Doxie Dash – Kickstarter Overview and Interview!
Mackerel Sky Games is a new publishing company that makes its debut with Doxie Dash by bringing it on Kickstarter! I was surprised by their professional approach, which tells me a lot about their love and effort put on this project. An overview of the game and an interview with Travis Wilkins, the designer, follows:
Your goal is to be the player with the most points after any player reaches 100 or more points at the end of a game round. Drafting the best combination of cards in a set collection manner will be the way to score your points!
You start the game by choosing a Hero and gaining 11 cards from the main deck. Each Hero comes with a unique ability and a bonus card which will give you ways to manipulate the rules to your advantage.
Then, you start drafting until all cards are played. For those who are not familiar with drafting, it means choosing a card to play in front of you out of the available ones and passing the rest to the player on your left. This is done simultaneously by all players until there are no cards left to draft.
Lastly, starting with the first player, you can discard any number of cards in front of you to draw the same number of cards from the deck. This is a last chance to get rid of some troublesome cards and maybe create a better combo on the way, but you have to be careful when dealing with randomness!
Let’s take a look at the various cards and how they score:
- Lick Attack: Scores you the depicted number of points (1-4 Points).
- Skivvies: There are three types of Skivvies, scoring 1/5/12 for having one/two/three types.
- Poo on the Floor: Combine up to three Poo cards with a Floor card for 2/4/6 points accordingly. You are a dog, this is your job!
- Poo on the Rug: Wanna give an even harder time to your “master”? Poo on the rug! Again, combine up to three Poo cards with a single Rug card for 3/6/9 points accordingly.
- Foes: There are three types of foes, Vacuum, Stranger and Badger which will score you minus 1/2/3 accordingly if you don’t defeat them! To do so, you have to use a number of Dash cards, 1/2/3 accordingly, to score 5/8/12 points.
- Meep: Helpless meeps can be rescued from defeated foes, scoring you extra points! Not rescuing them will cost you 1 point each.
- Water & Kibble: Each such card scores you 1 point but a set of these will give you 5 points!
- Toy: Discard this immediately to draw two new cards from the deck. Random, but two!
In addition, there are two possible variants in the game, team play and tournament. As the names imply, on the first option you can create teams to play and on the second one you go through 4 games and at the end of each you score points according to your placement (1st, 2nd, Etc.).
Mackeler Sky Games run a pretty straightforward campaign with an interesting pledge tier of having your own pet turned into a Hero card! Click to Doxie Dash and learn more about the campaign and the team behind it.
Interview with Travis Wilkins
We also had the opportunity for an inspiring interview with the designer of the game, Travis Wilkins, enjoy:
- Let us know about more about “Mackerel Sky Games”, and its vision.
Mackerel Sky Games Inc. is a small independent tabletop game publishing company based in Ontario Canada. It consists of a small creative team.I am the lead game designer. With each game concept, I strive to develop engaging game mechanics that suit the creative concept. Which in turn leads to a game play experience that offers a rewarding flow and pay-off for the user.Justin, our lead art director, is focused on driving our concepts to their most satisfying limits as we explore alternative ways to weave stories and engage the player in new and incredible worlds.Marcie, our graphic designer is steadfast in her desire to make the final product beautiful and fun to use.Coming from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of specialties, we all approach our concepts from a slightly different angle. This dissonance in collaboration creates some incredible results.
- What was the inspiration behind the game, both in theme and mechanics?
In this case, the game was built around the theme. The game is directly inspired by the lives of the dachshunds of Long Long Ranch. Five years ago Justin and Marcie (my business partners) started to breed miniature dachshunds, now they have a very successful Instagram and Facebook following.We wanted to create something for their audience of enthusiastic dachshund lovers, which lead to the creation of Doxie Dash. It’s a game that features the dogs from the Ranch as the heroes of the game. You get to play as one of them and see if you can become the top dog.We chose to create a drafting game because it is easy to teach yet offers so much dynamism. There is a sense of urgency when you play a pick and pass game. It mirrors the competitive nature of a pack of dogs. Your strategy needs to be adaptive with each new turn as you try to score the most points as you draft cards, gamble, sabotage, and use your hero’s variable player powers to defeat your challengers.What I love about the pick and pass type of card drafting is that you get immediate feedback on your decisions. Serious gamers and beginners can both enjoy this game because of the forced strategy adaptation.
- How come you chose to have pixelated artwork in the game? Which is gorgeous by the way.Since we are all 80’s kids, pixel art holds a special nostalgic place in our hearts. Outside of that, we were also attracted to how expressive pixel art can be despite its constraints. By limiting shape and contour you’re left with a very simplified form that (we feel) really allows the user to connect to the characters. The simplified shapes paired with the bright color pallet portrays the dachshund’s exuberant nature, where everything moment is exaggerated and fantastic.
- What was the greatest challenge that you faced during the designing and development of the game?I live 1800 kilometers away from Justin and Marcie, and they both have been working full time until recently. Finding time to focus on the development of our projects, including Doxie Dash has been challenging. We often don’t get the opportunity to connect until late in the evening after all the kids are in bed. We’re really looking forward to being able to focus more of our day on Mackerel Sky Games and its projects as we move forward.
- For what type of players is your game suitable for?
We have designed Doxie Dash to be accessible to gamers of all ages. It can be played as a filler/social game, a gateway game that enthusiasts use to teach particular game play mechanics, or as a competitive experience where card counting and probability dictate your strategy. Kids seem to catch on quickly to the set collection aspect, just taking a game or two to learn the flow. After that, they begin to pick up on how the heroes variable player powers can influence the way they play and how they score.
- What makes you the most anxious regarding the Kickstarter campaign?
Doxie Dash has been in development for over a year now. when you invest countless hours into something you’re about to share with the world there is risk and an inherent anxiety about how it will be received by the community. Fortunately we’ve been receiving really positive feedback from family, friends, and official play testers which is adding positively to our excitement.
- What else can we expect from “Mackerel Sky Games” in the future?I don’t want to offer too many spoilers at this point because it’s still early, but I am chomping at the bit to show everyone our next project in development. It’s going feature pick-up and delivery with action/movement programming as its core mechanics.We have a couple other strong ideas waiting in the wings. We’re looking forward to Doxie Dash’s success so we can focus on some of these other amazing ideas and release even more content as soon as possible.