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by in Design, Games

Welcome back to of our Legends At War rules preview. In the previous update, I introduced you to card abilities and how they work. Now in Part 5, we talk about more Abilities! To recap, abilities provide cards with advantages in certain situations. This could mean improving a card’s chances of capturing other cards, strengthening its allies, or weakening its enemies. Some abilities alter the normal rules of the game, allowing you to make powerful moves that fit your strategy. Other abilities can actually be detrimental you, opening up weaknesses that your opponents can exploit. These abilities are balanced with giving their cards higher stats, so they can still be very useful to you as long as you play them wisely.

 

ABILITY DESCRIPTIONS (part 2)

LAW - Protection iconProtection– Allied cards within this ability’s area of effect are immune to enemy abilities. The enemy abilities which are Protected against are: Skinwalker, Slayer, Web, Dispel, and Curse. Place protection markers on any cards affected by this ability. If an affected card becomes an enemy card, it is no longer affected by this ability, and the protection marker is removed. This is a Persistent Ability that is applied during the Pre-Attack step and Post-Attack step.

 

LAW - Dispel iconDispel – Enemy cards within this ability’s area of effect have all of their abilities negated. This includes abilities granted to them by special board spaces. Place dispel markers on any cards affected by this ability. If an affected card becomes an allied card, it is no longer affected by this ability, and the dispel marker is removed. If two enemy cards with the Dispel ability target each other, the card which was placed on the board first wins, and the other card has all of its abilities negated. This is a Persistent Ability that is applied during the Pre-Attack step and Post-Attack step.

 

LAW - Attack/Defense Bonus iconAttack / Defense Bonus – This card gains a +1 bonus to all of its stats for attacking and defending against cards whose dominion matches the symbol paired with this ability. This is a Persistent Ability that is applied during the Pre-Attack step.

 

LAW - Attack Bonus iconAttack Bonus – This card gains a +2 bonus to all of its stats for attacking cards whose dominion matches the symbol paired with this ability. This is an Instant Ability that is applied during the Pre-Attack step.

 

LAW - Defense Bonus iconDefense Bonus – This card gains a +2 bonus to all of its stats for defending against cards whose dominion matches the symbol paired with this ability. This is a Persistent Ability that is applied during the Pre-Attack step.

 

LAW - Support iconSupport – Allied cards within this ability’s area of effect gain a +1 bonus to all of their stats. Place bonus markers on any affected cards to mark this bonus. If an affected card becomes an enemy card, it is no longer affected by this ability, and the bonus marker is removed. This is a Persistent Ability that is applied during the Pre-Attack step and Post-Attack step.

 

LAW - Curse iconCurse – Enemy cards within this ability’s area of effect get a -1 penalty to all of their stats. Place penalty markers on any affected cards to mark this penalty. If an affected card becomes an allied card, it is no longer affected by this ability, and the penalty marker is removed. This is a Persistent Ability that is applied during the Pre-Attack step and Post-Attack step.

 

LAW - Champion iconChampion – This card gains +1 to all of its stats for each adjacent card whose dominion or pantheon matches the symbol paired with this ability. Place a bonus marker on this card for each +1 bonus granted to it by this ability. If adjacent matching cards are moved away or removed from the board, the bonus from this ability is decreased accordingly. This is a Persistent Ability that is applied during the Pre-Attack step and Post-Attack step.

 

LAW - Ranged Attack iconRanged Attack – This card’s attack range includes the spaces within this ability’s area of effect. When resolving an attack, use the stats in the direction of the attack, just as if the cards were adjacent. This ability is negated if this card began the turn face down. If this card fails an attack against a card with the Web ability, it will be counter-attacked by that card even if it is beyond that card’s normal attack range. This is a Persistent Ability that is applied during the Pre-Attack step.

 

Combined with the preview from last week, this covers all of the abilities currently included in the master set. When abilities change or new ones are added (which is likely) you’ll get to read about it here on the blog. You will also get to see when the temporary icons shown above are replaced with the cool-looking final art. Coming up in Part 6, we will begin looking at the different game modes of Legends At War, starting with a preview of the Pantheon Skirmish mode. Until then, hit me up with your questions and suggestions!

