Game Design Blog: Creating 'Otherworld'

The trials and tribulations of a college student attempting to create a board game for a senior project.

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An introduction to

Thrall 1138
United States
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To Long Didn't Read™:
I am currently a senior in college and for my final project I am working on a board game that I would like to get published if people show interest. I have been working on it for a few weeks now and wanted to make a blog to get feed back from the community. I will be updating this blog every few days with new concepts or thoughts on the project.

Long version:
Hello there, Thrall1138 (or Threvlin as I go by on most other things these days) here with a new blog for your investigation. I've been a member of BGG for a few years now, but somehow I forgot I actually had an account and simply forgot to log in when I visited.

But here I am again, with a project and no avatar (oh well, I'll get the geek gold eventually I'm sure ) to present to you my notes so far on a board game I am creating for my senior project in college.

I've been working on concepts for board games for awhile now, one of which was based off of a certain popular genre of computer games you may be familiar with...

...but I eventually decided on something a bit less complicated and requiring so many components.

The idea of a game in which you create and in ways 'discover' your forces as you play has been rolling around in my head for awhile and I finally decided to use that as the basis for my project. As you play, you and your opponent would draw cards that would give you character 'aspects' that you could use as new characters, or would modify the other characters you already have on the field.

While interesting, I decided this was to broad and potentially complicated for what I wanted to do, so it is shelved for now. Instead, I have taken the basic idea and have been working on something new.

Here are the oldest card designs I have right now:

Yeah... still pretty complicated... You may notice some ideas hijacked from other games (as designers tend to do). I really like the damage system found in Warmachine where systems can be damaged by hitting specific points and wanted to do something similar here, and having two different kinds of fighting game style 'meter' (the calm and fury bars) seemed like a good idea at the time...

I simplified:

In the previous version, weapon cards would be added to the character cards, then aspect cards would influence... and... it was a mess. This card design was getting closer to my idea for a cleaner, leaner system (which I will explain as soon as I catch up to current designs).

Please note that all names, abilities, and stats are of course subject to change:

Here is my current character card design. I wanted to maximize the amount of room I could put art on the card, but still keep all the stats legible. Note: Stat letters will most likely be replaced with images somewhere down the road, but for the moment I wanted to make sure that stats could all be differentiated by one letter (H: Health, D: Defense, T: Toughness, S: Speed, M: Moral, A: Attack, P: Power, R: Range, F: rate-of-Fire)

The way I see the game playing currently is you have 1-6 players around the board, with decks of cards to the side:

Each player starts with a few simple cards and uses these cards to buy more cards from the spells and heroes decks. Now I know what you're thinking! Not another deck building game! Alright, fair enough, there are quite a few deck building games out there and many of them are extremely good. However, with this game I don't want the focus to be on the deck building itself. The deck building just gives you the resources to do battle on the board, which I see as a modular hex grid.

When you buy heroes, they are placed on the board to do battle with monsters. During their move, players can move/attack/activate one hero of theirs and one monster on the board. Each monster they kill gives them points. As players gain more points, the monsters get tougher, making it necessary to buy more advanced cards.

I believe the board should be modular so that players can choose what kind of terrain they want to play with, and also to make sure there is more re-playability.

Here is how I envision a two player game being set up:

As I think about the rules and test mechanics out, I will update this blog with more designs and concepts. Please let me know what you think about my ideas so far and feel free to ask what parts of the boards/cards/etc mean (I know I didn't explain everything, I just wanted to make sure I got my thoughts down in pixels). Also, please let me know if there's something I'm doing that doesn't comply with standard BGG operating procedure.

Have a good day!
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Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:22 pm
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