Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Entry Thread for Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed! - Contest Ready
Designed for the 2013 Solitaire Print and Play Contest.

You were extremely excited when the Dungeon Construction Kit you had ordered finally landed on your doormat. That excitement lasted until the moment you opened the box. Unfortunately it seems that some evil blackguard had put a curse on it and you immediately found yourself inside your own kit. Now there's only one thing for it: construct your way out. And while you're at it, kill as many monsters and take as much treasure back to the real world as possible...



Cards: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxdoGc4NM2uYQk5LdkE4TmVULVU
Rules: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxdoGc4NM2uYTGN1OXMxbGdZY0k
Artscow deck: http://www.artscow.com/gallery/playing-cards/dck-card-game-m...
Game entry: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/148705/dungeon-constructi...
Vassal module: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxdoGc4NM2uYT1k5NWxDakJkM3M...



******

I should have put a placeholder as the top entry of this thread. Here is the original post:

This is going to be a card game using a 52 card custom deck, plus 2 character cards that will give different abilities.

The theme: Good news! You have finally received your long-awaited Dungeon Construction Kit in the post. Unfortunately some rotter has cursed it and the moment you opened it you found yourself trapped inside. Now your only option seems to be to build and explore your way out. Can you escape without being killed by your own monsters? If so, maybe you can even turn this around and take some treasure with you...

Mechanic-wise, my basic idea is that the top 2/3 of each card represents part of the map and the bottom 1/3 has an action. You can play cards either to the map in order to make a path to the exit or as actions to collect treasure / kill monsters etc.
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!
Cool!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aleksandar Saranac
Serbia
Kragujevac
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!
seems like a great idea.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew H
United States
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!
Sounds really cool. Your description of the cards sparked a possible variant. What if the effect on the bottom was active until it gets covered?Then there could be an added choice about placement, with the player wanting to keep some card bottoms visible.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!
Thanks for the positive vibes, everyone.

Andrew, that sounds like a very interesting idea for someone to try out in future, but it's not going to fit with the way I've started here because once a card is played to the map, the action on it is never used. So the best map cards also have the best actions and you have to decide how to use each card.

The basics of what I have so far are:

Deal four cards each turn. You must "retire" one (remove from the game) as a timer mechanism.

Possible actions are:

Move one space (normally maximum 1 per turn, but the abibility of one of my characters may be to move 2). You can do this before or after playing any other cards.

Play a card from hand to the map. Paths must fit and cards may not overlap. If it has a monster or treasure, fill the space with a red or yellow cube.

If you are in room with a treasure cube, play a treasure card from your hand into your score pile and remove the cube.

If you are in a room with a monster, either play a monster card in order to evade it (the card is retired) or play a monster card with a higher-valued sword card in order to kill it (put the monster card into your score pile and retire the sword card, then remove the cube from the map. If you do not do one of these two actions, you are killed by the monster and lose the game.

There is a "trap" card. You must play it immediately if possible. If you enter the room with the trap, you must retire all cards currently in your hand.

Here's a picture. Obviously the "artwork" is just for prototype purposes right now. The image is a little out of date because I've added the trap card since and I've added the rule about scoring for monsters - originally they were just there to guard some of the treasures. Unfortunately that means that my card distribution is now all to heck because cards with just a monster were terrible before and now they are fairly good. I'm going to keep testing with this deck for now and draw as many conclusions as I can before reconfiguring. Oh, I also had a hand size of 5 here and found the game wasn't enough of a challenge.


10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kelly
England
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!
This sounds great, I'm really interested in how its going to come along! Subscribed as I'd love to have a go once the components are ready

Your proxy drawing look better than ones I've made in the past which tend to have words instead of images and tend to be b/w.

I'm keen on making my prototype for the contest a bit prettier this time round though.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!
I've been thinking about the card selection part of the game - dealing out hands of 4 cards, playing some and discarding the rest, etc. It's the part I'm least satisfied with. So I've come up with an alternative:

Deal 3 rows of 4. You can play any card that doesn't have a card above it. When the top row is cleared, deal a new bottom row of 4 cards. (You can of course slide everything up to save table space).

There aren't really any turns any more, so instead of moving one space per turn, you need to discard a card to move one space. Discards are now permanent and you go through the deck once only.

The trap card requires you to discard all of the cards currently in your top row.

