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What is Deliverance?

Religion in Secular Board Games

Religion is highly prevalent in games, because most world religions are inseparable from their accompanying cultures. Thus, if one attempts to include culture in a game, it naturally includes many references to religion as well.

The religious theme and game mechanics are so interwoven in Deliverance that it would be difficult to re-theme, and it is largely due to the way the “lore” creates a unique set of constraints for the game.

Let’s start with an easy one: In the Bible, Angels are good, demons are bad, and Satan is the worst. There is no wiggle room in there for a different interpretation if you plan on using religious lore as a constraint as I do!

But before we get into Deliverance, I’ll illustrate with two very common examples you’ll find in games:

Greek and Norse mythology.

Greek and Norse mythologies were central to the culture of these empires, as the temples of these cultures were often hubs of congregation and core to the identity of a person.

A few popular examples of games that use…

Greek mythology:
– Mythic Battles: Pantheon
– Lords of Hellas
– Santorini

Common Greek cultural/religious threads: Working to please/honor Greek gods, gods battling for supremacy.

Norse mythology:
– A Feast For Odin
– Blood Rage
– Raiders of the North Sea
– Champions of Midgard

Common Norse cultural/religious threads: Cultural value of glory in war, working to please/honor Norse gods.

Other examples of popular games that feature religion as a central theme are 7 Wonders, Kemet, Spirit Island, T’zolkin, and many more.

Beyond the more obvious examples, games of all kinds borrow from Greek and Norse mythologies to tell great stories. Dungeon crawlers seem to be first in line in that respect, but there are many popular genres that bask in religious themes to some degree.

Using Religion As a Constraint For Game Design

In board game design, constraints are very important. In fact, I would go as far to say constraints are as important as innovation or creativity in making great games.

One way to constrain is to use a base of lore that people are familiar with to help them understand otherwise complex elements in games.

Religious texts and mythologies are the most well established lore bases in the world, so it is no surprise to see games of all kinds borrowing from them regularly. From stories of angels and demons rooted in the Bible, to Greek gods in Homer’s Illiad, to the many legends of Dragons spread across hundreds of cultures, religion permeates everything that is infused with culture.

Even Tapestry, which the designer has gone on record to say has purposefully built this civilization game to exclude religious themes, still has them. Consider the Futurists, who would probably spear you through before believing they weren’t gifted foresight from their gods.

Any game that expressly includes culture as a central feature (like civilization games), will contain some level of religious themes that are impossible to divorce from the game’s fictional cultures.

Benefits & Challenges of Using Religion As A Theme

The biggest benefit of designing with a religious text as a lore base is that it gives you guidelines for everything. Characters and their accompanying traits (like Michael, the Archangel), famous stories to emulate (Like the fall of Satan), and more are all written for you to draw from!

The biggest challenge of designing with a religious text as the lore base is that you quickly go from fantasy to heresy if you’re not well studied. People begin to judge the game not just on its’ game play merits, but on the correct interpretation of the text (which is a real dumpster fire if you’re ignorant of this). And even when you get it right, you’re still going to have people calling you a cult leader on one side and a false prophet on the other (take it from a guy that regularly hears these insults).

The Common Religious Thread

Religion, though it can be a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands, is something that people of all cultures understand and can relate, which is why it is so prevalent in board games. I believe that we are hard-wired as human beings to celebrate a greater power and even see God in the things that have been made.

There are two other common threads in ALL of the great games I mentioned above that deal with Religion:

1) They don’t apologize for their use of religion.

2) They don’t attempt to educate the player on religion as part of the game’s core loop, but instead use it as thematic flavor and to better explain the mechanics & goals of the game.

Religion in Deliverance

As the designer of Deliverance, a Christian fantasy dungeon crawler, I am often faced with skepticism from both sides of the aisle — from Christians and non-Christians alike.

Non-Christian gamers are sometimes afraid that Deliverance will put a greater focus on proselytizing players than the game itself (aka – pushing religious beliefs for the purpose of converting players).

Guess what Christian gamers are afraid of? The exact same thing.

When people sit down and play a game, they want to have a fun time. If they are promised fun by a cool looking box cover, only to find out they have been tricked and the core loop of the game focuses on education instead of fun, it leaves a bad taste for the next game of that type. Sadly, Christian games for many years have prioritized education over fun.

Don’t get me wrong — education has its place. Parents that want their kids to learn something, whether math or language or bible verses, look for things like this to supplement their kids’ education.

But (back to Christian games) when you make a game and promise fun, and instead focus on educating your players on the tenets of Christianity, you upset everyone who was looking for fun and got education instead. Few of these gamers tend to see the value of education at the forefront of a game (especially one that promised fun first).

