Gearhearts is a co-operative, tactical board game in which players take on the role of pilots who control powerful, but finicky clockwork mechs using a real-world, gear-like mechanism. Developed by myself, Jeff Petriello and Oliver Hong over course of nine months.
What is a Gearheart?
What makes Gearhearts unique and unforgettable is it’s core component – the gearheart. Each player uses their own toy-like gearheart to program their mech. “Programming” the gearheart by inserting and manipulating command cards is both tactically and physically satisfying, and we want players to treasure them, personalize them, and experience them as magical devices that link them to their on-board avatars.
How do they work?
These gearhearts, like the ancient mech technology they control, are finicky. The programs they hold are executed in the order and direction they are placed, a spiraling call stack beholden to space. Players are limited in how many commands they can place, recoup, or modify per turn, balancing each decision between risk and reward, now and later. The gearhearts also go through a cyclical arc of building up tension and releasing it as a byproduct of “shifting” or rotating the device to change the direction of commands. This allows mechs to execute particularly impressive feats of movement, combat, or repairing, before taking time to “cool down” and re-engineer their program.
Besides game design, I was the art director for Gearhearts. I have created a great variety of assets including card designs, character designs, board designs, rulebook and concept art.
We have four different mechs player can pick. They all have different special abilities. My approach in designing these mechs was to create something players would find adorable and eventually own them like a pet.
My approach for designing enemies was to create a contrast between them and the mechs. Mechs are adorable, and they are inorganic. Enemies have a looser look in terms of brush strokes, they are organic and they make sense only in their own world.
Each player has a unique Command Deck. Each deck consists of 7 cards.
Enemy Reference Cards
Action Reference Cards