What is Cairn?


This is going to be the start of a weekly article series from me.  I’ll just ask myself a simple question about Cairn and give a long winded answer.  To get the series jump started I thought I would give a pretty high level view of what Cairn is going to be.

Cairn is a Hero Real Time Strategy game.  An RTS is a type of war game that gives you an eagles eye view of the battlefield and lets you control each soldier.  An HRTS is the same type of game, but it also grants you control over a more powerful soldier commonly called a Hero.

In Cairn the hero is called a Slayer.  In the lore these Slayers range from legendary retired military generals leading armies into foreign nations to rogue assassins who must attempt to eliminate key political figures.  In gameplay terms each Slayer is about ten times more powerful than a common soldier and gets four unique special powers that they can use to wreck havoc on the enemy.  Our Slayers follow a formula similar to Warcraft 3 and DotA type games.editorial-04

Real Time simply refers the lack of turns.  Many old strategy games were based of off table top war games or evolved out of RPGs.  Games like Chess would be impossible without each player taking turns, but computer war games allow the player to act quickly and make decisions in real time to counter enemy movements.

Strategy is a big umbrella for games that make you think more than others.  Cairn can be better defined as a War Strategy game.  Each unit has advantages and disadvantages that need to be weighed to determine their value.  Even the most powerful soldiers will have weaknesses to exploit and failing to prepare a defense against those exploits could quickly end in your defeat.

Cairn does do a few things differently from most RTS games.  I’ll highlight a few of these, but these few and more will be highlighted in their own article later.


Resources.  In Cairn our resources are called Glory and Infamy.  Glory is earned by completing honorable actions and Infamy is earned by being more ruthless.  Both are needed to wage war and win.

A focus on battles.  We built an Othello combat engine, “A minute to learn, a lifetime to master.”  We want the basics to be simple with only a few attack and defense types, like cutting weapons will always do more damage to targets that wear no armor.  Then we want the depth to allow more complicated scenarios, so knowing the basics will probably win the day, but knowing the tricks will allow you to down right smash the opponent.editorial-06

Advancements. The battle doesn’t only depend on what units you bring, but on what advancements you decide to spend your resources on.  These are more permanent decisions made during battle that will boost units, buildings, or other effects across the board.

There is plenty more to come.  Next Monday I’ll be talking about Cairn’s world.  We’ve dubbed it Myos and have fleshed out an incredible amount of detail.







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