Backpack Battles is my latest guilty pleasure game. It’s what I turn to when I need a bit of a break from work. I tend to always have some game of this nature that I play repeatedly while my backlog grows ever bigger. I’m going to go over something that this and Vampire Survivors, a previous obsession of mine, do very well and abstract it out into a FADT.

Crafting Completionism

Both games have very important crafting systems. To progress beyond a certain point in either game, it’s necessary for players to engage with these combinations and unlock powerful items. The trick here is to also present them as a source of completionism. By emphasizing this side of the crafting system, you get a lot of benefit for very little additional effort.

Backpack Battles screenshot

Backpack Battles shows you this recipe screen as you play and obviously breaks down the recipes into ones that you have completed and ones that you haven’t. You don’t need anything more than this to push a player into filling out the screen but it does two other useful things. The first is that it gives you multiple hints as to how to craft together the uncrafted recipes through silhouettes and placements. The second is that it gives you a permanent benefit to crafting a recipe by filling out details of completed recipes here so that you can reference it in further runs. All together, it provides a simple and effective reward system to complement the existing ladder and trophy systems.


  • Crafting System - Note that these systems have a discrete and fairly limited set of crafting options.
  • Runs - This pattern works best with games with self-contained runs. Runs should be small enough that you can only complete a few recipes in each run and small enough to make the toughest recipes very rare.


  • Bridges the Midgame - This gives players a progression system for the midgame once they’re familiar with the game but before the late game heavy optimizations.
  • Pushes Variety - Players will automatically find something that works well early into the game. This both encourages the player to try new strategies and soften the sting of losing while experimenting.
  • Multiple Goals - This gives players something to work towards even on a run that’s not going that well. You can hopefully get something out of a run that really isn’t coming together.

If you’re already making a run-based game with crafting, this is a fairly cheap, fairly easy way to give the players another progression system and incentivize experimentation all at once.