Crystallo — Creating an Award Winning Solitaire Puzzle

Fourtato Games
4 min readAug 2, 2019

From creating the game mechanics to designing the illustrations and running the Kickstarter, Crystallo was created by 1 person. Even when you don’t take into account the amount of awards that it has won, it is already an amazing feat. We had a chance to connect with Liberty from Light Heart Games to learn about how she started and created a solitaire puzzle game that has received 6 awards from the 2018 BGG Solitaire Print and Play contest. Her Kickstarter campaign also ended with more than 10 times her funding goal. This is how Crystallo was created.

Tell us about Crystallo?

Crystallo is an ultra-portable solo game, with a strong puzzle aspect. Six magical creatures have been imprisoned by a wicked dragon in his cavern lair. You place cards to make crystal sets, and each set you make allows you to remove one of the bonds (represented by pretty gems) that are trapping the creatures. If you manage to free all of them, you can go on to the second phase of the game and try to trap the wicked dragon in his own cave. It’s really quick to set up and easy to learn and play, but takes time, practice and strategy to master! Oh, and I think it’s quite pretty, too, but I’m biased

What was the inspiration behind creating a solo player strategy card game?

I was spending a lot of time on BoardGameGeek at the time, learning as much as I could while working on a different game. I saw the Solo PNP Contest and I was so intrigued, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had to try!

What was the process you used to create Crystallo?

One night I just grabbed a deck of cards and started sticking labels on them and about 48 hours later I had, more or less, Crystallo! I wish I remembered more of the process, but it all happened pretty quickly. I know I had just recently played SET for the first time, and I knew I wanted to incorporate some of that pattern building mechanic, albeit in a very different way. I started with a concept that would be played all in the hand, but that was pretty quickly abandoned and I moved to laying the cards on the table. The rest is…. pretty hazy, to be honest. I should really take notes on my thought process. I did find a piece of paper with a bunch of math and doodles from that first day, and I can see the bones of Crystallo in that, which was…trippy to look at all those months later. I did develop the game quite a bit more after the contest, with the help of the awesome folks on BGG.

What were the biggest challenges that you faced?

Hmmm. Good question. I think the artwork (which is still pretty simple) was quite ambitious for me at the time as I didn’t have a lot of experience with Illustrator, so I was doing things I didn’t really know how to do and just figuring it out as I went. And running the Kickstarter, that was enormously challenging, and a whole other level of figuring it out as I went. Really rewarding though. I can’t believe how many new skills I’ve learned in the last year throughout this process. And how many awesome people I’ve gotten to know!

What are your tips for someone who is looking to create their own card game?

I always give the same answer to this question — just start! It’s great to let ideas percolate for a while, but at some point you just have to get out a blank deck or cut some paper or whatever and start making cards. It’s like painting, nothing is more intimidating than a white canvas, so just make that first mark. I really like dry erase cards, they allow me to iterate quickly and without a lot of hassle, which means I don’t get attached and can adjust as needed during testing. And the other big one is, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The game design community is full of some of the smartest, most generous people I’ve met, and they can and will help you make your idea a reality.

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Fourtato Games

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