Ludum Dare 29 — April 25th-28th Weekend — Theme: Beneath the Surface

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Cap'n Dragon

by john_conder9 - Jam Entry

How to play:

At the start of each round, players regenerate troops based on the number of bases they control.

If you attack an enemy camp/capital the game will attempt to take 5 units out of your capital to do battle - if you win the fight, any remaining units will be stationed, up to 3, at the camp you have won.

You win by killing the capital of all other players.

You lose if your capital is killed.

You cannot attack enemy capitals while they own other bases.


This game is buggy and missing some really important stuff that we ran out of time to finish: it was designed with a skill system and tech-tree in mind. Those systems are in total, probably 4-6 hours off from completion (sadface). Unfortunately, this means combat has no interaction from the player (attacks are decided by dice roll with defenders having the advantage.)

Thus, the sole gameplay comes from strategizing which camps to attack, what order, etc. It's probably way too random and with too little balance at the moment to really have any substantial strategy, so if you play it just have a bit of fun. At any time during the gameplay you can hit BACKSPACE to be taken to the credits screen.


This is the product of another Eastern Kentucky University ACM-LD game jam group! Authors are:

John Conder, Andrew Buchanan, and Arrow Brown.

(A web port is in the works, no idea when/if it will be finished.)

Downloads and Links




BruceDoh says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 6:46am

Nothing happens when I try to run the executable on my Windows 8.1 machine

Armanky says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:22am

You tried very hard on this game and it's almost fun! Your use of the theme is perfect because dragons live in caves which are "beneath the surface" I get it very nice.

At least the mythical creatures look cool!

manabreak says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:43am

I have XNA installed, but the game crashes right when I try to start it...

john_conder9 says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:51am

Could you give any more information? It is a XNA 4, reach profile, game, and it's worked on every test machine we've tried so far (~4-5). Hard to figure out why it would crash without any more detail - maybe you could give the crash error message? Is there one? :X I'm at a loss right now haha.

KirbiKaka says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:01am

I think with just a bit more time and polish you guys would have an awesome game! I love the unicorn and narwhal :b One thing that really struck me though, was that when you attack a campfire, the fight is over before you can even realize what's happening, which really confused me at the start of the game (because I didn't read your game's description and just started playing)

Wakka says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:18am

Same as BruceDoh, nothing happens when running the exe

tomhunt says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:32am

Doesn't run on my Windows 8.1 machine. You might want to try your luck with MonoGame. MS has pretty much disowned XNA.

stephan_h says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:55am

I am not sure what I was playing here, but it had unicorns and was fun. :)
The battle scenes were too fast, I think.

john_conder9 says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 8:36pm

Okay, I've ported it to MonoGame - so I believe that will run on Windows 8.1 machines. Hopefully someone will let me know :D

Empyrealhell says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 3:03am

It was pretty boring, to be honest. There wasn't much to do. However, you can click on a node while the enemies are attacking and make them fight eachother. However, if after changing their target you click cancel, it crashes the game.

Fritzendugan says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 4:34am

First off let me just get this out of my system: ohhhh myyyy gawdddddddddd is this tedious. I wanted so badly to beat your game, but after several hundred rounds I managed to eliminate one player and I just can't bring myself to sit and watch any more coinflips until I finally win. From what I can tell the computer's actions are totally random, so maybe my (what I think is) better than random strategy would eventually prevail, but it would take forever. Let me attack with more units or attack until my keep runs out or fortify my position or SOMETHING!

Ok, phew, sorry, after spending close to an hour trying to beat it I had to get that out. Now onto some (hopefully) constructive comments.

The music and sound were both very well done and probably the only thing that kept me sane during my attempts to win (see above). The theme especially captured the essence of some medieval fantasy war and the battle drums made those stick-figure battles that much more exciting.

The graphics were clearly "programmer art" so that's fine. As far as it goes, they were actually pretty good. Some people actually like that aesthetic, and I didn't it mind it myself. I found myself cracking up at first to the thought of Dragons, Unicorns, and Narwhals all fighting each other. How silly :D

Now onto the mechanics. I understand time constraints always separate original vision from realization, so these aren't so much criticisms as where you might take the game from here. Firstly, I'd like to see fortifications at the end of the round. My camps would occasionally be stuck with only one guy whilst I had the maximum of 15 in my main base. Let me spread them around! Also, I don't think it makes much sense that any base can attack any other base. A simple radius check would've been heaps better, and something like roads/paths to different territories even better.

A simple "rock/paper/scissors" kind of unit-type choices would've been cool. Archers are effective against spearmen, spearmen are better against knights, and knights beat archers, and so on. Maybe each gets a +1 dice roll against the other or something. Let you diversify your army and defenses a little. Or, if that's not the route you want to go, let players expend some of their extra units sitting in the base to build walls on bases (+1 to dice rolls) or burn the hypothetical roads I mentioned above (units can't attack through that path for a few turns). Stuff like that, more tactical choices which affect the game map.

I wouldn't mess with the mechanic of the "AI" (or dice rolls) affecting the actual outcome of the combat. You make all your choices before hand (fortifications, where to attack, what units to use, etc.) and from there, it's all up to the dice. Has that real Risk board game feel to it in a good way. Of course, anything you can do to minimize randomness and make it more about player choices ultimately will be an improvement on that popular board game, in my opinion.

All in all, the game definitely has potential to be pretty darn fun. I mean, considering I spent nearly an hour playing it as it is, and there's really not that much yet, it can only get better from here. I'll keep checking back for updates, so if you do a post-jam version or something be sure to mention it here.

john_conder9 says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 8:30pm

Wow that is quite the analysis Fritzendugan! Thank you for taking the time to write it out, it's much appreciated!

The game desperately needs the ability to garrison troops into bases, and it would certainly benefit from limited attack ranges and etc. I really like the idea rock/paper/scissors units and would like to toy around with it in practice - one of the team members wanted to do a unit tech tree but alas none of our tech tree stuff was implemented. Building up the bases with things such as walls and spending units as a resource is a brilliant idea, one that I think could be expanded on and used to great effect - so I'll have to keep that in mind.

We do however have an entire unimplemented system that we were looking at where each faction gets a unique buff ability and "active" ability in fights - dragons would get a fireball that would deal x amount of damage to the current enemy unit, and a fire shield that would cause attacks made to an ally unit to reflect damage. We weren't entirely sure how we were going to make it all play out in sane ways, but that's something we'd like to see implemented as well.

Anyway, I don't know when the post-jam version will come out, but probably not for at least another couple weeks. Thanks for the great analysis, it is very helpful!

td1801 says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 3:59pm

Same as Wakka.. It's too bad, I wanted to play it ! I have Windows 7.

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