 

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by in Design, Games

Okay, now it’s time for Part 4 of our Legends At War rules preview. We’ve been skipping around a bit in the rules, in order to cover the key elements of the game. Today, we’re covering Abilities. In the past three previews, abilities have been mentioned, but not explained… until now! Card abilities add a whole extra level of strategy to the game, influencing your choices when building your deck and when playing cards during a battle. Some abilities are reserved for particular Pantheons and Dominions, while others are shared across these groups.

A card’s ability is depicted as an icon in the lower-center of the card. (Note, the icons depicted here are temporary mock-ups for testing purposes, and will be replaced with final artwork by the time the game is released.) There are over a dozen abilities planned for the Legends At War master set, and even more will be released in expansions! We’ll begin by covering five of these abilities in the first half of…

 

Chapter 4: Abilities

Most cards have one of many special abilities. These abilities provide advantages in certain situations, such as improving a card’s chances of capturing enemies, strengthening allies, weakening enemies, or twisting the normal rules of the game to fit your strategy. Some abilities are stronger than others, but that power comes with a price – cards with stronger abilities have weaker stats to compensate. Some cards have no ability at all, so their stats are higher to make up for it.

Some abilities take effect only once, when the card is played. These are known as “Instant Abilities”. Other abilities are in constant effect, as long as the card they belong to is on the board. These are known as “Persistent Abilities”. If an ability’s description uses the word “may”, then the player playing that card has the choice of whether or not to apply it. Otherwise, the ability takes effect automatically.

AREAS OF EFFECT
Some abilities have an area of effect, which is depicted on the cards as a set of arrows with the ability icon. Those arrows point to spaces on the board in relation to the card, and any cards on those spaces are within the ability’s area of effect. This means they can be affected by that ability, depending on its rules (such as affecting only allied or enemy cards.) For example, an ability with one arrow pointing North and another arrow pointing South has an area of effect of one space North and one space South of that card. An ability with two arrows pointing East has an area of effect of two spaces East of that card. Gaps in the board (non-existing spaces) do not alter an area of effect, so abilities can extend across gaps if their area of effect covers two or more spaces away from their card’s space.

ABILITY DESCRIPTIONS

Skinwalker AbilitySkinwalker – This card may be played on a space occupied by another card, replacing it. When this occurs, the card being replaced returns to its controller’s hand. A card with the Skinwalker ability cannot replace another card with the Skinwalker ability. Also, it cannot replace an enemy card that is under the effects of a Protection ability, or an allied card that is under the effects of a Dispel ability. This ability is negated if this card begins the turn face down. Skinwalker is an Instant Ability.

 

Maneuver Ability

Maneuver – On the turn that this card is played, the player who controls it may move it to an open space within this ability’s area of effect. There must be a clear and unbroken path of open spaces in order to move this card more than 1 space away from its original position. This is an Instant Ability that is applied after the Post-Attack step, and before the Draw a Card step. After the card is moved, the turn’s steps begin all over again with the Pre-Attack step (including new attacks.) This ability is negated if this card began the turn face down.

 

Slayer AbilitySlayer – When this card captures another card, the captured card is removed from the board and placed in the Underworld pile. This is an Instant Ability that is applied during the Post-Attack step.

 

Traitor AbilityTraitor – When this card gets captured, it will attack enemy cards within its attack range. These new attacks occur after the Post-Attack step, and before the Draw a Card step. Another Post-Attack step takes place after the new attacks are resolved. This is a Persistent Ability.

 

Web AbilityWeb – After an enemy card fails an attack against this card, this card will counter-attack that card. If the counter-attack succeeds, the enemy card is captured by the player who controls this card. This new attack occurs after the Post-Attack step, and before the Draw a Card step. Another Post-Attack step takes place after the new attack is resolved. This is a Persistent Ability.

 

That’s the end of Part 4! As you can see, we just touched on the surface of abilities, with these five described above. In Part 5, we will continue our preview with descriptions of the remaining abilities included in the LAW master set. Later, you can expect a deeper investigation of these abilities, including strategies for their use and how they might interact with one another. Stay tuned…

 

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by in Design, Games

Legends At War

Welcome to Part 3 of our Legends At War rules preview. This time, we’re skipping ahead to reveal to you how the Battle system works in LAW. Battle is the heart and soul of this game, with the outcomes of battles shaping the evolution of players’ decks. In the end, winning battles is key to winning the war…

Chapter 9: Battle

The Battle Phase is common to all game modes, and is the most exciting part of a match! During a battle, players play their cards to open spaces, with the goal of controlling the most cards on the board when the phase is over. Once all players have finished building their decks and the board, the Battle Phase begins.

