Pawnbarian presskit on Google Drive
If anything is missing, just shoot me an email (please do!) and I'll do my best to add it ASAP.
Pawnbarian is a chess-inspired tactical puzzler with rogue-like and card battler elements. You are a warrior piece on a 5x5 chessboard, thrown onto the tiny dungeon floor with a bunch of enemies, including bloodthirsty Capybears, imposing Golems, and eldritch Blightsacks.
You're given a deck of cards representing chess pieces and play them to move your hero. 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. Every turn feels like a one-of-a-kind puzzle as you learn how to play around each enemy type's unique traits. After each encounter you're given the opportunity to either replenish your health or upgrade the cards with additional powers.
A single run is complete after winning several increasingly difficult floors, culminating in a tough-as-nails boss fight. Pawnbarian is designed to be a short, bite-sized experience. It's possible to win in around 15 to 30 minutes - that is, if you master the mechanics.
There are 6 characters to choose from, each with a different deck and core mechanic, and you set out to conquer 3 dungeons with varied theme and enemies. Each combination requires a unique approach. You can also take on Chains - cumulative difficulty modifiers, as well as a post-run infinite mode.
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 some time after university doing 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.
The game kept receiving updates after the original Steam release. Aside from a whole bunch of quality of life and balance tweaks, 3 of the 6 characters were released in a 2022-03 update.