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Devlog #3: Whats in a Theme?

The Grand Theme of State of Wonder

I’ve had a long 3 weeks of work since the last development log and I have worked in a lot of fields during these weeks. Everything from Marketing, Game Design, Writing, World Building and QA. But I can boil it all down to one thing. Theme.  What do I mean with this?

Theme is a large topic and affects every single decision taken with a product. The Product in this case is a game. So first, the Game Needs a Theme. With Theme we do not talk simply about how a game looks or there being knights in a game to give it a medieval theme. Instead we are talking about what will motivate both players in the game and characters within the world.

The Theme for State of Wonder as a game would be discussing the burden of leadership and how being a leader can and will affect a person.  This Theme runs throughout every faction and how leaders within the world are those who must take important decisions and your decisions can decide the fate of entire nations.

In State of Wonder, this is embodied by the player being a leader of a city state. Their decisions decide if their people will die, by being conquered or be converted by another state building a Wonder, swaying the people beneath them. Within the game world, these themes are represented both by the different states and alliances, but also by people in these roles.

Themes in the Kingdom of Scathia

Let us start with the different ways the alliances portray the burden of leadership, The Crux Militem, The Frifolk and The Ritualists. They all represent different themes on leadership. The Crux Militem, are bound to leadership by birth, duty or exceptional skill. Each leader within the Crux are taught that because of something they cannot control, they need to carry that burden. They will have the power to decide when and where their soldiers die.

The Frifolk, on the other hand, lead by inspiration and through choice. The Leaders are often chosen by the people beneath them and will lead through action. At times, The Frifolk leaders do not want to carry the burden of leadership and have to both struggle with that. (An Example that is is the upcoming Hero Cart the Bronze Bard of the Bronzeheart Bandits)

The Ritualists on the other hand, has thrown themselves into blind service of something that they cannot muster to fight against. They have abandoned the burden of leadership, with the choice of eternal servitude to another power. They still have leaders, but the leaders only guide people towards the true leader, the Dark Night or the Spawns of Sulphur. These two represent either willfully giving up the right to freedom through promises of safety or being physically forced to serve under someone.

Outside of this Leadership often comes with either sacrifice, suffering or pain within State of Wonder. There is a metal in the world, Called Black Gold, Black gold is rare and a sign of a leader. There is two properties to Black Gold. The First one, it is almost indestructible, especially when reforged into Black Steel and it sears, scars and wounds anyone who carries it.

Right now there are 2 objects I’ve made for the world that is made in this material. The First one, being the Black Crown. A Crown made in Black Gold, which is carried by the king or queen of the Kingdom of Scathia (The continent where State of Wonder takes place) and part of the Repossessors mask. This kind of object help hammer in the burden of leadership. To lead in the Kingdom of Scathia, you have to suffer these objects.

Theme in Game Design

So how does this change Game Design? How does this affect the design of different cards in the world?

Well, I have two examples of this. Let us start by looking at a specific card in the Ritualist Alliance. The Church of Revelations. The Cult of Voices is worshippers of the Dark Night. They Yearn for protection but someone needs to protect them. The Church of Revelations can give you this protection, by providing one of your units with a buff, making it able to protect you better. But it is costly to gain this protection as the unit will die at the start of your next turn. This design hammers in that the people of the Cult is Ready to sacrifice anything for safety. It also fits the theme of turning to a higher power for safety.

The Second example must be the card The Repossessor. The Repossessor is a mighty soldier, a leader and the best assassin within the world of Scathia. Those who follow the Repossessor doesn’t follow because he is the leader, but because of what The Repossessor stands for and what he wants. The quote on the card show his views and the people who follow do it because of this viewpoint.

I’ve always wanted to be able to really incorporate thematic design into State of Wonder and now as I’ve worked hard on building out both the world, the alliances and really trying to incorporate a lot of this theme into the world.

I hope to be able to give you some more awesome information, especially on the new designs soon but for now, I hope that I will see you around and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!



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