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Subject: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld - [Contest Ready] rss

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todd sanders
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Journey in the Underworld
Current Status - Contest Ready

Entry in the 2013 Solitaire Print and Play Contest

In your hubris you boasted that Death could never separate you and your beloved, just let him, Thanatos, try! That you would be ready come what may! That you held no fear!

You awake the next morning to an empty bed. Your first thought - Thanatos!

You grab sword and shield, give a brief prayer to Zeus, Ares and Athena, and begin the Journey in the Underworld swearing before the gods that you shall not rest until you find Thanatos and bring your beloved home!


Needed to Play: The deck of 54 cards, 1 eurocube marker and 15-20 six sided dice.




game files - http://aanpress.com/game/journey/
















previously on this thread -


i am starting a 2nd WIP thread here while the other game entry i am considering develops some knots i need to unknot

i've wanted to do a low ink card game for awhile now. in part to even out all the ink i cause everyone to use but also for the challenge of it.

for now this game loosely follows the story of Heracles rescuing Alcestis from Thanatos in the Underworld. in the game he'll battle various dead warriors and mythical monsters while visiting some of Hades' scenic places. all of these location and encounter cards will be shuffled together. so you'll know things are coming but not in what order.

Heracles and the monsters will roll dice in combat (the black circle number) and if Heracles wins he gains the resources on the bottom half of the card (black - strength, yellow - glory, purple - magic) which he can use to power up his magic artifacts. the kicker is: there are multiple icons and the player can only use one type on a card during combat. so there is some hand management. you begin the game with a number of resource cards that are double-sided.

game win will be defeating Thanatos who will be shuffled somewhere within the bottom 6 cards in the deck (48-54 card deck right now with some monster/warrior doubles).

game loss is death for heracles (tracked on his card)

the helm allows you to reroll any die
the belt lets you roll an additional die for every 6 rolled and add that to your total
shield gives you an extra combat die
9stand stuff right now)

things i don't quite have worked out yet:

what do the various locations in Hades do - will you have to spend glory and magic to defeat those places. or perhaps each location causes a certain number of warrior/monster cards to be drawn

how do multiple warriors/monsters attack (i think i will use the B-17: Queen of the Skies idea where if the enemy misses hitting you that unit is discarded)? i don't want the player to simply slog through card after card. [there will be multiple copies of the warrior cards to fill out the deck]

the game currently uses d6s. maybe dice should be ditched altogether and combat occurs simply through hand management

all in all it seems simple and i'd like a little more complexity in there, a puzzle to solve, a balancing of too few resources and too much to do.

i like the idea of a deck being drawn from - small footprint, easy to control game

but there needs to be more




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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Herakles in the Underworld
My name is Heracles, and I approve this game.


Quote:
game loss is death for heracles

Wait, what??
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todd sanders
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Herakles in the Underworld
ok how about the game loss is Heracles is utterly exhausted from his vacation in Hades and leaves for home without rescuing Alcestis
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All reality is a game. Physics at its most fundamental, the very fabric of our universe, results directly from the interaction of certain fairly simple rules, and chance; the same description may be applied to the best, most elegant and both intellec
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and aesthetically satisfying games. By being unknowable, by resulting from events which, at the sub-atomic level, cannot be fully predicted, the future remains malleable, and retains the possibility of change, the hope of coming to prevail; victory.
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Herakles in the Underworld
dumarest123 wrote:
ok how about the game loss is Heracles is utterly exhausted from his vacation in Hades and leaves for home without rescuing Alcestis

True, this doesn't quite roll off the tongue like the last one. I guess I will have to make sure never to play with any hyper competitive / ruleslawyery types...
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todd sanders
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Herakles in the Underworld
well it will be a solo game. you will have to be your own rules lawyer
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Herakles in the Underworld
As the hero is facing underworld adversaries perhaps you could look at things like infinite enemies that cannot really be killed and are constantly recycled or resurrected. Even though combat may take place the real goal seems to be exploration, rescue and escape from combat e.g. You can kill as many enemies as you like but it doesn't make any difference to your mission success.

I also like the idea of fusing enemy cards or enemy powers together to create interesting combos. A single deck of 54 cards should provide a huge game space as long as cards are multi functional on both sides.
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Herakles in the Underworld
further thoughts

i've been thinking more about the structure of the game

the 9 location cards could, in one idea, form the spine of the narrative. they are shuffled and you encounter them one by one. each has their own set of tasks - fight monsters and warriors (draw these from a separate deck in groups), spend might, magic and glory in various ways

the 9 location cards could be shuffled into all the other encounter cards and one by one you deal with them. when you get to a location card it is more of a reward, a pause in the game to recoup from the battles

the 9 location cards function like a Diablo style video game. they are encountered in a proscribed order and each location gets slightly harder. if you die, then game over or you reset yourself in some way and proceed onwards up to Thanatos, the big boss.

the reason behind killing the monsters and warriors is that they give you the resources to fuel your magic items which give you extra dice and rolls and so forth.

