of the Jinn
As a long-time computer gamer I have seen many different concepts and
game mechanics go by. The best of the oldest games broke the ground on
game mechanics utilized today.
One such classic game is Archon. Those who played Archon
back on their Commodore 64 or
Apple ][ will recall its simplistic, cunning design, and the afternoons
and weekends lost to its particular mix of strategy and frenetic combat.
One day, a group of us were sitting around shooting design concepts into
the air when the question "Why hasn't anyone had created a modern
version of Archon?" was asked. I had a brainstorm and later
that day began to put together a concept binding some of the best mechanics
of Archon and Minotaur into a fast-paced action/strategy
game unlike anything I'd ever seen before.
The result was a design for The Summoning of the Jinn, a short
concept document for which can be found later on this page.
As for that modern version of Archon? Just let me say that many
of the old-school gamers are still waiting....
Summoning of the Jinn: Game Design Concept
The Summoning Of The Jinn
is a game in which up to eight players assume the roles of wizards
who summon powerful Arabian Jinn to retrieve magical artifacts.
Play consists of two discrete rounds, the first being a Barter Round
in which the various Jinni are traded and have their powers expanded,
and the second being a Combat Round in which players combat one
another using the Jinni they have purchased. These rounds are repeated
with players continuing to improve and exchange Jinn until the game
The Summoning Of The Jinn
is a fast-paced network game combining the action elements of Archon,
Minotaur and Magic Carpet with barter-driven resource
management system into a unique game experience.
The appeal of the game is intended to be broad,
as a balance is struck in play between character interaction and
frenetic combat. Players who are strong in strategic planning and
manipulation via trading with their opponents will be on an equal
par with those who strength lies in their hand-eye coordination.
The graphic style of The Summoning Of The Jinn
is meant to be a highly-detailed, but somewhat cute play on an Arabian
Nights theme. In the same fashion that Warcraft 2 made Orcs
and Ogres lovable, The Summoning Of The Jinn should provide
humorous characterizations of all characters and effects in the
Play in the Combat Round takes place in a highly fluid
environment of shifting elements and objects. To satisfy this game need
as well as the gamers' desire for flashy pyrotechnics and high-resolution
detail, the Combat Round should either take place in a top-down, rotating,
free scrolling arena, or in a voxel (or polygon) space environment such
as that found in Comanche or Magic Carpet.
The game begins with the players choosing what type of
Wizard they wish to be. Every Wizard has a specialty over some element,
be that Fire, Earth, Water, Chaos, or others, and these specialties affect
the nature of the spells that the Wizards may use and cast. Each game
is made up of several rounds, consisting of a series of Barter Rounds
followed by Combat Rounds, and finishing with a special End Game Round.
The ultimate purpose of each game round except the last is to recover
a mysterious Perilous Artifact of Power.
The Barter Round
In the Barter Round the players attempt to bid in auction-style
for a particular Jinni that appears on the screen. Each Jinni has an area
of specialty, much like the player's Wizard, and a Wizard whose specialty
is the same as the Jinni they acquire will greatly enhance the natural
powers of that Jinni. Wizards bid using Coin, the highest bidder gains
control of a given Jinni for the subsequent combat round. Players may
exchange messages, Coin, Mana, Objects, and even Artifacts in efforts
to foil the bids of other players.
After the bidding is complete, players may choose to
imbue their Jinni with any of their own spells and to give their Jinni
any Magic Objects or Artifacts they possess before beginning the Combat
Round. Players may also increase the spells their Wizard knows by using
Mana collected by the Jinni they controlled in the previous Combat Round,
and give those new spells in turn to their Jinni.
The Combat Round
During the Combat Round the players enter into a large
arena that is based on one of the primary game elements (Fire, Water,
etc.). Jinn may find their natural abilities enhanced or hindered by the
elements over which they travel. Play in this arena is frantic and action-based,
with the players casting spells to thwart one another while simultaneously
trying to recover Mana Stones, Magic Objects, and the Perilous Artifact
of Power for themselves. The first player to recover the Artifact and
return to their starting point is declared the winner of the Round.
Jinni have a variety of spells and abilities to use that
are both strategic and dangerous to other players, as well as some which
are simply amusing. Many of these spells affect the landscape, raising
hills, carving valleys, and changing the elements on which combat and
movement occurs. They serve to conceal, frustrate, and to create strategic
traps, as well as the more directed needs of combat. Should a Jinni be
"killed" all objects that Jinni are carrying are dropped, and the player
is returned, fully healed, to the place they entered the Combat Round
in order to continue play.
After combat is complete, play returns to the Barter
Round, where each Wizard receives the Mana Stones, Artifacts and Magic
Objects their Jinn was carrying when the round was finished. Players then
increase their Wizard's Mana with the Stones, buy new spells, and may
sell Magic Objects to increase their Coin. The Jinn retain the powers
that each have been given by their masters - powers which may well serve
a new master in the round ahead.
The End Game
Once a predetermined number of Barter and Combat Rounds
have elapsed, play moves to the End Game Round. This round consists of
a preliminary Barter Round as normal, in which players acquire a Jinni
of choice. They then move into a Combat Round in which there are no Mana
Stones or Artifacts to recover, rather, the point is to destroy the Wizard's
Tower of each of the other players. The last Wizard remaining with a Tower
is the final winner of the game.