mini