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    Escape Master – Card Game Designed From Literal Dreams

    Zac Taw of Zily Creative Works dove head first into game design after the tragic passing of his mother and a vivid dream of a game system which shortly followed. 

    Despite the aggressive and painful cancer which claimed his mother’s life, she left a legacy of hope and outspoken faith in Jesus Christ. This led Zac, as well as those around her, to question their pursuits in life. 

    One of the last things she ever wrote and shared publicly was a discussion on persistent pain:

    “Not only is Christ in it, He is with you in it. His presence makes all the difference. Thank you for journeying with me and for your many prayers. Hold on to Jesus this week. God is good and faithful.”

    Her passing encouraged Zac to reevaluate how he was spending his time:

    “Life is too short to take a long path that leads to nowhere you want to go.”

    It was at this time that Zac reports having a vivid dream of a card game which led to the development of Escape Master:

    “I was playing a speed card game I had never played before. I took the mechanic from my dream and playtested it over and over again with my wife. We greatly adapted it until it became Escape Master.”

    What Is Escape Master?

    Escape Master is a suspenseful speed card game of simultaneous turns where 2-4 players take on the role of Escape Leaders guiding captives of the Doom Master to freedom across a series of treacherous Isles to a secret portal of escape.

    Escape Master is a party game, designed to be easy to pick up and play, yet also emphasize an unfolding narrative. 

    Players can choose the duration of games by altering a point threshold and can even have the option to play in teams.

    Gameplay

    Six unique character abilities are included in the base game with an additional twelve included in the expansion. The backstory and character abilities are enhanced by story cards throughout the game, which provide a boost to players lagging behind. 

    The entire game is designed around the concept of players taking quick actions, desperately seeking to escape by moving from point A to B. All at once, players must seek to stack all the cards in their hands in ascending or descending order. Special cards, character abilities, and story cards all add a twist to this simple core mechanic that introduces a narrative to the game. 

    Cards left in a player’s hand count as blunders against them and assist the Doom Master in uncovering and destroying the secret portal of escape. The player who sets the most captives free and commits the fewest blunders before the Doom Master closes the portal wins the game. This provides an interesting tension of seeking to finish the game quickly while one has the lead.

    Influences

    Escape Master combines classic speed game mechanics with a compelling story and unique character abilities that seek to reach those who like party games and enjoy fantasy role-playing. 

    The art style was influenced by Avatar: The Last Air Bender and created in collaboration with AI to capture a sense of adventure.

    Zac describes the subtleties of the game’s story as presenting a parable for the gospel:

    “If you look closely at the story, you might start to see glimpses of the gospel narrative and our grand escape from sin, death, and Satan by the power of our true Escape Master, Jesus Christ, but it is not meant to be obvious or explicit.”

    A game, that should someone choose, could be used for evangelism.

    Learn More

    Escape Master is the first game by Zac Taw of Zily Creative Works that will be published, but by God’s grace, will not be the last:

    “We don’t know where it will take us, but we are fighting to hold on to Jesus week by week. Our mission at Zily Creative Works is to glorify God by using Wisdom to create, inspire, give, and connect.”

    To stay on top of game updates, make sure to subscribe to the Escape Master newsletter here.

    If reading this has inspired you to create a game for the glory of God then you should check out the following resources:

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    The Crater Good
    The Crater Good(@the-crater-good)
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    23 days ago

    I’ll definitely have to check this out!

    Zo
    Zo(@zo)
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    Reply to  The Crater Good
    19 days ago

    🙌

    TheoNerds
    TheoNerds
    With a desire to find a space for all things God, Geeks and Gamers built on a decent theological foundation, a group of theology nerds created TheoNerds.
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