Michael makes the suggestion of giving the monsters certain powers that when encountered in groups add up in interesting AI driven ways. their aggregate randomness makes each game unique.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Herakles in the Underworld
dumarest123 wrote:


the 9 location cards could, in one idea, form the spine of the narrative. they are shuffled and you encounter them one by one. each has their own set of tasks - fight monsters and warriors (draw these from a separate deck in groups), spend might, magic and glory in various ways


Kind of like running a gauntlet then?
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Herakles in the Underworld
If you go for fusing enemy powers, I like the idea of say 3 very weak enemies fusing together to form a much stronger enemy. Perhaps this could be done via symbol matching or even symbol opposition.
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Herakles in the Underworld
oh that has a nice mythic chimera effect to it.

"and lo did Herakles encounter the dreaded Harpy-edusa, flying bird snake woman who turned cowards to stone with one gaze"
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Herakles in the Underworld
dumarest123 wrote:
oh that has a nice mythic chimera effect to it.

"and lo did Herakles encounter the dreaded Harpy-edusa, flying bird snake woman who turned cowards to stone with one gaze"

You have one "encounter", one! And then the whole ancient world keeps talking about it - I swear, being a demi-god is just like high school some times....
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Herakles in the Underworld
so my hindbrain has been percolating away and i think it finally hit on something that starts to make this game click for me

for those who are following my main forum thread i was discussing last night that in my games i am always searching for something a bit more than the usual. i like my solo games when they keep a balance with the abilities of the player but that there is always something slightly out of reach with the AI. it is always slightly better, faster, stronger

so this is what clicked tonight

herakles is somewhat of a thematic dead end. he is a set quantity, he has his girdle, his lion skin, his strength. but the character in this story needs an arc, needs to grow

so the character is now simply the Journeyer. the character card will be double sided, male on one side, female the other for it is more and more important to me to provide narrative opportunities for all players of games. the main plot is a normal mythic one, the journey to the underworld to save the beloved.

each of the locations has a number attached to it. depending on your current skill level (combat dice you roll) the location value is compared to that on an encounter chart and the number of monsters to combat is referenced

as per some suggestions above, some of these monsters will add extra bonuses to the AI side when they are encountered together.

defeat the monsters in combat and win the favor of the gods - zeus, ares and athena

these three favor resources will allow you to buy extra combat dice, the ability to rerol one or more dice and the ability to have certain values (6) spark an additional roll of that die

certain locations will supress the favor of one or more gods so you will have to balance your purchased resource upgrades. further complicating this is the fact the defeated monster cards may have more than one resource type on them but you can only use one type in your purchase

locations are thematic to the greek myths with some areas having more monsters to encounter, some areas suppressing certain gods' favors, some locations giving you benefits or the ability to wildcard one type of favor for another

the damage table will also be graded towards your skill level so your damage taken will always be proportional

further to using resources to buy upgrades, certain combinations of favors will heal you, allow you to escape from an encounter at a price or allow you to redraw monsters encountered

the locations will be shuffled at the beginning of the game, though at the end Thanatos will always be waiting and you will fight him to free the beloved if you have successfully navigated through Hades and your encounters

this should all still work within 54 cards, especially since i have removed the complication of Herakles' magical items and made the resources do several things

one location deck, one encounter deck, a double sided card for the Journeyer, a double sided card for the encounter and hit table, a card for your skill upgrades and a bunch of dice

by being more generic with the hero i can use the narrative of the hero's journey (joseph campbell type idea) but make it a personal one no matter who is playing the game

there should even be enough cards left for a few special monsters to encounter (special warriors of greek myth, and special monsters and gods) which can be drawn in certain locations for the advanced player to keep things fresh

the cards will remain language independent and still be minimal

but i feel like i am finally on the right track. the AI will be scaled to react to the player's skill level, the amount of randomness will allow for some player planning, the spread of possible resource favors to be earned will mean players will have to adapt each game to what they can buy at any given time

lets see what i can get up to tomorrow to show you all




and apologies to my greek friend of name that the game no longer features his mythic doppleganger. but the game is better for it
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Nate K
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld
Just one note: The Traveler or the Wanderer both roll off the tongue better than the Journeyer.

