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Subject: 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Contest Ready rss

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N S.
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For your consideration, my entry in the 2013 Solitaire Print and Play Contest

Dungeon of Deadliest Evil is a solitaire adventure game that takes all the essential elements of a classic dungeon crawl, like slaying monsters, finding powerful artifacts, and exploring a multi-level dungeon, and packs them into an easy-to-learn game that sets up and plays in 20 minutes.

Game is finished and contest ready. Thank you to all who offered feedback along the way.

POST-CONTEST UPDATE: To download the improved, revised, and presumably final version of the game, go to the files section of the BGG entry for the game here

Dungeon of Deadliest Evil

The mad sorcerer Grislyk has stolen the Book of Lore from the elves and hidden it in his dungeon lair. As the elven warrior maiden Kora, you must brave three increasingly dangerous levels to recover the Book, destroy Grislyk’s magical Black Crucible, and slay the wizard himself. Magical artifacts will help you evade Grislyk’s traps and slay his army of goblins and skeletons, but you will also need your wits and a bit of luck, for knowing when to search, when to fight, and when to run is the only way to survive the DUNGEON OF DEADLIEST EVIL.

Totally optional box cover image, in PDF and in JPEG.
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B28DKltv7mT2ZVgyZkU3eHZHdnM/...
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B28DKltv7mT2aUZxeGd0VEhHb1E/...



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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil
I am almost guaranteed to try this. Looking forward to see how the game turns out.
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Scott Siedschlag
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil
SUBSCRIBED! I will definitely have to give this a go.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
Just realized that this game had components!

So we can playtest away then? Shoot, I need to finish my game first.
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N S.
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
Yes, please playtest away. I'm happy to answer any questions and receive any feedback.
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
Just printing the files out now. I'll get back to you in a day or two with some feedback.

Immediate thoughts, just from looking at the pages I've printed out.

- The tile graphics are really good. They capture a kind of Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf illustration vibe.

- The text on the cards is fairly hard to read. I can see that you were going for a gothic kind of look but I don't think that works at all for the body text. Card titles in it look good but I'd choose another font if I was you. It needs to be clean and clear and easy to read.

- I don't have some of the dice that are required so I'll probably find a web page or a phone app that rolls dice.

- You will probably be able to optimise some of the item cards. Perhaps you could devise an icon system that will allow you to have level 1, 2 and 3 effects on a single card. You'd need slightly less cards.

- I see that there are cards that say 'Nothing happens'. I don't think this is a good idea. Don't make me draw a card just tell me that nothing happens. At best, it's unexciting.

- I would put a description and a version number on each page of the components that describes what they are e.g. event cards v1.0

I know that the file names have descriptions but I just printed all the files at once.

All in all, first impressions are fairly positive. No doubt I'll have several suggestions once I've actually done some playtesting.
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
Just started playing the first turn.

1. Is it correct that on the first turn you cannot move as there is nowhere to move to? You draw a new tile after the movement phase and place it in front of the entrance. It would be useful if you point out in the rules the stuff has has to be skipped on the first turn, as there's nothing in play yet.

2. Does the Dungeon Entrance tile have a space? I can see that the other tiles have spaces but it's not clear if this one does. For the avoidance of any and all doubt, it would be useful if you show a graphic of a tile and point out what legal spaces are.

3. I'm a little hazy about adjoining tiles with arrow spaces. I think I get it but I can't be 100% sure. Again, a graphic would remove any doubt as to what is correct.

edit: I see that I confused drawing a new tile and then moving, due to it being mentioned after movement in the rules.

Also, I don't understand the Stairs Down rule at all. I've just drawn it as my third tile and I'm a little hazy about what to do. Could you provide a more detailed explanation. I have to say I really suck at understanding rules and will usually find ways to interpret them oddly or incorrectly
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
Me again.

Just a note to say that I see that the player does not necessary always want to go down the stairs when the stairs down is uncovered, as they may want to search for the other items on the current level that need to be destroyed. I had assumed that you'd always want to descend.

In my very brief play through so far, very little has happened (no doubt I've made several mistakes). I'm on level 2 already and have only had a couple of encounters due to the way the movement dice have turned out (both 4's). It's conceivable that the game could end in less than 5 minutes.