BATTLE BEGINS
At the start of a battle, each player shuffles their deck and draws 5 cards to their hand. Next, each player plays 1 card face down on the board, going in turn order. When a player plays their card, they put a control token on it. A card that is played face down cannot be placed adjacent to another face down card.

Once all players have played their face down cards, flip those cards over so that they are face up. Then apply card abilities as necessary. All Ranged Attack, Skinwalker, and Maneuver abilities are negated for this turn. No card may attack another card on this turn.

In the Ragnarok Campaign game mode, cards are only played face down at the beginning of Round 1’s battle. During later rounds of this mode, all cards are played face up. This also means that during rounds 2 and 3, the first card played by each player can attack other cards and does not have its Ranged Attack, Skinwalker or Maneuver abilities negated.

TURNS
For the remainder of the battle, players take turns playing their cards on open board spaces. Every turn has the following steps, performed in this order:

1)     Play a Card

2)     Apply Pre-Attack Abilities

3)     Resolve Attacks

4)     Apply Post-Attack Abilities

5)     Draw a Card

Step 1) Play a Card – If a player has any cards remaining in their hand, they must play one to an open board space. When a player plays a card, they place a control token on that card to mark that they control it. Any cards controlled by the same player are allied to each other. Any cards which are not controlled by the same player are enemy cards.

Step 2) Pre-Attack – Apply any Pre-Attack Abilities belonging to the card that was played. If the space where the card was played is in the area of effect of any Pre-Attack Persistent Abilities, those abilities are also applied. All of these abilities occur simultaneously.

Step 3) Resolve Attacks – The card played on this turn will attack all enemy cards that are within its attack range. A card’s attack range consists of the four spaces adjacent to it: north, south, east, and west. If a card has the Ranged Attack ability, its attack range will include additional spaces.

When an attack occurs, compare the values of the stats on the touching edges of the attacking and defending cards. For example, if the attack is coming from the north, then the attacker’s south stat will be compared to the defender’s north stat. If the attack is coming from the west, then the attacker’s east stat will be compared to the defender’s west stat, etc…

If the defender’s stat is greater than or equal to the attacker’s stat, then the attack fails and the defending player maintains control of their own card. If the attacker’s stat is greater than the defender’s stat, then the attack is successful and the defending card is captured. The attacker places their control token on the newly captured card, replacing the previous control token.

Attacking an enemy card within attack range is automatic – players cannot choose to skip an attack. If multiple cards are being attacked during this step, all of these attacks occur simultaneously. Normally, only cards played on the current turn can capture other cards, because defending cards cannot counter-attack. The Web ability is an exception to this rule, because cards with this ability will counter-attack if an attack against them fails. The Traitor ability is another exception to this rule, because it causes a captured card to launch its own attacks against additional enemy cards.

Step 4) Post-Attack – Apply any Post-Attack Abilities belonging to the card that was played. If the space where the card was played is in the area of effect of any Post-Attack Persistent Abilities, those abilities are also applied. If any cards were captured during the previous step, apply any other abilities on the board as necessary, based on the new allegiance of those cards. All of these abilities occur simultaneously.

Step 5) Draw a Card – The player draws 1 card from their deck to their hand. The turn ends and passes to the next player going clockwise.

BATTLE’S END
The Battle Phase ends when either there are no more open spaces on the board, or no player has cards remaining in their hand. The end of a battle is the end of that round. The winner of the round is the player who controls the most cards on the board at the end of the battle. This player will go first during the next round.

 

Chapter 10: Resolving Ties

Sometimes a battle will end in a tie. A tie happens when more than one player controls the highest number of cards on the board at the end of a battle. To determine the winner when this happens, each player in the tie adds up the total of the levels of the cards they control on the board. The tied player with the highest level count wins that round.

