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Strike Back: Tactics is a card game adaptation of Strike Back focusing on a bite-sized tabletop fighting game experience. Pick from two decks based off of the characters from Strike Back and fight!


Strike Back: Tactics was developed as part of DigiPen's DES 420 capstone course and as a personal project. I served as the sole designer on the project, creating all elements of the game. 

Format | Card Game

Playtime | 5 Minutes

Dev Time | 3 Months

Download/Print | Google Drive

Role | Designer


My Ownerships

  • Served as the solo developer and designer on Strike Back: Tactics.

  • Designed the game's base systems.

  • Designed the core two "starter" decks for the game.

  • Developed the designs and presentation for all game elements.

Design Glimpse - Designing Strike Back: Tactics

Strike Back: Tactics was originally a game called "Dice Fighter", Dice Fighter was a rudimentary tabletop game developed as part of a small class assignment I did during my early years at DigiPen. Strike Back: Tactics was developed as part of my system design capstone project after brewing as a personal project for a couple of years. The game adopted the Strike Back IP that I had helped create previously to help give the game an established identity. My work developing this game was all encompassing from general design, to visuals, to production. 


Developing tabletop games is an area of development/design that I'm not particularly experienced at but, developing Strike Back: Tactics served as a live-fire environment for figuring out the challenges posed when working on games in an analog space. The biggest challenges were porting over elements of a digital fighting game to an analog medium, optimizing for usage within that medium, and handling physical production. 

The Same But Different - Translating Designs

A big leg up on the project I had was the privilege of working on translating something that I had previously made before - not translating the work of a 3rd party design. A core goal I wanted to nail down in Strike Back: Tactics was to make the game carry over the general feeling of play as the original Strike Back. That meant a slower, per-interaction-based fighting experience with not as much emphasis on landing combos. The overall philosophy was "tactics is king". This inspired the Rock-Papers-Scissors style of type-based interactions to be the core of the system. There's always a clear counter to everything, meaning at no point does the game ever randomly enter a "checkmate" situation. 


The biggest sacrifice in translating Strike Back's mechanics was having to remove the GRIT system. The impact the GRIT system has on Strike Back is fairly substantial but in the analog space of Strike Back: Tactics, it often made the game confusing to follow. Though to trade that off, more elements of the characters themselves are fleshed out in Strike Back: Tactics. Sunny, the boxer in Strike Back: Tactics functionally is designed to be played similar to how she is in Strike Back. A solid character where good fundamentals and cause constantly advantageous situations. 

Syrup Proof Gameplay - Optimizing For An Analog Medium


A big design goal of Strike Back: Tactics was to appeal to its intended audience - the DigiPen Fighting Game Club and its iconic hangout spot, our local Bellevue, WA IHOP. The goal for the game was to be a recognizable fighting game experience enjoyable to the fighting-game experienced audience but also fit the environment of IHOP. I realistically wanted the game to be played while we waited for the food to be served.

This meant a couple of things:

- The game ideally was easy to setup and play (~5 min or less).

- Had minimal game pieces/mostly static game pieces.

- The entire game can fit in a pocket.

That birthed various design choices for the game. The low numbers were to keep number tracking simple, the character cards having a built in "health slider", bright colors to not blend in with the wooden tables, etc. 


In fact, a large majority of playtesting for Strike Back: Tactics occurred at IHOP. The unique environment of a breakfast diner really emphasized a range of unique design considerations unique to that sort of space and it reflects in the game.

Bleed Bleed BLEEEED! - Physical Production

Creating physical cards is something I have not really had much experience in. Not only in standard tools but also considerations. This meant I made a bunch of mistakes in designing and developing the game's cards. Everything from mundane stuff like text size being too small all the way to forgetting that cards need to have bleed to print. 

It's something I learned a lot about during my last few weeks working on Strike Back: Tactics - but thankfully due to the print and play format the game is now intended for, a lot of the issues aren't as pronounced. 

In Closing

While Strike Back: Tactics is a simple little game made for a capstone course, it exposed me a lot to the not only difficult nature of working on tabletop games but made me appreciate a lot of the attention to detail in other analog games. The font choices, the colors, making sure the game just plays alright - it's easy to forget these are all design elements. Strike Back: Tactics serves as a fun little game that taught me a lot about the importance of the smaller things to make a really fun game - regardless of it being digital or tabletop.

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