It is an easy argument to make that if you want education on tenets of Christianity (or other religions), there are places to go and books to read that do it better.

So how do I approach Christianity with my clearly Christian product, Deliverance?

I have three tenets to my development of Deliverance, and you have already read the first two:

1) I don’t apologize for my use of religion.

2) I don’t attempt to educate the player on my religion as part of the game’s core loop, but instead use it as thematic flavor and to better explain the mechanics & goals of the game.

3) I don’t take any of the subject matter trivially. I have worked very hard to ensure that the game is theologically sound in every possible way, with over ten thousand hours of research and study, much wise counsel, and hundreds of play tests under my belt (over 550 at the time of this writing).

Deliverance is a game where you play an elite angel from the army of Heaven, and come down to investigate the high amount of demonic activity in the small secluded town of Fallbrook. It is a game of angels and demons, with the saints caught in between. Each round, more Darkness bleeds into the spiritual realm from the physical, threatening to cripple the angels and bolster the demons that stand on your path. You must balance the tension of battling demons in tactical combat with the ever-encroaching Darkness.

It’s Not A Missionary-In-A-Box

I have made a choice to make a product that an Atheist could open and have a great time without feeling proselytized, or a Christian missionary could open and use as an effective tool for sharing their faith.

The key to both cases is in the game’s use is the intent of the user.

Let me level with you guys according to my experiences — I find that some on each extreme end of the religious spectrum get quite offended and angry. Some non-Christians put up immediate walls or speak angry words from the pain of their past experiences. Some misguided Christians demand I repent of my sins or face judgment due to the heresy of mixing Biblical stories with fantasy.

But there is a large group in the middle, on both sides, that are very excited. Non-Christians out there may doubt the accuracy of the Bible, but they would LOVE to slay demons as the legendary Archangel Michael. Many Christians see the more concealed “easter egg” elements, like the angels using “talents and treasure” (aka skills and loot) to grow in power. And almost everyone loves the thematic tie-in of the Bible verses used as clever flavor text on the player’s “Prayer deck.” Beyond all else, those that have engaged in the hundreds of public play tests with myself or my play testers around the US appreciate that the theme is deeply integrated with the mechanics, so much so that it would be very difficult to retheme.

In many senses, the lore of the Bible is one of the richest sources available for fantasy in the entire world. Despite the challenges and noise to the contrary, I have found that there is a real desire to see more of this lore in great games.

Back To Marketing Fundamentals

The biggest mistake in Christian “games” is that they try to convert the player. These aren’t really games — they’re educational tools. And if you try to present an educational tool to a market that doesn’t want to be educated, why would it be shocking that it performed poorly?

Christians that make games need to define their target market. Your target market is the ideal profile of a person that would want your thing! If you make decisions around your target market, you’re going to make a game that goes further with that niche group and does better on the market overall.

My target market are people like me — those that played a ton of secular epic fantasy games, and want to share that same experience with a friend or loved one uncomfortable with such things.

It just so happened that others are out there that are super excited about an Angels vs Demons game that really explores the Biblical lore, too.

If you desire to create a game with religion as a core theme, you will face some backlash. But if you do your research and make a really great game while remaining true to yourself, you will find your market and have nothing to apologize for!

The Fantasy Angels of Deliverance

Artists have been painting angels for thousands of years. From the earliest known paintings dating to the 3rd century to the modern artistic depictions of angelic warriors in Deliverance, one thing is for certain: Cultures around the world are fascinated with angels.

There are many myths and legends surrounding angels. Some are grounded in historical documents and Biblical texts, and others are completely made up for the sake of pop-culture entertainment.

How do you know which angelic interpretations are correct?

The best way is to read it for yourself in those manuscripts (like the Bible)… But you’ll find a decent summary if you keep reading this article!

In addition to the detailed explanation of our design choices for the angels of Deliverance, this article will aim to separate facts from fiction in several important areas of angelic study.

Warning — it is a long read!

Feel free to skip to sections that have you curious 🙂

 

What is an angel?

The word “angel”  is translated to mean “messenger.”

That means you and I could serve as angels to one another, but that isn’t what it really means, is it?

We define an angel as a supernatural being that acts at the direction of God. Their home is Heaven, and they exist in a spiritual realm that exists in our midst that we cannot directly see (though we can sometimes feel it). They are incredibly powerful, and serve in many capacities: warriors, messengers, helpers, and more.

The Bible defines at least two “species” of angels: Cherubim and Seraphim. Cherubim seem to be the highest order of angelic being based on several passages. God’s throne is “seated above the Cherubim” (like, right above their heads).  but primarily that they are the angels that stand in the presence of God.

