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A jam submission

Pawnbarian ClassicView game page

Build a deck of chess moves and beat up some goblins. 7DRL prototype
Submitted by j4nw (@_j4nw) — 1 day, 18 hours before the deadline
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CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score

Ranked from 3 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

Judge feedback

Judge feedback is anonymous and shown in a random order.

  • Pawnbarian is a great example of choosing the exact right amount of game to make for a 7drl. The author chose a single mechanic, presented it with a streamlined progression of simple levels, and then added a lot of very effective polish. The combination of the graphics and color palette, along with the nice, subtle movements of cards and icons makes this feel very finished. And the scale of the visuals, as big, chunky cards and icons really stands out from the typical density of roguelike entries – and make this feel like it would be at home on a phone or tablet. In addition, I find the interface of playing the cards, with the overlaid direction wheels to be surprising and surprisingly effective.

    The author has chosen what I feel is a pretty permissive or forgiving version of the mechanic to implement. That is, players are not forced to use the cards they draw, players are given a generous 4 card hand, players are not punished if they run through their deck. I think this makes it wonderfully accessible as a proof of concept for the central mechanic, though, my personal inclination might have been to add at least one harsher element, to make the progression through the levels a little trickier.

    There are some quality of life changes I could see making for clarity. Knowing which attack squares are coming from which enemies would help, particularly when facing off against the boss. Also, I wonder what an interface would look like where you drag a card from your hand and onto the square you are moving to…I did once or twice mis-move when using a Knight card. And to pick at something rather inconsequential, I found the “ninja” enemy to be a bit incongruous with the other enemy types.

    A great project, a fun time to play through, and a nice example of what can be accomplished in 7 days.

  • Love this.  There's some amount of busywork involved, just burning illegal pawn moves until the cards are right to do a safe attack, but that's just a matter of balance.

  • Nice looking puzzle game.

Successful or Incomplete?


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Great concept and aesthetics, just needs some balancing


I have just seen a video of this nice game in the channel of CubicDisco.

(1 edit) (+1)

cool concept well developed, great work!

found no bugs and this a plus !


Pretty damn good. Would like to see  more of this.


Fun little puzzle! Not sure how easy it would be to expand, but perfect for its scope.


Beautiful! I can't wait for a proper release!


Had a lot of fun playing the game.  And I agree that the exploding squids feel a bit too punishing in early game. Hope you'll expand on the idea because I think this could be taken a lot further.


Interesting concept. Fun to play.  It's a bit too easy since you got infinite turns.




Please note the embedded game has been updated since 7DRL. You can find the original v0.0.1 release in downloads


pretty good my only complaint is that moving the knight is kinda weird

Jam JudgeSubmitted(+1)

This is a great execution of a clear idea! I had a lot of fun playing it. Also, three thoughts while playing:

1) it would be a huge quality of life help if you could tell which "damage squares" were being generated by which enemies (maybe hovering, maybe color coding).

2) balance-wise, I think the exploding squid/clouds should be introduced later in the game. Each squid thing takes a whole turn to kill safely, and that's only if you're in the right position--meaning that having lots of them early can really stretch out how many turns the player is passing, just waiting for safe cards.

3) also, it felt non-intuitive to me that killing the last enemy on a level doesn't instantly end the round...leading me to a "feels bad" defeat at the hands of one of said exploding squid.

Also, small provocation -- there seems to be no reason to limit this mechanic to a tiny grid! I would totally use this "hand of chess pieces" mechanic to move around a big dungeon.


Thanks! All of this is very valid criticism and stuff that's up there on my todo list :)

Re using the system to jump around a larger space, this is something I already pondered and it's definitely something to explore. For now I'm comfortable within this constricted 5x5 space both scope- and mechanics-wise, and feel like there's a lot of design juice to be squeezed out of it, and the restriction is more helpful than harmful. Surely an idea to revisit in the future, though.

Jam JudgeSubmitted

Indeed. It seems like you really sliced off the perfect amount of scope for this challenge. :) And it sounds like you're super pumped to continue the development, which is super cool. Thanks for the response!