After mulling over the earlier ideas I had for the 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest, I decided to shelve them and pull out an older idea that needed some work.
In particular, over the past few years a specific, epic game idea has been crystallizing in my head (and google docs folder). The design is modular, so that the core game is rather simple and streamlined but easy to expand upon in game-changing, exception-based ways, like in Alhambra, Carcassonne, or the brilliant expansions to the Lord of the Rings cooperative game, which are really what I'd like to emulate.
That project is a futuristic global paramilitary simulation, inspired by a popular and regularly adapted video game.
Glancing at that project, I realized that one module in particular, the squad management portion, was essentially a solitaire exercise. Wouldn't it be rewarding, then, to flesh out how that module might work (because if it's not fun, why bother with it) and build it as a standalone game?
And so, Terror Mission: SWAT Team Manager was born. I've always loved the idea of a game where SWAT team guys get to fight lovecraftian monsters, and I haven't seen that theme, despite it being kind of awesome.
Right now, the game is in its preliminary idea phase; I'm mulling over different ideas for how it will come together, but essentially it will be a risk management game. You'll face a handful of deadly monsters at a time, allocate your squads however you think they will be most effective, and roll a few dice to see what happens.
Besides combat, other choices will revolve about how you'll develop your force. Do you hire a lot of cannon fodder and win through attrition? Train a few super-soldiers who can handle mobs of monsters on their own? Discover and exploit the enemy's weaknesses?
There should be plenty of paths to victory (which vary in effectiveness based on how the game plays out). Additionally, the difficulty must increase in a variety of ways, ensuring each game has new challenges to consider.
For example, a certain monster could have a more powerful close-range attack, or a terrifying psychic wail that scatters your squads. As the game progresses, maybe it would gain both of those abilities. Or it could gain two completely different ones.
Ideally, every game will play out differently (and not just based on whether your soldiers die!), and require a smart strategy (as well as luck) to succeed. I'm aiming for a length of about 10-20 minutes.
The contest entry thread for Terror Mission can be found here: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Terror Mission (Contest Ready)