The catholic Apocrypha declares that there are twelve orders of angels, and gives a lot of specific detail (Check out the book of Enoch if you are really into angelic stories).

Designer note: We have chosen to use the Bible as our governing authority on angels for Deliverance, but we are not against using the apocryphal stories, Jewish tradition, etc for epic expansion content down the road.

If you believe in angels, then you believe in supernatural humanoid beings that are from a different realm. Based on that truth, one might think you believe in aliens!

We believe in angels. Take that as you will 🙂

 

Angelic Portrayal in Deliverance

Angels do not ever want to be the subject of worship. If they ask for worship, that’s one of the easiest ways to figure out if you’re dealing with a demon. The next time an angel asks you for worship, back away slowly.

 

“Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.

Then he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.'”

– Revelation 22:9-10

In Deliverance, angelic stances are specifically designed to point to their creator. They aren’t meant to bring the angels glory, but to glorify God.

That doesn’t mean that they have to look soft and weak… They can look mighty, beautiful, fearsome, dangerous, etc. and still point to God in their demeanor and stance.

In fact, one of our tenets of design in Deliverance is that everything has to look AWESOME (as judged by Millennials that grew up on Final Fantasy and Blizzard games – aka all of us that work on this game.).

 

What do angels look like?

Deliverance is a fantasy board game that fits within the biblical narrative of things. Thus, angels are good, fallen angels & demons are bad, and Satan is the worst of them all.

Even though Deliverance is a fantasy board game, we have chosen to design Angels to reflect the likeness of humankind.

We believe that most people relate a whole lot better to a human-looking angel rather than a monstrous angel with 6 wings and eyes all over, a classic renaissance-style angel, or a modern “Tyrael-esque” fantasy angel whose face is totally concealed by a hood.

Recent artistic expressions of angels seem to lean toward “godlike” beings. For the sake of our game though, we decided to go with a more closely relatable “human” look.

And speaking of relating to your character, we have done both male and female versions of angels (because girls need to relate, too)! Some people might pause at that, but if you’re curious, read the section on “Male and Female” below to hear more – there is some basis for that in the Bible!

That said, the overall core of our angelic portrayals is the following verse, taken from the Bible:

 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

Angels are not afraid of anything. Angels should always be depicted as courageous and heroic.

Angels are powerful, and awesome to behold. Their art should reflect awesomeness, too!

Angels are full of love. There is no hatred in an angel (Fallen angels and demons don’t count of course).

Angels have a sound mind. The first version of the Angel of Death had his eyes open, but the dude looked psychotic – like he had seen overwhelming amounts of death and destruction. His art must reflect that he has a sound mind, so we closed his eyes in his art, and he is now at peace.

 

Male only, or Female angels too?

Deliverance is a fantasy game, so we freely admit that we take creative license here.

There is no real consensus on the existence of female angels. The three that are named in the Bible, along with other encounters with angels, are men (Lucifer, Michael, and Gabriel). Some hold to the belief that angels are non-gender beings. The truth is – we don’t know!

Whatever the case may be, we have chosen to represent both men and women as angels based on the following Biblical verse:

 

“Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven.” – Zechariah 5:9

 

Though you might expect this verse to reference female angels, I do not believe it is enough to determine this is more than symbolic imagery. Though to some, women with wings sounds quite angelic!

 

How do Angels Think?

Many angelic interactions between God, angels, demons, and humanity are recorded in the Bible. Some of these amazing insights are tucked away quietly and appear in the most surprising places. We’re excited to share some of that with you here, because it played an critical role in our decisions.

Despite the fantasy approach to portraying angels in Deliverance, we wanted to accurately represent angels in the way they act according to the Biblical narrative.

The way they stand, what they say and do not say, what they want, what they think… it is all reflected in our fantastic artistic depictions of these creatures as well as the story-driven text of Deliverance.

And of equal significance is that their fallen kin (aka demons) purposefully break many of these rules (“How Do Demons Think?” will almost surely be a future article you can expect!).

 

What powers do angels have?

Angels are mighty beings of light. Many biblical stories show angels “disputing” with demons (Michael vs Lucifer in Jude 1:9), and even showcase show angels meeting resistance from demons (Daniel 10:13).

We also have many examples in the Bible of angels possessing powers over the elements. Some of these are listed below:

 

“And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, …” – Revelation 14:18a

An angel has power over fire. That sounds like a pretty useful skill set when battling against demons!

 

“Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying …” – Revelation 16:4-5a

There is an angel in charge of rivers and springs of water.

 

“After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.” – Revelation 7:1

There are four angels that control the wind.