If the level count also results in a tie, then it is a “complete tie.” All players in the complete tie are considered to have won the round. Going clockwise, the player in the complete tie who is sitting furthest away from the player who went first during this round, will go first during the next round. In the Pantheon Campaign game mode, if a complete tie occurs, no player gets the victory card for that round. At the end of a match, if a complete tie occurs, then all players tied for the level count win the match.

 

And that’s a wrap on Part 3! As you can see, the game mechanics of LAW‘s battle system are actually quite simple. The depth is found in players deciding where to place their cards for current and future advantage, and in how the different abilities interact with one another (more on that in the future…) Clever choices when drafting and building your deck will give you a leg up on your opponents, but ultimately it is the moment-to-moment decisions of card placement that make the biggest difference between winning and losing.

In future posts, images of example battles will give you a visual guide to how cards are placed and captured. Coming up in Part 4 of the rules preview, we will talk about card abilities. Abilities have fun and interesting consequences for players’ choices during battles, and can have a huge impact on your deck-building strategy. Until then, if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contribute!

 

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by in Design, Games

Welcome back! In Part 2 of our Legends At War rules preview, we skip ahead to…

Chapter 5: The Boards

LAW is played on a grid of spaces where players place their cards. Through the course of a match, the players create and expand this grid by combining modular board pieces. Each board piece contains six spaces arranged in different shapes.

In most game modes, the board size is 1 modular piece (6 spaces) per player in the game. In the Ragnarok Campaign mode, the board size begins with 1 piece (6 spaces) per player, and at the beginning of each round is expanded by an additional piece per player.

When creating the board for a match, the first player places their piece down in whatever orientation they choose, and decides which direction is north. Either the top or bottom end (short edges) of a space may be chosen to be north. Once chosen by the first player, that direction will be north for the remainder of the match. Cards must be placed down according to that orientation, with the north (top) stat of a card always facing north on the board.

Subsequent players must place their board pieces so that at least two spaces on the new board piece touch edges with spaces already placed down. A new board piece may be rotated 180 degrees as the player desires, but may not be rotated 90 degrees. In other words, short edges of spaces cannot be placed against the long edges of other spaces. See the board diagram for a visual guide of these placement rules:

LAW board placement example

LAW board placement example

LAW board placement example

LAW board placement example

Each board piece is double-sided, and the player placing a piece chooses which side to lay face up. The “Alpha” side is intended for beginning players, and has no special spaces. The “Omega” side is intended for intermediate and advanced players. An Omega side has one or more special spaces marked with ability symbols and different borders. When a card is placed on one of these spaces, it gains the ability from that space, in addition to whichever ability the card already has.

Some of these special spaces have a dominion symbol instead of an ability symbol. If a card with a matching dominion is placed on that space, it gains a +1 bonus to all of its stats. If a card whose dominion does not match the symbol is placed on that space, it gets a -1 penalty to all of its stats.

Example #1: A Sky card is placed on a space with the Sky symbol. That card gains a +1 bonus to all of its stats.

Example #2: An Earth card is placed on a space with the Sky symbol. That card gets a -1 penalty to all of its stats.

 

That concludes Part 2 of the rules preview. As you can see, the possibilities for dynamic board shapes based on the players’ choices is vast! The example images depict just a few of the board pieces that are available. Pieces also come in “S” shapes, “T” shapes, stepped shapes, and more. The varied configurations that these boards can make when combined will allow players to start crafting their strategies before they have laid down a single card.

Coming up in Part 3, is a preview of the Battle system – the real meat of this game! In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions concerning the rules in the first two previews, I’d love to hear them. Stay tuned…

 

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by in Design, Games

Legends At War, our card game of mythic strategy, has really taken shape over the past summer. What was a great idea is now a great game. Game mechanics have been added, deleted, or refined as needed, and the cards have gone through initial balancing. These refinements came as a result of testing and more testing. That’s not going to stop. In order to make sure that this game is as fun and balanced as possible, I intend to have it playtested right up until it goes to print.

