A Virus Named Tom developer Tim Keenan stepped out of his comfort zone during PAX East – literally – to set up shop in the tabletop gaming summit, with two paper prototypes of ideas for his next big project. At the end of a long row, in the heart of tabletop territory, Keenan demonstrated the mechanics behind Scavenger, a top-down, rolling tower defense game set in space, and Chess the Gathering, which played exactly how it sounds and definitely won't have that name if it enters official development.
Chess the Gathering featured an iPad showing off the game's digital prototype, including a level editor. The gameplay is a spatial representation of Magic the Gathering, on a chessboard and with a myriad of creatures and "twins." For a rundown of Chess the Gathering, check out Keenan's YouTube playlist, and sign up to get an early (digital) prototype here.
Keenan convinced a pair of Magic fans to play Chess the Gathering, and as we talked, they remained riveted on the rudimentary gameboard, cards and characters. When they finished, they concluded that they loved it. "If this were a board game, I would buy it," one of them said.
Scavenger tells the story of a Han Solo-esque character as he travels the galaxies looting spaceships, attempting to pay off his debt to vicious collectors. It's a top-down, tower defense game where the protagonist sits in his spacecraft and sends out drones to infiltrate the victim ships. The player defends his own ship from enemies, while directing drones throughout the other ships, in search of money. See the Scavenger playlist here.
Keenan has a third game in the works, an action title that he said wouldn't work well as a paper prototype. He and his wife, Holly, plan to ask the community which project sounds best, and then launch a Kickstarter to develop that game under their studio, Misfits Attic. Currently, the Misfits are working on the Vita port of A Virus Named Tom.
Check out the paper prototypes for Scavenger and Chess the Gathering in the gallery below.