 

“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, …” – Revelation 12:7

Angels are trained in the art of war. Angels can shape shift – Satan is called the Dragon here, and he also deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden by taking the form of a serpent.

That is a lot of material to build angelic powers around. We have used elements, geography, and skills of war to imbue angels with supernatural powers.

The most important consideration to all of this? This isn’t magic. These are powers imbued by the Creator on these angelic warriors.

Throwing a fireball into a demon’s face, and sending them to the abyss to await final judgment actually fits within the Biblical narrative!

Ready… aim… fire! (That’s funny, right there)

 

What about the angelic halo?

The halo’s origin is found within Hellenistic and Roman art. There is actually no scriptural basis for a halo, but we have decided to include them!

It is a fantasy game, after all.

We have taken the idea of a floating circle of light above the head of an angel and turned it into a floating crown that is also tailor-made to fit the angel’s look and style.

Personally, the crown is one of my favorite parts of the angelic art of Deliverance.

The crown represents a reward, and each of our angels get a very thematic crown that showcases their powers and high ranking!

In our game, some fallen angels also get a crown, but the demonic crowns do not float. Demons wear them atop their head as an earthly king would wear a crown. In a subtle way, this is a distant reminder of their former days as an angel of light and denotes their fall from grace.

 

What about weapons, armor, and angelic body types?

In Deliverance, angels are designed to represent humanity in many ways. Angels serve as the player characters of Deliverance, so we wanted them to be as relatable as possible.

We purposefully stayed away from the monstrous or god-like representation that you see in some modern pop culture games, because we wanted these angels to remind you of someone you might have actually seen before! Angels do walk among us, after all…

The angels are all fearsome warriors in their own ways, but display many different body types. They are perfect in every way, and very different according to God’s design (just like normal people).

The angels are made up of many different ethnicities, because our world is a diverse place full of many beautiful people groups. If earth is a sort of mirror for what Heaven is like, then there must be just as many different ethnicities represented up there!

The armor styles of our angels pay homage to cultures of the earth from various time periods. The idea is that the cultures that have existed throughout history have actually influenced the dress styles of Heaven!

It would make sense that an angel would be more attracted to one culture’s armor styles than another… like Gabriel using more of a Roman-era weapons and armor, or an upcoming character reveal that uses a light and simple modern dyed dress.

Some angels have the epic hood, long hair, and flowy linen garb that you would expect from a more traditional angelic depiction…

… but others have short hair. Some even have beards (The female angels don’t have beards though).

And at least one of our designed female angels looks like she would absolutely school you in an arm-wrestling competition (she’d also electrocute you at the same time, but she isn’t a cheater… as if she would need to cheat to beat you, puny human).

 

What about an angel’s wings?

There are so many wing types out there for angels. Some types of angels have 2 wings, some have 4, some have 6, and the artistic styles that convey these beautiful creatures are all over the place!

In Deliverance, we have opted to use the wing of a common Sparrow. This serves as an anatomically correct wing style, and we add a bit of exaggeration for awesomeness.

While I won’t bore you with the details of what I actually told my artist, I’ll highlight a few insider points:

  1. Each one of the sections in the anatomy (example pic above) needed to be defined.
  2. Primary feathers at the end of the wing were to be exaggerated in length.
  3. The concave section of the wing (called the “Marginal coverts”) was the most challenging to showcase, depending on the angle of the wing. This and the “primaries” section gave the wing the most character.
  4. Feathers needed to be delineated, so that it looked like individual feathers made up the wings (versus a wing-like blob).
  5. Wing positioning was very important, and varies with every angel. These wings had to be anatomically correct in every position, and you better believe that took some work to get right!

Overall, it seems that some angels, like the Seraphim in Ezekiel 1-2, do not even need to flap their 4 wings to stay afloat. They also have 4 heads, which blows my mind a little. For sake of space, I’ll only copy a little bit of the text for your reading pleasure, but there is a lot more which I would encourage you to read in full if you’re into angels!

Here is a partial description from the writings of Ezekiel:

 

“Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.

As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies. And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.”

– Ezekiel 1:5-12

The “living creatures” that Ezekiel saw seem to have close cousins in Revelation 4, which have 6 wings and only one head each, though they each vary in which type of head they have:

 

“Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:

‘Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!'”

– Revelation 4:6-8

This entry comes after an epic showing at Alpha Omega Con – a Christian pop-culture and gaming convention in Southern California. I wish I took more pictures of the event, but I had to go without any extra helpers, so pics were the last thing on my mind. This blog isn’t about that, though. I wanted to show off some special story boarding artwork for a really awesome *surprise* component of Deliverance (None of it is final – it’s all as rough as can be for now while we tune it all!). The primary purpose for writing this blog is thanks to one of our awesome fans named Hannah-Sue. We met at Alpha Omega Con when she visited the Deliverance booth. She wasn’t a big gamer, but she was sharp as a tack with her question. And it is the question and the answer that I wanted to share with you!

