Helix

Graphic design, Video Game
Designer | Artist Frank Lantz
Year 2011
URL
Keywords

Helix is a two-player trading-card game currently under development. Players send in swabs of saliva; the designers send it out to be analyzed and then generate a customized 50-card deck from each player’s specific DNA. With these cards, two players can engage in tabletop warfare, pitting their personal resources against each other in duels that reward strategy and decision making but are limited by genetic reality. Customized down to the most detailed level, the deck becomes a literal, pocket-sized copy of genetic code. But only part of the story is told with cards—a genetic tendency (obesity, alcoholism, longevity) may be present in a player’s deck, but having the trait doesn’t necessarily mean that it is expressed. The deck allows players to become shadow versions of themselves, with all their genetic cards on the table, and in the game, as in reality, life depends on how the cards are played, not on which cards are dealt. The effects of any trait depend on the player; the challenge of the game is how to contend with or take advantage of it. A player with a great deck can still lose if the game is played without strategy, and a skilled player with a weaker deck can win.