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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Works in Progress

Subject: [WIP] Maximum Apocalypse DevLog rss

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Mike Gnade
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As I did with Brass Empire, I plan on starting to blog about the development of my cooperative roguelike game Maximum Apocalypse. I'm not sure how much I will get to before GenCon, but I did put together the first promotional slide for GenCon's FEPH today. It's the first time some of the early art for Maximum Apocalypse has been shown off:
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Charilaos Bacharis
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You had me at roguelike
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Mike Gnade
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Yeah it's pretty sweet. With a different map/layout and game every time you play, it should have immense replayability when it's done. I'll take some pictures as GenCon to post here afterwards.
 
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Mike Gnade
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I got a lot of great play tests in for Maximum Apocalypse at GenCon. Everyone really enjoyed it even though a few teams failed their mission and got eaten by zombies or starved to death. Here's a picture of one of my favorite demos of the weekend:

I hope to have some first drafts of our cards with final art soon but in the meantime this should be a good tease for the current prototype.
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Mike Gnade
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Time for a proper start to this devlog before I head off to PAX West (if you come by Room 208, you can playtest the early prototype).

Heyo!

My name is Mike Gnade (designer of Brass Empire ...which just came out). I'm here to talk about my co-op roguelike game tentatively titled Maximum Apocalypse. I've been working on Maximum Apocalypse for over 2 years now and have started from scratch on the basic premise of a survival horror co-op game at least 3 times during the process. It wasn't until I took the current prototype to Unpub that I verified all the mechanics were working and fun. Since then, I've been playtesting my current prototype at the Philly Game Makers Guild, GenCon and other events that I've been attending to build buzz on the game since it officially entered the art production phase.

Just to recap:

Design Start Date: November 2014
Art Production started: May 2016
Playtests of current prototype: 15ish

Maximum Apocalypse is a 2-4+ player co-op game that has your team of survivors tackling a mission during a certain apocalypic scenario. The game is designed to be very modular and have a ton of replayability. Like many roguelike video games, the map is randomly built each time you play and the loot pickups are randomized as well so every game is different. Along with the map, there will be several different apocalyptic scenarios and missions to choose from (Zombie Apocalypse, Nuclear Fallout, Alien Invasion, etc). There are currently 4 survivor classes (with more that I'm working on) in the current prototype:

1. The Hunter - starts out completely defenseless but has the ability to scout the landscape without triggering potentially harmful events. Eventually her deck allows you to craft a bow and she's also excellent at scavenging for food and helping control the group's ever growing hunger levels.

2. The Fireman - the tank of the party, the fireman has the most health and a lot of protective gear to help shield him from monster attacks. He can also become quite deadly at short range once he equips his mighty axe.

3. The Gunslinger - sort of the versatile mid-range damage dealer of the group, he relies heavily on ammunition which is a dwindling resource but can inflict massive damage. He can also make some tactical decisions and help other players take actions outside of their turns.

4. The Vet & his dog - two characters in one - the old grizzled vet and his dog work together and can do different things based on if they're both alive or if one is dead. The dog is excellent at scouting and scavenging for resource and biting monsters but is very frail. The Vet can protect the dog and has some old weapons he can equip, but if the dog dies goes a bit nutty.

As far as art goes, we are aiming for a graphic novel / comic book style that you can take an early look at in a recent blog post: http://www.rockmanorgames.com/2016/08/game-design-our-art-pr...

I look forward to answering questions and talking about this game more as it develops!

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Mike Gnade
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In my last post, I talked about some of the survivor classes in the game. Each survivor has their own unique deck of actions and equipment. I thought it would be fun to talk a little bit about the anatomy of each of these card types. The examples below both come from the Fireman's survivor deck.

First up, your survivor has Gear:

 


Gear stays in play until it is destroyed or dropped. Each survivor can only has enough slots to carry up to 3 Gear. The amount of slots a card takes up is denoted in the upper right by the number on the backpack. Equipping a piece of gear costs an action and then activating/using a piece of Gear takes an action. The bottom of the card displays the range of the action (if applicable) and then the card description or effect. The Lighter isn't the best example since it is discarded after you use it, but it's likely to change and it's what we have right now.

The other type of cards in a survivor deck are Instant Action cards:


 


When you play an Instant Action card, it goes immediately in your discard pile and your perform the effects/actions of the card. Instants are denoted by the lightning bolt symbol. They also have a range displayed in blue if applicable and then what the card does is described in the text below. In this example, the flare draws all monsters in range to the Fireman. This is actually a combo example for the fireman where he draws a large horde of monsters in front of him and then uses the lighter to deal damage to all of them.

That's it. As you can see, I'm trying to keep the cards simple and easy to understand. Obviously the layout and effects of these cards are subject to change a bit, but these will be the only two card types in a Survivor's Deck.

