Dustbiter is a new, upcoming tabletop card game from the Dustbiters team that actually consists of three veterans of the video game industry: Terri Vellmann, Jan Willem Nijman and Robbie Fraser. Vellmann is an illustrator and game designer, best known for titles like Heavy bullets and Disc space, and has previously also participated in another card game called. worked Pusher kings. Nijman worked on it Discount room also and also with other iconic indie games like Nuclear throne and Minit, and is the only member of the team who, ironically, rides a bike instead of a car. After all, Fraser is known for Broforce, an epic action game that is a declaration of love for classic films from the 80s and 90s.
Speaking of films, Dustbiter has its roots firmly in the themes and images of the Crazy Max Franchise, and Nijman even says twists and turns from the deck of cards can be reminiscent of stills from Mad Max: Fury Road. At long last, Dustbiter is a game with post-apocalyptic tones and lots of unique looking cars in which players must try to leave the opponent with no cards in order to win the game and escape the approaching sandstorm. Game Rant talks to the Dustbiters team about this and more, including the game’s Kickstarter campaign.
Dustbiters: A fast-paced card game with strategic depth
Dustbiter was conceived for the first time on the most appropriate occasions for its topic, and that during a road trip that Nijman and Fraser took in 2016. As game designers, they would spend the evenings playing a few games, but it quickly became their own game and the first idea they had was something like Rummikub and adapt it as a single player dungeon crawler. Dustbiter came about shortly afterwards, and it was clear from the start that it would be a tabletop game; something the team could do with just pen and paper and a break from video games.
To fix a bug, pick a Sharpie for us and add something new to the text at the top of the ugly paper card to test it out, then play again. Fixing bugs on the computer is a whole different hellhole to dive into, so it was all very inspiring. —Nijman
Vellmann was brought on board not long afterwards, largely thanks to a conversation he had with Nijman, during which the two decided that if they were to play a card game, they could do it together. Since the three of them were all busy with their own work at this point, they continued to work by mutual agreement Dustbiter whenever they could do this without worrying about deadlines, and that stress-free mindset carried over into the game as well. As a matter of fact, Dustbiter is an extremely fast paced tabletop game, with an average session of fifteen minutes, with a lot of potential for replayability.
It’s not a game that requires you to set things up, read the whole rulebook, and give a lecture on how to play the game. After that, it’s just really fun, really fast [experience]. Things are turning all the time. —Vellmann
Dustbiter has a very short and straightforward set of rules, unlike many other tabletop games that require players to learn the basics over an hour or two, and that’s a deliberate design choice. What the team wanted to achieve was a fast paced game that could be learned and explained in minutes so that it could be played in a jiffy without investing too much in the skills of each card as they can also be quite simple.
The game still has a lot of strategic depth, with cars like the Mind Manipulator allowing players to use the abilities of any enemy car on the field. At the end of each round, the car that is furthest behind in the convo will eventually be destroyed by the sandstorm, which means that players have to decide which trains to take and whether to pull up one of their cars or have it destroyed. Total, Dustbiter is a fun game designed as an easier alternative to other tabletop games, and it’s all about cars, so no cubes or tiles.
Dustbiter is expected to be released for Kickstarter backers in November 2021.
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