Desert Rogues was originally developed as a rougelite game inspired by the tarot and more hardcore roguelike games. The map was randomly generated, with event (major arcana) cards driving events in the game. Players traveled through a series of maps to the end goal, consuming energy as they moved. The combat system was adapted from the previous prototype game, We are the Swarm!
After several rounds of testing and refining the mechanics, we tested the art style and settled on a grunge Steampunk aesthetic, with a desert wasteland palette. The map was changed to a hexagon style, with a fixed map. Resource management is the critical part of the game, with movement costing energy, random and fixed events driving the action with a non-linear plot to drive the gameplay.