The Question

“What is the sword of Deliverance?”
This question needs a little bit more back-story, so that you understand why it was such a sharp question (pun not intended). Hannah-Sue explained after hearing the pitch of the game that she had just recently finished a church service where the primary subject was “spiritual warfare” (An epic subject, Mr. Pastor out there, whoever you are!). She explained that she was taught that the Bible was the Christian’s “sword,” the weapon that the Christian uses to fight spiritual battles. So if this was a Christian game, what was the game’s “sword?”

My Answer

It was one of those moments where the Holy Spirit said, “Move over, Andrew… I’ll be doing the answering!” I was up in my head, but my mouth was speaking. I don’t want to sound like I’m smarter than I am, but I will tell you that I wish I could have recorded the answer. This is my attempt to recollect the answer for you all.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—” – Ephesians 6:17-18
The answer is rooted in the verse above – the Christian’s weapons to battle the very real darkness that comes against them. Swords, shields, or even guns and nuclear bombs for that matter, are of no use in a spiritual battle. You need to bring your spiritual weapons![/caption] Swords, shields, or even guns and nuclear bombs for that matter, are of no use in a spiritual battle. You need to bring your spiritual weapons! The verse above actually showcases TWO weapons – I refer to them as the sword and the bow.

The Sword

The sword is, as Ephesians says, the “word of God.”
“…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…”
Plainly, this means that the Bible is our sword. The words within the Bible have more than enough spiritual power to cut down evil spirits. In medieval times, if you are ever caught in a battle without a sword, you were an easy target. You might have armor, but the only effective tactic you had is to run! And you cannot run forever. The words of the Bible are tied into the Prayer Cards (read more about Prayer Cards here) through thematic flavorful text that boosts the epic feel of each one of those cards. While you do not need to read these words, they are ever present, and ever powerful. The verses upon the Prayer Cards are the sword of Deliverance.

The Bow

In addition to a sword, you must be equipped with the ability to fight at range! Going back to medieval times, you trained with one of several weapons that could turn the tide at range: The javelin, the spear, the atlatl, the catapult, and the sling… But none ever became as famous, nor was more effective at range as an arrow shot from a bow. Many times in Ephesians 6:18, we miss the other weapon at our disposal: Prayer.
praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…”
Prayer is our ranged weapon in the spiritual fight against the darkness. We must wield it in order to be effective for others our of reach, or for events that remain out of our view and out of our control.
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” – James 5:16b
Another translation puts it this way:
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
We need to be effective and powerful with the use of our ranged weapon, the bow! The Bow is mirrored in the prayer action of the game. For those of you that have played, you must fight the demons in front of you – you cannot win while demons are on the battlefield! However, the darkness that grows every round will slowly overtake you unless you pray against it.

The Storyboard

I am a big believer in doing things right if you’re going to do it at all, which is why the game trailer for Deliverance needs to blow me away. I received a vision for a sweet epic intro to the game: A monologue by Michael, the Archangel lamenting the fall of Satan. This game isn’t some light-hearted Christian family game. It’s dark, real, and deep. And people won’t get that until they see something that changes their perspective. I will say that there have been many that recollect the old 1979 movie by the same name that features a very ill-fated river rafting trip, playing banjos, and other unfortunate events… sigh. But after they hear the completed sound clip for the game (as some of you have if you attended Alpha Omega Con!)… They never mention it again, and they take the game in a completely new light. It’s almost as if to subconsciously say, “Wow, I didn’t realize you were actually serious… This game sounds good!” Thanks to God’s guidance, the story is as epic as any I have ever seen out there. I have one goal for this trailer: To rival the most epic World of Warcraft cinematic intros I have ever seen! Except I have to do that on a budget of about 1/1000 the budget of the big guys. Thankfully, we have a really beautiful and trendy new style – still art with moving details! So much more affordable than 3D animators 🙂 I’ve been working on this game for over two years now, and literally thousands of hours between myself (the gamer, developer, designer, and the visionary), Adam Glass (my graphic artist), Dan Maynard (my concept artist), and my wife (our art director and best play tester ever). And we are closer than ever to seeing this vision come to reality. Thanks for following along the journey! If you feel so inclined, please share this blog on social media with one of the buttons lurking near the top of this blog, and if you haven’t yet… be sure to join the e-mail list below for more awesome content!
This is a special blog series dedicated to what is going on behind the scenes on our journey to bring Deliverance to life. Hope you enjoy!