I see that the game is simple, and that's perfectly valid as a design approach, but I don't feel that I'm being given enough choices over my actions. I'm responding to events in a very limited way. I think the d4, d6 and d8 mechanic is kind of neat as a central driver for the action.

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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
mjrobertson wrote:
Just printing the files out now. I'll get back to you in a day or two with some feedback.

Immediate thoughts, just from looking at the pages I've printed out.

- The tile graphics are really good. They capture a kind of Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf illustration vibe.

- The text on the cards is fairly hard to read. I can see that you were going for a gothic kind of look but I don't think that works at all for the body text. Card titles in it look good but I'd choose another font if I was you. It needs to be clean and clear and easy to read.

- I don't have some of the dice that are required so I'll probably find a web page or a phone app that rolls dice.

- You will probably be able to optimise some of the item cards. Perhaps you could devise an icon system that will allow you to have level 1, 2 and 3 effects on a single card. You'd need slightly less cards.

- I see that there are cards that say 'Nothing happens'. I don't think this is a good idea. Don't make me draw a card just tell me that nothing happens. At best, it's unexciting.

- I would put a description and a version number on each page of the components that describes what they are e.g. event cards v1.0

I know that the file names have descriptions but I just printed all the files at once.

All in all, first impressions are fairly positive. No doubt I'll have several suggestions once I've actually done some playtesting.
Thanks for the comments. It's so great to know people are taking an interest. I'll try to address all your points.
- The font. It's called Black Castle, and I really dig it because it has that black letter feel but is still pretty readable. I will consider changing the body text of cards to something even more readable though, if I get consistent feedback that it is an issue.
- I'm not sure what you mean about optimizing the item cards. Can you explain? When you have an item, a magical sword or whatever, its effect is the same no matter which level you are on.
- "Nothing happens." Okay, I'm pretty stubborn on these. You can only draw these on level I. Choosing to search has to carry some risk, otherwise you just go on autopilot and search at every opportunity. On Level I the risk is that you draw a Nothing Happens card and waste time, which means more monsters. On levels II and III the items are better but you can draw cards that are actually harmful.
- Version number on the files. Yes, I know I need to do this. The rules are a living document and I tweak them all the time, but you're right, I should number the version.
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
mjrobertson wrote:
Just started playing the first turn.

1. Is it correct that on the first turn you cannot move as there is nowhere to move to? You draw a new tile after the movement phase and place it in front of the entrance. It would be useful if you point out in the rules the stuff has has to be skipped on the first turn, as there's nothing in play yet.

2. Does the Dungeon Entrance tile have a space? I can see that the other tiles have spaces but it's not clear if this one does. For the avoidance of any and all doubt, it would be useful if you show a graphic of a tile and point out what legal spaces are.

3. I'm a little hazy about adjoining tiles with arrow spaces. I think I get it but I can't be 100% sure. Again, a graphic would remove any doubt as to what is correct.

edit: I see that I confused drawing a new tile and then moving, due to it being mentioned after movement in the rules.

Also, I don't understand the Stairs Down rule at all. I've just drawn it as my third tile and I'm a little hazy about what to do. Could you provide a more detailed explanation. I have to say I really suck at understanding rules and will usually find ways to interpret them oddly or incorrectly :D
1. You CAN move on the first turn. Are the rules adequate in explaining this or do you think I should reword something?
2. The Entrance tile is basically one big space. I will think about redesigning this if/when I do an overhaul of the tile art.
3. If you're placing a tile with an arrow, place it so you enter on the arrow. It has no effect on game play really, it just keeps the two L-corner pieces from causing a loop-around if you draw them back to back.
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
mjrobertson wrote:
Me again.

Just a note to say that I see that the player does not necessary always want to go down the stairs when the stairs down is uncovered, as they may want to search for the other items on the current level that need to be destroyed. I had assumed that you'd always want to descend.

In my very brief play through so far, very little has happened (no doubt I've made several mistakes). I'm on level 2 already and have only had a couple of encounters due to the way the movement dice have turned out (both 4's). It's conceivable that the game could end in less than 5 minutes.

I see that the game is simple, and that's perfectly valid as a design approach, but I don't feel that I'm being given enough choices over my actions. I'm responding to events in a very limited way. I think the d4, d6 and d8 mechanic is kind of neat as a central driver for the action.

