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A member registered Oct 20, 2014 · View creator page →

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Hey! Queens are promoted from Pawns in very specific situations which you trigger through gameplay, and keep their upgrades. It’s explained in the Pawn’s description. You can sometimes trigger two conditions at once (starting the turn in the top row with a hand of 3 Pawns).

FWIW I played a little and everything seemed to work as expected, but didn’t spend a lot of time with it because the text is so tiny and light. Very straining on 27 inch QHD.

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Makes my GPU boil and scream like a banshee because of uncapped FPS/no VSYNC.

I tried going through a gate, it consumed a key but nothing else happened, game logic partially locked up. I couldn’t move the knight and the blocks didn’t fall on their own, but I could still move and drop the blocks manually.

It’s possible to do some weird thing in the menu where two selections are highlighted at once. I did it by accident by using a mouse and then a controller and was pretty confused why I just exited the game. The easiest way I found to reproduce it is to press something, drag the pointer out of the game window, and use up/down on a keyboard or a controller.

Overall this seems super polished and a lot more approachable than last DD, looking forward to playing it more and getting into the mechanics when you fix the GPU thing.

Well, setting up a mirror so it gets pushed and eventually burns a bug nest is probably the most satisfying thing in the game, so I dunno about removing it entirely. It’s just that you end up fighting against the mechanic more often than not.

Really neat emergent puzzling.

The hexes work really well.

Executing plans can be very fiddly and frustratingly timing-dependent. Maybe let the player lock a mirror so it doesn’t get pushed around by lasers and bugs? Perhaps even just one at a time. It’d help cut down on the tedium a lot, I think.

Laser sfx gets really grating after a minute or two.

The UI is straight up maddening to use. The tiered actions have hotkeys all over the keyboard, the tower selection doesn’t have a hotkey at all and you have to use the mouse for it, and the tower display hiding life/gold gets in the way. All the while the game pressures you to do stuff fast. It’s kind of impressive how obtuse this is with so few elements.

I did manage to get through a few levels, and had a glimpse at some of the puzzlier routing stuff which seemed potentially neat, but it was simply too frustrating.

Thanks! If you’re looking for snappy gameplay, try using the keyboard (1/2/3 to select cards, E to end turn) and only use the mouse to select exact destinations. It’s obviously different and occupies both hands, but after a little getting used to, you should be able to move much faster than you ever could with the old system.

Hi! The old nav controls aren’t really viable anymore now that you can stop on any square in range.

Ground texture at the very beginning is broken and flickers distractingly.

The game causes a low static hum from my speakers.

The conversation text is awkwardly chopped up, maybe split it up so a single bubble contains a logical segment of a sentence.

There’s an awkward delay when the convo ends, same with possible responses popping up when you talk to a villager - wanted to speed up the convo and it caused me to accidentally choose something. It was the first time the response mechanic was shown, there aren’t any in the tutorial, so it caught me off guard.

Went looking for secrets under waterfalls, got stuck instead.

Weirded out by being able to jump out of the inn into the river with lowered walls, which I suppose should only be a visual thing.

Consider LB/RB for toggling between autotargets both ways, and put roll on something else. Also, the facing direction being taken into account for autotarget is clunky as you can only face left or right, when up would often feel natural. Consider just using a radius.

Overall though, very cute and comfy. Fantastic UI work. This looks very GMI. Looking forward to spending more time with it when it’s more polished.

Played for around 15 minutes.

Reminds me of Ord quite a bit

Strongly feel it should be more streamlined, I get that grindy gameplay is the whole point but half the steps in navigation feel unnecessary. Every single time, exploration requires confirming that you’re in an area, waiting until it ticks down, choosing explore, confirming that you’re exploring, waiting until it ticks down, and only then actually exploring with timing being relevant. You can make it last just as long but feel better if you cut down on the superfluous stuff but expand the last part.

Didn’t play enough to have a good idea of what you’re going for thematically. The naming estabilished a mysterious, slightly eldritch vibe, but the characters were bland. “5x bar for recipe” or whatever the Queen said felt like something you’d see spammed in MMO chat.

