A minimalist, turn-based, rogue-like puzzler with light deck-building elements. You are the titular Pawnbarian, a warrior piece on a 5x5 chessboard. You're thrown onto the tiny dungeon floor with a bunch of enemies, like the bloodthirsy Capybears, eldritch Blightsacks, and pesky Goblins.

You're given a deck of cards representing chess pieces, and play them to move on the board accordingly. The goal is to capture all enemies on a given floor by moving into them, like you would in chess, while avoiding or shielding yourself from their attacks.

A turn normally consists of playing up to 2 moves. The enemies will then attack any endangered squares, and reposition. The enemies aren't bound by the rules of chess, they have various attack patterns and effects which you have to play around. After each floor, you're given the opportunity to replenish your health, or upgrade the chess cards with addional powers.

A single run is complete after winning several, increasingly difficult floors. It is designed to be short, bite-sized experience, winnable in around 10 to 15 minutes. In the full release, you'll unlock a number of ways to experience fresh mechanics and challenges, such as dungeons with new enemies and other characters to play.


Pawnbarian was originally created in a week for the 7DRL (7 Day Rogue-Like) game jam. It started off with the nebulous idea of "Slay the Spire, but with board movement", and was refined/scoped down to be built entirely around chess moves. This prototype version was first released 2019-03-10. It's now known as Pawnbarian Classic, and can be played online here.

Following the great reception of the 7DRL version, I decided to spend a number months after university doing full-time indie development to flesh out the game and release it commercially. I enlisted my brother Piotr Wojtecki to help out on the art side in his spare time.

When attending Poznań Game Arena in 2019, I met Olek Zabłocki, a talented musician who's been taking some early steps in the video game composing world, and expressed interest in expanding his skillset to general sound design. We began working together soon after.