Okay, you're absolutely right that this is not a deep, long game with tons of complex decisions. It's a quick, light, luck-based game, where you try to mitigate your luck from turn to turn with short term tactical decisions.

The point you make about choosing whether or not to go down to the next level is actually a good example. One of my design goals was to create a dungeon crawl game where choosing which way to go actually matters. Do you stay on level I, where the monsters are less dangerous but the items are less useful, or do you risk going downstairs where the best items are but where everything gets very dangerous? You will have to make this decision at least once each game, and it can be a crucial decision.

It's pretty common to get to Level II or even III without much combat, but things tend to ramp up pretty suddenly in my experience. I haven't seen a game end in 5 minutes, but I suppose it's possible with great rolls and the right card draws. My games tend to last 15-20 minutes. I want victory to be pretty elusive so do let me know if you think it's too easy.

STAIRS DOWN: Here's the deal. These tiles are essentially a T-intersection, and they're the only intersection in the game. If you go straight, you continue drawing tiles from the same stack. If you turn (that is, go down the stairs), you are now on the next lower Level, which means drawing tiles from that stack, searching from that deck, and referring to a different section of the Event cards. Does this make more sense? Do you think the rules need to be worded differently?

Thanks for playing!
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
Thanks for the explanations, things make more sense now. The rules would benefit from more formatting, using bold, numbering etc. Remember that you are totally clear about the rules whereas your testers have to work everything out and see how everything fits together. If anything can be misunderstood, it will be.

I had a thought about the Hall of Blades. At present some rooms have fixed effects but there is no reason why they couldn't be variable via face down tokens or a random card draw.
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
What do you think about allowing the player a certain number of attacks depending which die is linked to the combat stat. It feels a little off to be allowed to attack until you miss, especially if you miss on your first try.

Another thing is to add icons to describe certain tile abilities. Don't make the player look up the rules when the board can tell them what to do.

In the rules you refer to both movement and speed. Use one term only. I'm less tired than I was last night and on rereading the rules they are fairly clear. I would add page numbers.
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Santiago Eximeno
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
I've just suscribed. I'll download and test it in august.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
OK, I too just had my first playtest game. Here were my impressions

1) I love a dungeon crawl. This game really seems to nail the simple dungeon crawl feel. It seems like you put a lot of thought into how to streamline your game. The game flows fast and smooth. The game feels like it needs to play in about 20 -30 minutes. Perfect for a lunchtime game.

2) The rules are great. Didn't have a single problem with clarity and I can't think of anyway that I would have played it wrong.

3) In my 1.5 games, there really didn't seem to be much action for the first half of the game. I just kind of trounced right in and did my thing. Not sure if that is intended, or if that is something you want to / need to fix.

4) I would suggest that the game felt pretty easy. Granted, I didn't have a need to go to the third level or beat up skeletons during this game. I think that might have been the luck of the tiles that I drew. There might not be any incentive to go down to the third level of the dungeon in 1/3 of the games. Knowing that your best odds are to go fully search level 1 and level 2 because of that chance could mess with the game a bit. 1/3 of the games will never have that difficulty option.

5) Simple ways to improve the difficulty. Reduce the health of Cora. (maybe she starts with 3 HP). Then change it so that the only healing potions are in the third level dungeon.

6) Mordok needs to be more badass. Maybe he rolls a d10 or has more hit points. It felt pretty strange to beat up the major baddie in the game with one roll of the dice. Just my opinion.

Hope this input helps.
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
Thanks for the awesome session report. This is exact the kind of thing I need. I'm going to wait until I've heard from more testers before I mess with the difficulty setting, since 1.5 games is too small a sample size to really draw conclusion from.

I'm aware that 1/3 of the time you will not need to visit level 3 and am totally comfortable with that design choice.

I'm not convinced that fully searching level 1 is always the best strategy, but you may have a point. That's why the really good items are only in the lower levels.

I get what you mean about fighting Grislyk, but when you encounter him with only a few hit points left, which is often the case, he's quite deadly. Still, if people think he's too easy I can buff him.

About the first part of the game feeling slow. This is also partly by design, but may need fine tuning. I never liked dungeony games where there is just non-stop combat and mayhem. I wanted to create a game where things can feel pretty quiet and then suddenly get nasty. A good dungeon crawl is all about not knowing what's in the next room, so if you know that it's going to be another trap and another monster it starts to feel pretty dull. For me, there needs to be some turns where not much happens, but having just the right amount of that is the tricky part of course.

