Pax South 2020 – Interview with Doomtrooper Developer Justin Reynard

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Doomtrooper was one of the few games that REALLY stood out to me from Pax South this year. The artwork is what caught my eye initially. The trailer playing on the monitor held me, but it was talking to Justin Reynard, the developer, that sold me.

What is Doomtrooper?

Doomtrooper is a digital CCG (collectible card game), that has a Sci-Fi steampunk feel to it and is being developed by Secret Cow Level. My first thought was, this looks like a sick 90’s cyberpunk Gwent or Hearthstone. Of the two, I’ve played my fair share of Hearthstone several years ago and recently got hooked on the in-game version of Gwent, from The Witcher 3. However, after starting to talk to Justin, owner and lead developer, I realized Doomtrooper is a different beast altogether. As a matter of fact, it is based on the physical CCG that was released in 1995 set in the Mutant Chronicles, pen-and-paper RPG, universe.

While the 90’s nostalgia remains in full effect from the original game, Justin and his team have tweaked the game in various ways as they make it a digital reality. Doomtrooper consists of multiple factions, 7 at launch, 5 to 7 possible more over time. The artwork, by Paul Bonner, of these factions and the cards are just awesome. It captures that 90’s big bicep, big guns, demons, post-apocalyptic fantasy realm.

Each faction contains its own lore and unique cards and consists of Warriors, Support, Attachments, Power, and Fate. Your fighting units are the Warriors, of which can be buffed or debuffed with Attachments. Support cards are non-combative, which consist of persistent effects, like vehicles or structures. Fate cards are temporary stat modifies or a unique event that affects more than one card, while Power cards are special faction abilities.

Doom Trooper WarriorDoom Trooper WarriorDoom Trooper Power

Doom Trooper SupportDoom Trooper WarriorDoom Trooper Warrior

How Doomtrooper truly differs from games like Magic or Hearthstone, is that it plays more like a chess match. At the beginning of each turn, a player has three actions that can use in a variety of ways, from deploying warriors, buffing, using fate or power cards, but only one action can be an attack. Attacks are one-on-one attacks with one opponent’s card leaving them wounded or dead. However, results may vary, and often have effects on other cards as well, or an opponent can counter with support card mid-combat, messing up your strategy. Destiny Points are spent to deploy your warriors, who attack, and once an opponent card is defeated, the value of that card is earned in Promotion Points. The first player to reach 25 promotion points is the victor.

History of Doomtrooper as a Digital Game

Justin learned to play this game in his hometown of Valparaiso, Indiana, at a place called Galactic Greg’s. “He may be the reason I didn’t do drugs because I was always hanging out at the comic book store.”, Justin shared during our conversation. He goes on to say that Greg passed away a couple of years ago, from cancer, and they are putting Greg into the game. He will be a vendor that shows up on the weekends to sell multiple rare items, much like Xur does in Destiny.

It was this love for Doomtroopers that lead Justin to reach out to and meet with Cabinet Entertainment, holders to the rights to the original game. He told them that he wanted to take their game, that he was very versed in, and bring it to the digital realm. They agreed and thus began this journey. Next Justin took to Kickstarter in September of 2017, and within 3 days, was fully funded! The demand and mutual love for this game is alive and well. (Editor’s Note: Justin’s passion for the game was evident when we met him at Pax. He seemed to want to share his passion with anyone who would stop by and it was infectious. I downloaded the beta as soon as I got back to my laptop to check it out.)

Since then the Justin and his team, Secret Cow Level, have been developing and promoting Doomtrooper, and this past weekend was their third Pax South event and a very successful one at that.

Content Creator/Streamer Support

One of the biggest things that stood out to me and made me believe in their plan, was how they planned on working closely with content creators. The team plans to roll out streamer perks that are being developed are currently for players for their game. He goes on to say, “We are developing a streamer program where you can get your picture as an avatar, and have your brand in your card backs”. Now that just sounded super cool to me, but it did not stop there. On top of that, the team is working on a very cool and unique way to allow players to have interactions with streamers. Justin said, “We have a system called the Infection System where somebody that is infected and plays against somebody else, they can inherit something from them”. Some of the items they want to implement as rewards for this are streamers’ versions of the cosmetics. This will essentially help spread the word for both the streamer and the game. Win, Win!

