Shawn Main

#228 Shawn Main Talks Legends of Runeterra

Designing Thematic Games


Dirk and David discuss the card game Legends of Runeterra with designer Shawn Main. This upcoming game will be Riot’s follow up to the wildly popular League of Legends. They chat about capturing some of League of Legends’ thematic and gameplay beats despite the completely different game genre, and Shawn finishes up with a brief discussion of his time working on Magic the Gathering.

Episode Outline

01:12 A brief overview of Legends of Runeterra and how it fits in with League of Legends

04:48 Dirk admits to being a Teemo player in League of Legends, and Shawn talks about translating League champions like Teemo to a card game.

12:49 The design risk of alternate win conditions and combos in a collectible card game

18:06 Further discussion on capturing the essence of champions and themes from League of Legends

24:05 Comparing the target audience for a MOBA with the strategy card game enthusiast

31:46 How Legends of Runeterra found a reaction system balanced between the complex stack system of Magic and
simpler digital CCGs.

36:01 Did the Legends of Runeterra design team consider the possibility of toxicity with its online systems?

41:00 How the burst spells in Legends of Runeterra impact common CCG elements like card advantage

46:58 Shawn’s atypical introduction to professional game design with Magic the Gathering

49:25 Designing mechanics to fit the optimistic steampunk theme of Kaladesh, a Magic set Shawn worked on.

53:17 Shawn’s advice for card game designers who want to design for theme

In this Episode

Shawn Main - @shawnmain
David V. Heron - @davidvheron
Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer

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