Thanks for playing.
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
Just checking, you are advancing monsters after you search AND during the advance monsters phase right?
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
I did during the first half game. My 3.5 year old son kind of destroyed any chance of finishing that game.

I did forget those rules the first full game that I played. So that might increase the difficulty a bit. Will playtest the game again soon.

One thing that could be improved would be to add "(and advance monster track)" to the search part of the player aid. It is a simple game, but I don't think I would be the only person to miss that detail. You obviously thought I missed it so that would be a sign that it is easy to miss.
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Adam Stapley
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
Just a quick note on skimming the rules, for Grislyk you say "He attacks again and again until his attack is blocked."

I think it would be more appropriate to say "Each time Grislyk's attack is not blocked, another attack from him is rolled immediately."

This fits an intuitive and recognized "if, then" format. Also, it more closely matches the wording of other games your audience may have played. Other than that it looks great! I might try it when I return to school.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
AtStapley wrote:
Just a quick note on skimming the rules, for Grislyk you say "He attacks again and again until his attack is blocked."

I think it would be more appropriate to say "Each time Grislyk's attack is not blocked, another attack from him is rolled immediately."

This fits an intuitive and recognized "if, then" format. Also, it more closely matches the wording of other games your audience may have played. Other than that it looks great! I might try it when I return to school.

I actually liked the original wording of the text. It felt very intuitive and natural. This second wording seems very mechanical. Granted that might be good for rules, but the original rules are worded very well and feel fluid and natural whereas the second wording feels like it was written by an engineer.
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Kris Barton
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
radchad wrote:
AtStapley wrote:
Just a quick note on skimming the rules, for Grislyk you say "He attacks again and again until his attack is blocked."

I think it would be more appropriate to say "Each time Grislyk's attack is not blocked, another attack from him is rolled immediately."

This fits an intuitive and recognized "if, then" format. Also, it more closely matches the wording of other games your audience may have played. Other than that it looks great! I might try it when I return to school.

I actually liked the original wording of the text. It felt very intuitive and natural. This second wording seems very mechanical. Granted that might be good for rules, but the original rules are worded very well and feel fluid and natural whereas the second wording feels like it was written by an engineer.

How about some middle ground. Less mechanical, but still conversational. "Grislyk attacks you repeatedly without mercy until one of his attacks are blocked." ?
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
BigDumbYak wrote:
radchad wrote:
AtStapley wrote:
Just a quick note on skimming the rules, for Grislyk you say "He attacks again and again until his attack is blocked."

I think it would be more appropriate to say "Each time Grislyk's attack is not blocked, another attack from him is rolled immediately."

This fits an intuitive and recognized "if, then" format. Also, it more closely matches the wording of other games your audience may have played. Other than that it looks great! I might try it when I return to school.

I actually liked the original wording of the text. It felt very intuitive and natural. This second wording seems very mechanical. Granted that might be good for rules, but the original rules are worded very well and feel fluid and natural whereas the second wording feels like it was written by an engineer.

How about some middle ground. Less mechanical, but still conversational. "Grislyk attacks you repeatedly without mercy until one of his attacks are blocked." ?
Sorry for neglecting my thread here for so long. You've given me something to think about. It seems that you all understood what I meant here, which is the important thing, so I think I'll leave the wording alone for now.

I'd love to hear a few more playtest reports before I make any adjustments to the rules. Things like adding icons, changing the font, or otherwise changing the art all fall into the category of cosmetic improvements, which I'm not too worried about right now. In the end I think there will be a big graphic design and art overhaul anyway. I've got a talented friend who is on board for this.

The most important things I'm trying to figure out now are:
Is the game fun?
Do the rules teach you to play correctly?
Is it too easy or too hard?

Thanks for all the interest.
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Derek H
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
Quick question: is the Dungeon of Ultimate Evil a homage or tribute to the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness from Time Bandits (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Bandits)??
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
A subconscious influence perhaps? Time Bandits happens to be one of my favorite all time movies.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: WIP 2013 solitaire PnP contest Dungeon of Deadliest Evil. Components Ready
This game will probably be my next vassal module after I am done with my game. Any objections?
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