Keep up to date on the game at rockmanorgames.com
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Mike Gnade
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We are making a lot of progress on the art production for the game:


We've completed the entire deck for the Fireman and have a set of monsters completed. We're currently working on all the scavenge cards (stuff that you find when you're out and about foraging for scraps) and some of the map tiles.

I'm going to start working on a overview video of the current prototype for our PAX South submission very soon.
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Mike Gnade
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Here's the first video Sneak Peak of Maximum Apocalypse and it's early prototype:

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Mike Gnade
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This past weekend I attended Metatopia and got in 3 awesome playtests of Maximum Apocalypse. The game certainly worked as-is but because Metatopia is focused so much on game design, I got a lot of great feedback and was able to experiment on some things from playtest to playtest. I also got to test out the new Mechanic and Surgeon classes for the first time. Most of what I worked on was solidifying a player's turn sequence and streamlining some rules. All in all I got some really positive feedback about the game. Other than discussing player turn sequence, all the feedback was really focused on minor language things and fixes on cards. Great stuff to find now but easy fixes.

Before Metatopia, the standard player turn sequence was:

Increase your hunger
Spawn Monsters
Take 4 actions where 1 of them had to be moving or drawing a card
Move 1 space
Draw a card from your Survivor deck
Play a card from your hand
Perform an action from one of your cards in play
Scavenge: Draw a Scavenge card based on your current location (if able)
End turn and take damage

After my first demo, I got some feedback on the economy of actions and forcing players to move/draw. This restriction was never intended but cropped up after some other playtests. For my next playtest, I increased player freedom a bunch. I not only changed it to ANY 4 actions but I also let players pick the order that they went in every round. They loved creating their own order but it definitely slowed the game down a bit.



This batch of players really loved the game and played an additional 2 hours of the game after our allotted 2 hour block. They also managed to squeak out a win despite being overwhelmed by zombies and on the brink of starvation near the end of the game. They played the cards really well and setup some awesome combos between each character. It was a truly epic win.

The game ran long though and seemed a little hard even with some of their unlucky dice rolls. They also frequently forgot to increase their hunger and spawn monsters before their turn so for the final playtest I experimented with a new player turn sequence:

Draw a card from your deck
Take 4 actions where 1 of them had to be moving or drawing a card
Move 1 space
Draw a card from your Survivor deck
Play a card from your hand
Perform an action from one of your cards in play
Scavenge: Draw a Scavenge card based on your current location (if able)
Increase your hunger
End turn and take damage
Spawn Monsters

This led to the game being a little too easy. While I did give players effectively a new action, the real problem was that the monsters were appearing late in your turn and wouldn't crop up and surprise you at the beginning of your turn forcing you to change your strategy. I had another great discussion with these playtesters and got a lot of little things sorted out. I am currently leaning towards the following Player turn order after all these playtests and just finished updating my draft rules document:

Turn Sequence

Spawn Monsters
Roll two dice and place a monster token on any face up map tiles that match your number. If a player is currently occupying that tile, that player must draw a monster card. Note that all players occupying that map tile must draw a monster. Remember that no map tiles have the number 7 so that is a safe roll.

Draw a Card from your Survivor Deck
Take Actions
Take up to 4 actions listed below, in any combination. You may take the same action more than once:

Move 1 space
Draw a card from your Survivor deck
Play a card from your hand
Perform an action from one of your cards in play
Scavenge: Draw a Scavenge card based on your current location (if able)
Free Actions:

Once per turn as a free action, you may discard two of your Survivor cards to draw a new card from your Survivor Deck.
Once per turn as a free action, you can give or take a scavenge card from a player if you are both on the same space.
If you are on the Van tile, you may fuel up the car as a free action and discard any fuel you are carrying.
Increase your Hunger
Increase your hunger by 1. If you’re already starving, increase your hunger damage level.

End Turn
At the end of your turn, all of the monsters in front of you attack and deal damage.

If your hunger level is at 6, flip your character card over and take hunger damage. Hunger damage is irreducible and unavoidable. On subsequent turns, you will take more and more damage if you don’t eat.

I'm still not sure how I feel about resetting the turn order after every round. That's the only major rule still up in the air at this point, but I will take a look at it over our next few playtests...
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Samuel Bailey
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Looking good! Hope to try it sometimes soonish.
 
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Mike Gnade
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Let me get some more art done and some other things hammered out but then I will definitely get you the PNP.
 
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Mike Gnade
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Maximum Apocalypse was accepted into the tabletop showcase at MagFest in National Harbor, MD! Folks will be able to demo the game Thursday Jan 5 thru Saturday Jan 7th. I recently designed and ordered some promotional postcards for all the upcoming events in 2017:

The art production is coming along really nicely and we plan on doing some blind playtests starting in 2017. If you’re interested, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. I plan on blogging about more rules, card types and more soon so stay tuned!
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Dustin Culbertson
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Watched your video... This game looks great! Also subscribed to your mailing list. Looking forward to checking it out as it's developed!
 
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