One of the biggest challenges in designing a game is writing the rules – specifically, writing the rules so that people other than the designer can understand them. LAW was playable long before an official rules document existed, but needed me present to explain to participants how it is played. A complete draft of the rules has finally been written, so others can now pick the rules apart and play the game on their own, without needing me as the designer to be there. This beta-version of the rulebook will soon be made public for all fans of the game to delve into and dissect. I’d like to give GAME-O-GAMI supporters the first look, by releasing a multi-part preview of the rules here on the dev blog. Part 1 of our rules preview is from…

Chapter 1: The Character Cards

The LAW master set will include 72 character cards, divided among four pantheons. Each card represents a different mythological being. Some are gods of creation, others are gods of destruction. Some are terrifying monsters, others are legendary heroes. All of these beings are yours to command in battle. Depending on which game mode you are playing, you will either begin with a pre-determined deck of cards, or draft your deck from a selection of cards.

Here is an example of one of the 72 character cards included in the master set. Note that the graphic design on this card, including icons, typography, and stat frames, is a work-in-progress and will be replaced with more refined visuals before the game is released.

Legends At War - card diagram

Every character card has the following set of attributes, depicted in the example above:

Name – A card’s name is found near the bottom, above the South Stat. This has no effect on how the game is played.

North Stat – This is the number at the top edge of the card. When resolving an attack, this stat is compared to the South Stat of the adjacent card to the north.

East Stat - This is the number on the right edge of the card. When resolving an attack, this stat is compared to the West Stat of the adjacent card to the east.

South Stat - This is the number at the bottom edge of the card. When resolving an attack, this stat is compared to the North Stat of the adjacent card to the south.

West Stat – This is the number on the left edge of the card. When resolving an attack, this stat is compared to the East Stat of the adjacent card to the west.

Compass Stats – The Compass Stats are the four numbers in the top left corner of the card. These numbers are duplicates of the four directional stats, to be used as an easy reference when you have multiple cards in your hand.

Dominion – Each card belongs to one of three dominions: Earth, Sea, or Sky. Each has a tendency towards different abilities and stat strengths, and a card’s dominion may affect its interaction with some abilities. Dominions are also used to divide the cards into different draft piles in the “Ragnarok” game mode. The top-most of the three symbols in the bottom left is a card’s dominion symbol.

Pantheon - Each card belongs to one of several pantheons. In the master set, the pantheons are Greek, Norse, American, and Japanese. Each has a tendency towards different abilities and stat strengths. In the “Pantheon” game mode, each player chooses a different pantheon to play as. The middle of the three symbols in the bottom left is a card’s pantheon symbol.

Level – A card’s level is an indication of its relative power to other cards. In each of the different game modes, there are rules for how many cards of each level a player can use to build their deck, and when they can do so. There are three levels: I, II, and III. The bottom-most of the three symbols in the bottom left is a card’s level. The back of each card also shows its level.

Ability - Most cards have one of many special abilities. These abilities provide advantages in certain situations, and can twist the normal rules of the game to fit your strategy. A card’s ability is depicted as an icon in the lower-center, above the card’s Name.

 

That concludes Part 1 of our rules preview! What do you think so far? Can you think of a better layout for this information on the cards?

With each new preview, you will have a clearer understanding of how the game is played. When the rules have been released completely, we’ll ask for your help in editing them so that they are as clear and streamlined as possible. After that, a call will go out for remote beta-testers – testers who will help refine Legends At War until it reaches true awesomeness, and hopefully, will have a ton of fun while doing so. Stay tuned for Part 2!

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by in Art, Design, Games
Legends At War - Artemis

Artemis by Monika Palosz

The master set for Legends At War includes four factions (Pantheons) which the game’s various characters are divided into. Each of these factions represents the myths and legends of a particular world culture, and will have a distinct gameplay flavor all their own. The first of these four factions that we will be talking about is the Greek Pantheon.

The Greek Pantheon includes the Olympian gods, the terrible monsters of Greek mythology, and the heroes who fought against them. In Legends At War, every legendary character is represented by their own card. The cards from this Pantheon are usually strongest when attacking towards the south. Their special abilities tend to have a longer range than most, allowing them to hug the edges and corners of the battlefield and still cover much ground. This includes granting attack/defense support to their allies, dispelling enemy abilities, and even capturing enemy cards at range. The emphasis on range comes with a drawback: their cards tend to be weak on certain flanks, making them less suited to jumping right into the center of a battle than some of the other factions.

