Pyxis is a co-operative puzzle game for 2-4 players. Players work together to place patterns of coloured tiles, aiming to completely fill the board. The game is simple to begin with, but increases in difficulty as the board fills up, giving a formible challenge even after multiple plays.
Following the lead of the video games industry, Pyxis takes addictive puzzle games as a base and provides a deeper experience by introducing roleplaying aspects, like in the popular apps Puzzle and Dragons and Letter Quest. Players obtain skills as the game progresses, building up to a tense finale as players attempt to place the final tiles.
The game started out as part of the 2016 UK Games Expo redesign competition. I was provided with a set of components from an existing game, and developed a new game based on these. After receiving encouraging feedback from players at the expo, I decided to take the core mechanics and create a standalone game with them.
Creating a co-operative game provided two significant challenges: difficulty level and player interaction.
The first was more straightforward to approach- I played the game by myself a lot, and collected large amounts of data. To speed things up, I made a digital version of the game board so I could play it on the bus to and from work. It’s nowhere near as good as playing with other people on a real board, but was invaluable for bulk testing.
Getting the player interaction dynamics right was more difficult. The rules were very strict originally, taking roughly a quarter of the first version of the rulebook. I adjusted the rules by looking at how people were breaking them, eventually ending up with something that felt a lot more natural.
Development on Pyxis is almost complete. Feedback from blind playtests has been positive. I will be looking to pitch to publishers very soon.