To add to more streamer support, Justin tells us, “They can generate codes for streamers that they can be used for viewers that would grant access to the game, free card packs, or free cosmetic items.” He says they are small but scrappy and want to see others succeed just as much as themselves. Even to the point of helping 1st time or low follower streams out by giving them some assets to give out, and as they grow and presumably continue to stream Doomtrooper. “We want to make sure we are offering support to any media streamer to help get the word out because we are not going to be as big as Hearthstone, but we are going to be our own little thing, being more strategic, updating the game more, and offering more rewards than the big guys”. This level of community involvement hit big with me.

Special Rewards

As with any game, we all love to earn those rewards. Some even enjoy a good grind to make sure we get everything to fill up that collection. The Doomtrooper team has a good plan to make cards obtainable to anyone who plays. In its current state, there are Daily Missions and Monthly Seasons (competitive). In the near future, they plan on rolling out weekly missions & events, holiday events, with a Valentine’s Day event coming up, and log-in rewards. I could tell Justin was very passionate about the free ways for players to earn items in the game. Justin says, “We want to be good with getting people stuff. I mean Hearthstone doesn’t even have log-in rewards, they just want you to spend money. I want you to spend money, but I want you to WANT to spend money, not feel obligated or required to.” Now that, is how it should be!

The game will be free, and you will get your starter packs that you an open, there will be a welcome pack that will be cheap. Also, packs of cards will be for sale, but like other games in a similar vein, you will be able to earn currency, the grind if you will, to buy packs (60 packs as of now) without ever having to use real money. “Most items will be available with coin, but there will be a few items we will hold back that will be more expansive, which will be mostly cosmetic items. Now the packs themselves are right around $1 apiece, and consist of 5 cards and a 6th “something” aka the “bubble gum” system.” The 6th something, Justin speaks of, could range from another card of any rarity, crafting materials, another pack, cosmetic items, or even one of the collectibles. Collectibles can consist of lore cards, avatars, variant cards, titles, card backs, and versus screens.

Beta Time!

Doomtrooper is currently in Beta, and I for one can attest that it works very well in its current state (Editor’s Note: The game is accessible on my PCs, even an old 2011 MacBook Air, so don’t let an old PC stop you from getting the beta). Big updates are coming, as well as an official launch projected to be sometime in the next few months. If you want to get in on this beta and help be part of the growing community that is helping shape Doomtrooper to the game the developers really want us to see, then jump right in with this link. From here you can download the client (the beta itself), register for access using the CODE: “MULEHORNGAMING”, then check your e-mail! The dev team and community are great in their discord as well, to help with questions, open to feedback, and make friends..to duel! So you will want to join that as well!

As an added BONUS by using the CODE: MULEHORNGAMING”, you will get you a FREE pack of cards for using it to access the Beta or redeem it in-game if you already have access! BOOM!

Final Thoughts

Justin and his team over at Secret Cow Level really have a great game here. It hits the nail on the head for me for multiple reasons. The art and 90’s nostalgia is an instant draw for me, it’s fun and challenging all in the same, it has much more offer in ways to play. On top of that, it offers a great way to earn cards and items versus cards being locked away behind a paywall. Huge plus! They have shown how passionate they are for Doomtrooper in person, and they continue to do so in their discord. I am really looking forward to seeing more things added to the game and being a part of seeing it to a full launch.

Thaddeus, also known in the interwebs and socialverse as ThaddeusPrime or TPrime. From Atari to XboxOne, gaming has been in my blood. I'm a beardsman, father of twins, and sarcasmsmith. Whether it be slinging gif's (not jifs) or podcasting game talk, it's always PRIME TIME!

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