Excited for the changes!
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld
yes though a traveller or wanderer often does not have a set destination. the journeyer has a purpose, to save the beloved

whatever the title it needs to be something that can apply to both men and women

i will muse some more about the title


in the words of Tron Legacy. "change the scheme, alter the mood"
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld
"When there is judgement and luck, inspiration created when the fear of death elevates daring into a gift from the Fates, you act as if you cannot fail"

definitely using that Terry Dowling quote from one of my favorite stories of his for the intro to the game
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld
this all is coming along quite well today
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Vandel Arden
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld
I think designing Language independent Cards is hard. Especialy with a wide Range of card funktions/ skills. In this Case the first Layout of the cards have proven this quiet good.
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld


here is the expanded look at today's progress





the character card is double-sided, depending on whether you wish to be a hero or heroine. you begin with 3 combat dice and have 16 hit points. lose your HP and you will remain in the Underworld

the encounter/damage chart is also double sided. the encounter chart is weighted for your current skill level (based on your number of combat dice) and keyed to the location cards

the damage chart depends on a successful monster roll, minus your roll
at the bottom of this chart are 3 sets of icons. you may spend sets of thematic resources to:

1. heal yourself, using might and wisdom
2. flee from combat, using might and glory and 1HP (no gain of any resources, cannot spend resources at turn end for skill upgrades)
3. block an attack during combat, using glory and wisdom

the player begins with a set of starting resources which the can spend to upgrade their might, wisdom and glory. they may only use one side of these cards for those resource purchases.




there are 9 locations in the game. during the setup, one card is randomly discarded and the rest are shuffled so you are never quite sure of the locations.

each location has a number which, depending on the combat dice your character possesses, will cause the draw of a set number of monster cards to combat. some location will not allow you to use certain of your skills (Lethe, Phlegethon, Tartarus) others will give you some sort of bonus (Pool of Mnenosyne allows you to wildcard one resource type for another during the skill upgrade phase; Acheron will allow you to skip a location if you are successful in combat and can pay the Ferryman)




monsters are encountered in the underworld locations. each has a given number of combat dice and if you successfully defeat them you gain that card. reverse the card direction, and can spend those resources for further skill upgrades. note that those resources are often of more than one type. each time you spend resources, you may only spend them of a single type.

the red monsters are advanced monsters who gain you no resources.

Thanatos is the 'big boss' and you will fight him in combat after making your way through the underworld. his card will be placed to one side during setup.

some monsters have special powers:
the General adds 1 combat die to each (2) Warrior if grouped with them.
the Harpy adds 1 combat die to each other Harpy when grouped

(so there are interrelationships depending on which monsters are drawn in a given location)



you may spend your resources after combat to upgrade your skills. each of these tracking cards will use a eurocube placed to the left of the skill upgrade

1. The Might of Ares gives you additional combat dice. the 1st die costs 2 might resources, 2nd die costs 3 additional might resources, etc...

2. The Glory of Zeus grants rerolls of 1 or more dice (either yours or the monster). reroll of one die costs 2 glory resources, 2 dice costs 4 resources, etc... these costs are not paid each time you reroll, buy a reroll and use it once during each combat round

3. The Wisdom of Athena gives you cascade dice, i.e. each time you roll a 6 you can reroll that die and add the additional value to your combat total. the upgrades let you roll 1 or 2 6s and then 1 or 2 5s during each combat round


I next need to work out additional things the locations allow/prevent and give some more of the monsters additional powers as well.

but this is a good overview of progress today. it is nice to be back designing and feeling like things are clicking
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Nate K
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld
Wisdom of Athena, all the way! Not only is she CLEARLY the superior divinity, but the exploding die mechanic is exceptionally fun.
 
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld
yes i think the gods are well matched thematically to the resources and effects and to what you have to spend for the heal/flee/block powers

more reading tomorrow on the locations and idea generation
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Vandel Arden
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld
A detailed update, is there still something missing? When the final Cards are uploaded i will playtest and send in a review. I like the Deity Boni, its realy matching their themes.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld
Is there any difference in being male or female other than aesthetic?
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld
josephe - yes there are still some things i'd like to do with the monster and location powers and i have to finish the combat system - what you do once you roll the dice

chad - no, no difference other than a aesthetic/player choice one
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Nate K
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld
radchad wrote:
Is there any difference in being male or female other than aesthetic?

So much joke potential here....
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Jeremy Peet
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Re: WIP - 2013 Solitaire PnP Entry - Journey in the Underworld
This really looks great...subscribed!

Love the low ink idea, the graphics are nice and crisp.
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