A little Deliverance update for you all…

This has been and continues to be quite the journey! While we are constantly moving forward, it seems as though some hurdles take a lot more prayer and time to overcome. One thing we can say for certain in all of this toil: God is good, and He has the leading role in this project! From the beginning God has made it clear to us that this game is to be for His Glory. As we are working hard to make fine tweaks to artwork, testing minor tweaks to cards for game balance, or picking out what scripture to use as flavor text on various Prayer Cards, we are seeing that God often has an opinion to consider on these matters!

As it is in life, so it is in spirit…

The progression of this game is so much like our everyday life. Giving it into God’s hands has been a challenge, because doing so takes patience. As humans, our “flesh” wants to take control and get the job done to the best of OUR abilities and to get it done quickly, when in reality our abilities are absolutely minuscule in comparison to God’s Mighty Hand. We often work so hard while never even thinking to ask for His direction or help. Can you imagine how we look to God trying to do it all without him? Funny enough, it reminds me of watching my little daughters trying to operate a juice box. Patiently watching them get more and more frustrated as they work to stick the straw in the juice box as it repeatedly bends and snaps back and forth isn’t as easy as it sounds! Finally, after a very long and painful display of straw cracking determination and stubbornness they turn to ask for help from mommy or daddy. I know what you’re thinking… Tangent much? The point is, we are learning ourselves to hand God the juice box before our straw turns into a messy and twisty irrigation system. … or something like that.

How it relates to our work on Deliverance…

We have been doing tons of play testing, and the anticipation is getting stronger as we come closer to revealing the game components. One of the toughest parts of the development of Deliverance has been waiting for the appointed time to release information – God’s timing, not ours. It’s not easy keeping silent when you want to scream out to the whole world about the awesome revelation you got on a certain mechanic, or the artists’ latest epic weapon finished painting, or long-completed battle systems that have never been done before… and every other fine detail there is to putting this game together. But following God’s direction will all be worth it soon!

God cares about Deliverance!

Again we say, God is good. And we praise Jesus that His hand is leading us on this project, because it is no easy feat. It’s exciting and encouraging to see how much He cares for the success of this game. We are praying constantly for His wisdom and guidance. Though we may not get it all right, He is merciful and forgiving and quick to help relieve the burden when we ask. This scripture was one that truly inspired us this morning, and we wanted to share it with you…
“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” 2 Timothy 4:17-18
This was written by a man named Paul at the end days of his life to his fellow brother and son in Christ, Timothy. If you have time, we’d encourage you to read the entire chapter (its not long). After reading it together this morning, we were reminded of the whole purpose of Deliverance: Pointing the world to “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Yes, its extremely important to produce a game that has a great story line, awesome art, and mechanics that are different and engaging, but the most important thing is to stay focused on Him and to be constantly seeking Him to follow His plan and purpose for us and this game.

The conclusion:

We understand that He is the reason this game is going to come to fruition. We pray that along with the fun and epic times it will bring to families and groups of friends, that it will also produce good fruit. Thanks for listening – if you want to drop some encouragement our way, please send us a message on our FB Group or leave a comment!Deliverance is a fantasy adventure game about the spiritual warfare between Angels, Demons, and the humans caught in the middle. You command one of ten unique Angelic heroes of Light and fight the forces of Darkness in the war between Heaven and Hell. You are tasked with destroying a Demonic Stronghold by assassinating the fallen Prince that commands the spiritual forces of wickedness in a modern-day town. Danger grows as the Darkness intensifies after every round of battle. You must survive through a strong intensity mechanic represented by Darkness Cards as a wide array of demonic foes aim to slay you. The variety of dangers force meaningful player choices as you must decide how to spend your limited resources to overcome the darkness. If you fail, the darkness will spread without end. Send your demonic adversaries to the abyss by the power of God, to be chained in darkness until their judgment day!  

Players / Length

Deliverance is for 1-4 players, and takes 60 – 120 mins to play, depending on # of players. Game set-up time is only 5-10 minutes.  

How Deliverance came to be…

To many, this might be a fun fiction theme for a game, but it’s real to me (and also a fun theme)! is a game that began in my head in 2016 to solve a few problems that I encountered in my life. First, the issue of kids impacting my playtime… Epic games that took hours to play became near-impossible. Second, dealing with compromising of my Christian faith in the pursuit of that high-fantasy experience that I had grown so fond of over the years…  

The problem is…

Mainstream media ruins almost everything. It’s annoying to be forced to compromise in order to just have fun with an awesome game, book, show, or movie in today’s American media! The rampant increase of sexual themes, ultra-violence, political agendas, and what IMDB calls “blasphemy” have annoyed me. I have gone to such great lengths to find games, shows, and fun things that I can do with my family that don’t require me to stare at a pair of boobs, deep cleavage, ultra-violence, or be force-fed garbage political propaganda. You may think I go to extreme lengths to avoid stuff like this instead of just endure it, but it has a pretty dramatic effect on a person (source: I am a person). Mainstream media is a place where evil is called good, and where good is called evil.  

