By Mark . April 12, 2014 . 5:00pm
I’m sure many of you remember having Pokemon cards as a kid. But, I bet not many of you actually played the game. The REAL game. I know I didn’t. I didn’t even know how. Instead, it was much more fun to just look at the pictures, trade with friends, and brag about having a rare card or two. And that’s what The Dreamland Chronicles Digital Trading Card Game is all about.
The Dreamland Chronicles is a webcomic and comic book series by artist and writer Scott Christian Sava. The fantasy series features a whole slew of lovable characters, from the brash Alex to Nicodemus the dragon. However, The Dreamland Chronicles world is about to branch out into a new form—a digital trading card game. Scott Hyman, founder and CEO of Protobird Games, is working with Scott Sava to turn his world into game that caters to kids.
Recently, I sat down with Scott Hyman to talk about the game and his plans for it. The biggest selling point of The Dreamland Chronicles card game is that it is meant for kids. Sure, there are other card games out there on the App Store or consoles that kids can play, but they just don’t cut it. Why? Because they don’t focus on what’s important to kids—looking at the pictures and trading with their friends.
Scott noticed this when he saw how his young son and his neighborhood friends interact with their Pokemon cards. “They argue about characters and how they matter,” said Scott. “My son will sit and stare at the pictures on the cards… One still image meant something to the kids in the neighborhood.”
After noticing that, Scott tried to find a digital game that would enrapture his son the same way the physical cards did. This proved harder than he thought. “There’s nothing out there… no trading card games,” Scott said, “The games aren’t about collecting.” Instead, other card games are more about the battling, or some just provide a digital mat. And that’s something that just isn’t interesting to kids.
Thus, the project to make The Dreamland Chronicles Digital Trading Card Game was born. Instead of focusing solely on gameplay, the card game puts its emphasis on the artwork and the thrill of swapping cards with buddies. And, indeed, the artwork for the game is incredible. Scott’s goal is to give each individual card equiset CG animation. Taking ideas from games like Talking Tom, he strives to have the characters be interactive in a fun and friendly way.
The characters will be able to leap out of their 2D cards and turn into a 3D, moving model. And, just like Talking Tom, kids will be able to swipe or poke or move the models and have it say funny things that go with their personalities. It turns the cards into something much more than just an image, it makes them real. And that’s what kids (and adults… everyone really) want.
And when it comes to the other things kids like, trading the cards, well… Scott has that covered, too. There are two ways of getting new or different cards. The first way is by trading them. Players can put which cards they want or which cards they have in a list that is viewable by their friends. Then, their friends can initiate trades based on that information. That way players can go into a trade with a general idea of what the other person wants and has and can base their offers around that.
The cool thing about the trading is that it is dynamic. If someone receives a trade request that isn’t exactly what he or she is looking for, then that person can propose a counter-trade. This makes the whole system more versatile and fun—it makes it more like the Pokemon card trading that we all used to indulge in out on the playground.
The second way that players can receive cards is, of course, by buying them. Cards will come in reasonably priced packs that each contain somewhere between 8 – 10 at a time. The goal is to also develop a system that would make it easy for parents to reward their children with a pack or two for doing a chore around the house or for their allowance. However, it would be done in a way that wouldn’t drive the parents crazy. Kids will be able to send a request to their parents for a pack of cards. If their parents say yes, the money will be taken from their iTunes account and the kid will get the pack. However, if the parent says no, then the kid won’t be able to virtually bug his or her parents for cards—the request system will shut down after around three requests a week. Perfect for both the parent and the kid.
For those people who do actually want to play the game, don’t worry, it’s really fun. Scott developed a non-digital version of The Dreamland Chronicles card game to check out the gameplay. He had his friend, a winner of several Magic card tournaments, play with some of his Magic buddies. They all loved it. Scott also got all the neighborhood kids together and they all loved it, too. The gameplay is somewhat similar to Magic or Hearthstone, and it is easy enough for a kid to pick up and start playing right away. At the same time, it is fun and entertaining enough for someone like me to pick it up and play it for hours. Basically, it’s a good time.
At the end of the interview, I asked Scott about how he will keep kids who play it protected. Internet safety is a huge concern nowadays, and for good reason. Predators and cyber bullies have gotten parents scared to let their children go on the net, but there are plans to deal with that. For starters, parents must approve who goes on their child’s friend list. Whenever a friend request comes in or if a child wants to send a friend request, he or she must get a parent to put in a parental password. This ensures that children won’t accidently become friends with some Internet creep.
And when it comes to bullying, there’s an answer for that, too. If a trade is initiated that is extremely unfair to one party, a moderator steps in and cancels the trade. If Jimmy the bully down the street is trying to force Tommy to give him a great card for a less than adequate one, then the trade is immediately shot down. Scott hinted that the moderator would then alert the parents of Jimmy, just to make sure that he won’t be bullying again or to at least make sure he knows why the trade can’t happen. It’s a great idea, and I think it will effectively deal with eliminating peer pressure from the trading system of The Dreamland Chronicles.
Currently, The Dreamland Chronicles is in need of funding on Kickstarter. While it is well on it’s goal to turning the game into a reality, it can’t hurt to just take a look at it here. Oh, and make sure to check out Scott Sava’s book series here!
The Dreamland Chronicles Digital Trading Card Game will be available for tablets, PC, and maybe consoles.