Each Pantheon will include eighteen characters, divided into three Dominions of power: Sky, Sea, and Earth (more on that later.) The cards within each Dominion are sorted into increasing Levels, which determine their power, their value, and when they can enter the game. So one Dominion of one Pantheon has three Level I cards, two Level II cards, and one Level III card. (6 cards x 3 Dominions = 18 cards… 18 x 4 Pantheons = 72 total cards!!!)
Below is the list of Greek characters included in the master set:

Legends At War - Perseus

Perseus by Xia Taptara

Sky Dominion
Level III
Zeus

Level II
Apollo
Artemis

Level I
Perseus
Heracles
The Sphinx

 

Sea Dominion
Level III
Poseidon

Level II
Athena
Aphrodite

Legends At War - Aphrodite

Aphrodite by Xia Taptara

Level I
Theseus
Centaurs
Harpies

 

Earth Dominion
Level III
Hades

Level II
Hephaestus
Ares

Level I
Medusa
Cerberus
The Minotaur

 

It’s very likely that a few of your favorite characters from Greek mythology are not included in this list. What that means is that we have much room for expansion! World mythology is a deep well of inspiration for a game like this. This powerful theme will allow LAW to grow and evolve as long as players want it to. You can help shape that evolution by telling us what you want to see. What are your favorite myths and legends? Which beloved heroes and terrible monsters do you want to see go to war with the characters we’ve revealed so far?
More to come!

 

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by in Art, Design, Games
Legends At War - Thor

Thor by Monika Palosz

I am very excited to reveal to you GAME-O-GAMI’s next big game in development!

Legends At War is a card game of mythic strategy. At the edge of time and imagination, an epic war is being waged. Born from the dreams and nightmares of mankind, legendary beings and creatures are uniting to crush their enemies. Strategy, power, and betrayal force allegiances to shift… until one alliance dominates the rest!

In Legends At War, 2 to 4 players build armies of legendary gods, heroes, and monsters. These armies are drafted from three shared decks of cards, representing different dominions of power: Earth, Sea, and Sky. In addition to its dominion, each card is also associated with a different pantheon – the base set includes characters from Norse, Greek, Japanese, and Native American mythologies. Each card has a distinct combination of numbers on its four edges, representing its attack and defense power in those directions. Many cards also have special abilities which allow them to strengthen their allies, weaken their enemies, or bend the normal rules of the game.

Legends At War - Medusa

Medusa by Xia Taptara

When all players have finished drafting their hands, they take turns placing their cards on a modular grid board. Players can take control of their opponents’s cards on the board by placing their own cards on an adjacent space north, south, east, or west. The numbers on the cards’ touching sides are then compared. If the defender’s number is higher, the opponent keeps his card. If the attacker’s number is higher, then the card is successfully captured and now belongs to the player. Special abilities of each card in play can influence these results or cause a sequence of cards to be captured. The goal of the game is to be the player controlling the highest number and value of cards on the board once all cards have been played.

Legends At War features multiple game modes. It can be played as a single-round Skirmish, or as a multiple-round Campaign where players can upgrade their armies by sacrificing cards they capture, in order to draft more powerful cards to use in the next round. The Pantheon game mode gives each player control of a themed pantheon deck, while Ragnarok mode allows players to mix and match characters from the different pantheons. With an expanding list of pantheons and modular board pieces to choose from, LAW is a game you can play again and again with your friends.

Legends At War - Athena

Athena by Xia Taptara

In development since January 2011, the game is designed by David Luis Sanhueza (me.) The mythical characters featured in LAW are being beautifully brought to life by popular fantasy concept artists, including Xia Taptara of idrawgirls.com fame, and Monika Palosz a.k.a. saharaam. These images, and the new wallpapers, give you just a sample of the brilliant artwork being created for this project. We plan to bring the game to Kickstarter later this year, and if successfully funded, get it into the hands of excited gamers by early 2013. I am really looking forward to revealing more about the game as it develops, and giving you more sneak peaks at the rules and the artwork. If you have ideas, questions, or suggestions, then let’s get the conversation started! Thank you very much,

- David

 

Legends At War - The Minotaur

The Minotaur by Xia Taptara

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