The solution…

What I am hoping is that there are enough people out there like me that hope things like the new Tolkien-inspired Amazon show doesn’t get ruined with sex, ultra-violence, and evil. I just want an epic fantasy experience that gives all of the sword swinging, spell slinging, evil slaying awesomeness of a really great game without compromising my Christian beliefs. Give me epic battles. Give me a story line that makes me beg for more. Give me wicked demons that will stop at nothing to rule the world, but call out evil for what it is. And give me legendary heroes of the Light who’s main missions are to fight said darkness. And most of all, give it to me in a package that isn’t tainted with some evil supervillain quoting the Bible out of context during his big moment because the writers thought it sounds cool. Thus, the idea behind Deliverance was born.  

My vision

Deliverance is more than just a game – it is my view on what really takes place in the spiritual world all around us, wrapped in a high-fantasy style. The Bible is full of epic descriptions of angels, demons, and the spiritual realm that still leaves so much to the imagination. Without getting into the specifics about what passages I am building upon (hint: all of them), there is a lot of room for creative interpretation here. My first rule is that the game can’t compromise my faith as a Christian. My second rule is that the game needs to be awesome, and every character needs to feel ultra powerful. If it boiled down to “Bible Trivia: Angels and Demons Edition” then it would be a bad idea that should go nowhere. But as things stand, the theme mixes perfectly with the mechanics, and the characters that I have developed and tested feel ridiculously awesome so far.  

Why am I qualified to do this?

I am a lover of all things fantasy. I have logged over 20,000 hours playing World of Warcraft. I mastered Knights of the Round in FF7 like 4 times and killed Jenova with a single cast that was mimic’d like 16 times. I once won a bet with my wife because I can repeat nearly word-for-word every line of dialogue in the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings movies (It’s “Fly, you fools”). I have read nearly 60 fantasy books OUT LOUD with my wife, from Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, to all Harry Potters, to Ranger’s Apprentice, to Lord of the Rings, to Frank Peretti novels (so relevant and awesome). Seriously, you guys would be shocked at how much more effort reading takes when you’re doing it out loud… especially with 4 little kids.  

Want updates as we make progress?

Subscribe to our newsletter! We send out an e-mail once or twice per month to update you on the latest concept art and status of the game. We really value your support and feedback! Please subscribe to our newsletter if you want the insider scoop on art/design/development, and connect with us on our Facebook page if you have questions/comments to share!Prayer Cards are powerful tools that serve as the light side’s counteracting force against the Darkness Deck in the spiritual warfare waged in Deliverance. These cards give you unique and powerful options during the game, and can even serve as a surprise twist in your favor during battle. Prayer Cards are not automatically drawn each turn, however. In order to draw one of these, you must use a Prayer action (one of 5 possible actions during your turn). There are currently over 100 Prayer Cards developed and tested. The text, flavor text, and names are subject to change as we approach Kickstarter in June, but they are prototype-ready with finished art!

Prayer Actions

Prayer actions do several things. In addition to drawing a card, you gain 1 Courage, which is used to fuel your character’s unique and powerful skills. Lastly, a prayer action can…
  1. 1. Cure afflictions (negative status effects)
  2. 2. Cast down demonic strongholds (Powerful cards from the Darkness Deck that cripple the forces of Light for as long as they remain in play)
  3. 3. Revive fallen allies.
As you can imagine, prayer is as powerful in Deliverance as it is in real life. As an angelic warrior, you will not survive without making use of this tool.

Types of Prayer Cards

Prayer Cards have a wide array of offensive and defensive uses, but depending on the type of card, there are rules for when and how…

Play Any Time

Some cards can be used at any time during the game, regardless of whose turn it is or what happens to be going on at that moment. At any time, you can interrupt the action and alter the flow of events with a powerful Prayer Card. peace-among-men-prayer-card Peace Among Men is an excellent card to have when you are getting overrun due to Strongholds. You may elect to use it and go damage-crazy for a few rounds without the powerful impact of the Darkness Deck on you. And in some cases, one turn without having to worry about Strongholds might be the difference between victory and defeat!

