The original idea for King's Tournament was to develop a two player game using a standard deck of playing cards. The game only needed some rules and then we would make it available as a free download on our website. In the end, the direction of the game development led us away from using a standard deck of playing cards.
Mike and I talked about the game through texts and emails for about a week, and, due to a miscommunication, we each began our own development on the King's Tournament idea at the same time. At one of our evening meetings, we met to present the game to each other. Neither game was very good, which is not uncommon when going from an idea to an actual game. Over the course of the evening, and after much discussion about the merits and failings of both versions, one of us (don't remember which) had the brilliant idea of combining the best parts of both versions. The results were great. We now had a game with two phases, a joust phase and a melee phase simulating a medieval tournament.
Development continued, and after many months, we had a two player game with a fair amount of strategy that was also fun to play. The trouble was the game's length. Forty minutes was too long for a game of its size. At that time, each player had a small deck with four knights. Each knight needed to be knocked off his horse and then defeated while on foot to be eliminated from the tournament. It turned out the solution was simple: reduce the knights to one for each player. A single play through now only took five to ten minutes. We changed the game play to win the best two out of three games. The result was a 20-30 minute game. Also, the game length could be longer just by changing the winning conditions, (i.e. best 3 out of 5 or 4 out of 7). Players short on time can choose to play a single ten minute game between other games.
King's Tournament was also our first experience with buying art. We found a wonderful artist, Greg Taylor, who helped us through the process. Greg provided the box art and weapon art while Mike designed the card layouts using the weapon art and sections of the box art. I really like the end result.
As I mentioned earlier, this was intended to be a free rules download using playing cards. I would still like to present such a game and have a few ideas. If any of them turn out to be fun games, we will definitely make them available in the future.
Thanks for reading.