Cheers. The deck is standard deckbuilder fare but it’s clearly dumb to assume everyone knows what standard deckbuilder fare is. I’ll work on that.

The decklist shows the contents but not the order, you draw a random card from the remaining ones so you can calculate likely/guaranteed moves as it gets thinner. When you’d draw from an empty deck, the discard gets shuffled and reused.

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​It’s not strictly a new release, but recently got to a stage where I’m excited to start showing it off to more people :)

Play Pawnbarian​ (browser embed)

Rock Paper Shotgun: Have you played… Pawnbarian?

Pawnbarian is a quick-playing rogue-like puzzler. You use a deck of chess moves to jump around a tiny chessboard dungeon, crushing enemies and dodging their attacks.

It’s still an alpha/demo but decently polished, just lacking in content. It was originally a game jam game (for 7 Day Rogue-Like 2019) which I’ve since fleshed out pretty significantly. The feedback has been great so far, and I hope you’ll have fun with it!


It's both, it ended up in the original version by complete accident but I decided to leave it in as an easter egg, with all of its buggy jankiness in place. You can actually keep beating that stage forever!

Thanks! That's bizarre, everything seems to work fine on my side, and I didn't really change anything compared to the old version, other than the button placement. It's a very straightforward piece of code. I appreciate the report, I'll keep an eye on any more reports.

Thanks. This is working as intended, Cantrip is already extremely powerful as it is. I'll reword it so it says that it repays the move, rather than makes it free.

Thanks as usual!

Moving a splash piece onto an adjacent square currently does not kill cornered/against-the-wall goblins, even though they cannot "run away".  (Ex. moving to B1 with horizontal/vertical splash when goblin is A1)

I'll keep an eye out, but I couldn't reproduce this in many different scenarios. The interaction between Splash and Nimble seems to consistently work as expected, and I can't think of any possible timing issues/race conditions either. If you notice this again, writing down the exact board setup would be super helpful.

Blightsack tooltip says that it leaves blight on all adjacent squares upon death, but only leaves it in diagonal squares.
I couldn't reproduce this either. Blightsack's normal horizontal+vertical attack gets instantly replaced by the Blight, so there's no change in the amount of attacks there, only the corners grow by one. Maybe that's why you thought that? I'll work on communicating the Blight with a separate graphic.
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Played for around an hour in various combinations of Human/Elf and Fighter/Assassin. Dragon's Lair was impossible for me, and Goblin Hive was trivial.

Overall, sadly I gotta say I didn't have a lot of fun. It feels like Dominion with slightly smaller numbers, and 1 less of this and 2 less of that on multiple cards is enough to really slooooooow down the engine building. I strongly feel that you need some punchier effects. No 4 cost card for the Fighter is a pain point.

UI is clear and straightforward.

I feel like the effects are terse enough that you could just show the entire cards, having to hover over everything until you learn the effects was a bit fiddly. Not a big deal though.

Just a small cosmetic thing but the stats label covers cards from the top row of the shop.

It's weird that you have to end your current phase when pressing the restart button, I thought it does nothing at first.

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Thank you so much for your exhaustive feedback, and the kind words! It really is an insanely fuzzy feeling to have a dedicated player of my little game.

I'm sorry the design changes in this new version didn't meet your expectations. I'd like to talk about them a little. Hopefully this doesn't come off across as "well this is actually GOOD for you", because you enjoy what you enjoy. I just want to explain my thought process.

The move from 4 to 3 cards is a consequence of the Cantrip upgrade, which often ends up letting you play 4 or 5 cards in a turn. In fact, this version is balanced so that you can go infinite in the bossfight if you finish the levels optimally and only buy Cantrip upgrades.

Now, the harder sell - you rightly noticed that I punish players for being methodical. It was very much a conscious decision to encourage "speedrunning" with the loot track and enemy design. Just as a player of other games, I find it boring to be slow and methodical, and when that's the optimal way to play, I feel like I'm cheating myself out of having fun. I believe this is a widespread sentiment, and it was probably the most common complaint about the Classic version. As a designer, the introduction of these new elements is my way of protecting players from themselves.