Requires 1 Action

Cards that say “Requires 1 Action” can only be played during your turn, and as the text suggests, uses one of your two available actions for the turn. These cards may be offensive or defensive in nature, and often can be extremely effective in the right situation. mighty-throw-prayer-card Mighty Throw is an offensive card that is perfectly devastating in the hands of a strength-wielding hero. Many strength-based heroes rely on close range to be effective in battle, so a card like this is a great complement to heroes like Michael, the Archangel or Sardius, the Stonebreaker. If your strength value is 5, this one card has the potential to deal 25 damage to the forces of Darkness in a single action. Wow!

Play Immediately

When you use a Prayer Action and see a card that says Play Immediately, do exactly that. These cards offer surprising twists that may result in small bonuses or game-changing effects during a battle. chaos-prayer-card Chaos is a card that allows you to not only deal some damage to a demon, but to move them 2 spaces in any direction afterward. This might afford you the opportunity to put a demon that is keeping you at range into the path of your sword, or potentially in the range of one of your allies that excels in close-quarters combat. A surprising twist indeed!

What Do Prayer Cards Represent?

Prayer Cards are symbolic of the goodness in the world. Humans might be faulty, but acts of kindness, love, compassion, honesty, and faith among people have an effect on the spiritual realm! Try to include one extra random act of kindness in your day today, and know that such a simple thing has a dramatic effect on the human heart and behind the spiritual veil! If you have any questions about Prayer Cards or other aspects of Deliverance, I am happy to answer them in the Deliverance Facebook group.

Unleash powerful gifts of the Heavenly Angels on the forces of Hell

Battle the Forces of Darkness in tactical spiritual combat

Cast down Strongholds and guard the saints from Darkness

 

Gameplay Highlights

Click on the buttons below to learn about the elements of Deliverance!

Heavenly Treasure

Each character begins the game with their signature weapons, and grow in might throughout the game with 6 different types of equipment. Powerful items are earned after each victory in battle which allow your character to take on new skills and earn permanent stat increases. You will need every bit of gear you can get to stand a chance against the Darkness. It is written, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also," and the heroic Angels of Deliverance always come prepared accordingly.

The Darkness Comes...

The evil emanating from the physical world around you must be dealt with even as the great battle is waged in the spiritual realm. The Darkness grows each round as cards are placed face-down, entering play if you fail to deal with them. You must balance your fight against this ever-growing threat with your battle against the demons. Innocent saints must also be protected, lest they fall into despair and the Darkness spread beyond your control.

Prayer is Always Answered

You must engage in a spiritual battle with spiritual weapons, and the Prayer deck serves as the player's answer to the Darkness. Cast down Strongholds and Afflictions through Prayer actions, and draw powerful cards that represent all that is good in the world. These Prayer cards contain highly thematic abilities and Scriptural flavor text which add an appropriate depth of flavor to the Angelic player's options in battle.

Modular Map & Battle System

No two games will ever feel the same with the modular map and battle staging system of Deliverance. There are over 1.6 million possible enemy combinations in the base game alone, guaranteed to challenge even the most prepared of adventurers (not including the variety of modular game tiles)! Can you survive long enough to cast the Fallen Prince into the Abyss and deliver the saints from evil?

Unique Characters

Players command Angels of the special forces of Heaven’s armies, from well-known heroes like Michael or Gabriel to other powerful angels charged by God with stewardship over elements like fire, wind, life, and death. Every Angel plays differently due to highly thematic abilities and traits unique to that character. Multiple build paths and options for beginners and veterans alike offer something for every play style and skill level.

OUR NAME IS LEGION...

The bosses of Deliverance are called Fallen Princes, and were once your angelic brethren. Fallen from grace, they serve as the great generals of the army of Darkness. Each of these encounters are inspired from a Biblical villain, and contain both staged elements to challenge you in unique ways and random elements to keep you guessing. Multiple levels of difficulty allow newer players to get their feet wet and veterans to balance their survival on a knife's edge.

Intelligent AI-Driven Enemies

The Deliverance enemy AI system pays homage to the great Tactics video games of the past with an innovative modern spin. Each demon is controlled through a unique decision tree, enabling very different behaviors among enemy types. Cruel Archers fire deadly arrows from safe distances, Meddling Imps charge in groups, Masquerading Evils shatter defensive formations, and more. Battles are always fresh and interesting with these highly thematic and tactical AI decisions controlled by the game itself.

Something for everyone...

Deliverance contains two epic game modes for 1-4 players: A story-driven Campaign with missions ranging from 30-60 minutes in length, and a Skirmish mode that puts your survival skills to the test as you battle through waves of demons to defeat the Fallen Prince over 1-2 hours. Multiple levels of difficulty and a fun achievement system offer great replayability, featuring true solo gameplay with a finely tuned single-player ruleset!

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