I really appreciate you willing to give this new version a chance despite not liking the direction it's taking. It'll be a while yet, but going forward, I want to design some new "characters" with different decks and inherent mechanics that mix up the gameplay. It might be very interesting to introduce a character balanced around, e.g., freezing the loot track and not having to care about turn count, and actively encouraging methodical play.

Thanks again!

Pawnbarian community · Created a new topic General feedback


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Thank you for the insightful criticism! I definitely agree the game is too frantic and was mostly an experience in getting simple feel & juice right, so I'm glad that part worked out at least.

The latter, it was very hard to put the platform exactly where I wanted it to block a horizontal beam. It might also be the right call to have a brief slowdown / warmup for the character's momentum, rather than instant freeze and unfreeze, it'll make it a lot less twitchy.

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Clever concept but very finicky controls. Will definitely check it out if you expand on it post-jam.

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Nice, sleek & straightforward, though I'll admit it didn't engage me enough to finish all the levels. I wish there were more of the tiles with interlocking diagonals or spaces like the "arrow", instead of just plain old polyominoes. The unusual shapes were a lot more interesting to put down.

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What a stellar idea! This is super fun, the UI is all sorts of janky but I'd love to see this developed further.

I dig the concept, but really wish it was more of a puzzle than precision platformer.

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Great design! Managed to beat it and enjoyed myself very much. The quips were a nice touch as well.

In many cases I could ignore any sort of clever sequence and just line up stuff to be captured by the king one by one, by moving some piece back and forth, essentially "pausing" that color. But there were definitely a bunch of really satisfying moments.

Very cute and polished, but gotta say a standard flight game is a pretty boring way to make use of the theme.

Genuinely love the grim comedy of a swordsman splitting random animals in half in an otherwise idyllic world set to super chill music. Only thing it's missing is abundant blood spray from the halves.

Have to echo what Allifeur said, I wish I didn't have to redo everything after missing a slice!

Ah, sorry about that! Thanks for giving it a go anyway.

Neat concept!

I seemingly couldn't perform the designed move sometimes and had to reset and remake. Between that and the unfortunate rotation of the arrows by 45 deg relative to the board, it was slightly frustrating.

I clipped into the floor after a high fall, and could travel inside of it, but not get out in any way. Eventually managed to die and respawned at some checkpoint that I didn't recognize.

Sure! Here goes: rather than having queens in the regular card rewards, there will be a way to temporarily promote pawns when in the last row, as a core mechanic. This will make pawns more desirable to draw, and add another layer of strategy to positioning.

You can rest assured that I spend most of my time thinking about mechanics to explore in the game, and have considered all of this at one point or another. :)

Thank you! I hope to release a public alpha version for the full game in early May, and will be glad to hear any feedback then.

Hey, sorry about the confusion. The game page embed is the most recent version. The downloads are just local html pages that launch in the browser anyway, and because of how is set up, I can't enable downloading for the embedded version. You can download it through itch's desktop client.

Hey! I'm the developer of Pawnbarian, and absolutely elated with the response it's received. It's my first real game I ever released into the world.

Two weeks ago I considered myself an occasional gamedev hobbyist. I was looking into getting a "boring" IT job when I finish college towards the end of this year. Now, I'm stoked to give this indie game development thing a try first! I really want to put in a few months of solid work into releasing something people would consider paying for, even if it ends up being little more than a brief sabbatical.

It's not that I scoff at the idea of exclusive, high-profile physical spaces that are all about game development, such as GDC. However, I do think that gamedev is so alluring precisely because you don't have to participate in any of that. As long as you're fortunate enough to have some free time and access to internet and a computer, you can learn and perform this craft in whatever intimate space you wish, on a near-zero budget, yet still have people experience it all over the world within minutes of clicking a button. That's exciting, and something I would love to be a part of for the long haul!

Wonderful, impressively clean design!

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

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.