Advantages:
1. There is more decision making and optimisation rather than just reacting to the four cards in your hand.
2. It gives a bit of a feel of depth - going down into the dungeon.

Disadvantages:
1. You can't now realistically be killed by a monster unless you want to commit suicide - previously you could enter a room hoping that suitable cards for evading or killing would come up, though too often they didn't.
2. It's a bit too dependent on where the exit cards come in the deck. You don't want both to come out early because then you are forced to play one to the map and waste a lot of cards getting back to it later.
3. Linked to the previous one, it's possible (though highly unlikely) to lose the game on the first turn, if the map and both exits come out in the first row.

I don't think I can do much about the first disadvantage apart from change the description of the theme, but hopefully I can fix the other two. But overall I definitely prefer the feel of the game now.

I also have my first piece of artwork. The art is being done by my daughter (as for Hyperminer last year). She's 10, but she's a far better artist than I am.

10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael R.
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!
Nice artwork! Looking forward to seeing how you develop the game. Reminds me a bit of the Dungeon Keeper pc game.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!
Two evolutions regarding the exit cards:

1. Remove the exit cards from the deck. After shuffling, add two cards to the exit cards (without looking at them). Shuffle these four cards and set them aside. These are referred to as the exit stack. Once per row, when dealing a new row, instead of taking a card from the deck, you may take the top card from the exit stack.

*

Next I decided to make you work to access these cards. It also solves another concern of mine - that too many of the rooms were empty, but I didn't want to fill them up with even more treasure and monsters.

2. 7 rooms now contain a key. If you enter a room with a key, place the top card from the exit stack into any free space in row 3. If there is no free space, place the card face-up on top of the deck. When you next deal a row, first place this card in any column of row 3 you wish.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!

Some changes:

I have decided to allow combining multiple sword cards to defeat a monster.

I have a big treasure and a special treasure on the exit cards. Originally the special treasure gave +1 to sword cards. Now it's going to be a crystal ball that allows looking ahead or moving cards around in the selection array. I need to figure out which of various options gives a balanced degree of power to this card compared to the straight-out large number of points from the other exit card.

The +1 sword is going to be the ability of one of the two character cards - obviously a fighter. The other character will be a thief with double movement and the ability to evade monsters without discarding.

There will be two beefed-up monsters - of strengths 7 and 9.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!
Sorry I've been quiet for a while. I have been busy testing and tweaking, and I've been working on putting the cards together. I'm ready to call the game components ready.

I think I have the rules finalised, and I've done some work on writing them up. It'll probably take me a day or two more, and I'll keep playtesting in the meantime.

Here is the link to the cards.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!
I like 'em!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chad Mestdagh
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!
OK. So your daughter's artistic style is improving by quite a bit! I like her style!!!!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed!
Thanks. A year older, a year artier (doesn't apply to me though - my artistic development was arrested at about age 8).

Here is a link to an Artscow deck. I don't know what the finished product will be like. I've ordered a copy for myself today and will report back. I had to rejig the design a bit because their card proportions are different to mine. Fortunately they are different in the right way that the game is still playable (no problem with unwanted overlapping).

http://www.artscow.com/gallery/playing-cards/dck-card-game-m...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed! - Components Ready
I've added the rules in the first post. I'll wait to see if I get any feedback before declaring the game contest ready.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jessey
Canada
flag msg tools
designer
For the King!
badge
I bend all elements!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed! - Components Ready
I'll give this a look over tonight.

Also, I love the art!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Santiago Eximeno
Spain
Madrid
Madrid
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed! - Components Ready
I like the art too. I've just read the rules and I've two questions
* "Discard" is an action? (perhaps you can add an action list or change typo for titles in rules)
* Only one action in one turn?

And I'll like to see more characters, but I supposse that you have tried to limit the game to 54 cards.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed! - Components Ready
eximeno wrote:
I like the art too. I've just read the rules and I've two questions
* "Discard" is an action? (perhaps you can add an action list or change typo for titles in rules)
* Only one action in one turn?

And I'll like to see more characters, but I supposse that you have tried to limit the game to 54 cards.

You can discard a card without using it for any other purpose, in case you want to access a more useful card that is underneath it. I'll see if I can make that clearer in the rules.

Yes, my intention was to keep to 54 cards for now, but I may provide bonus characters in the future.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed! - Components Ready
Okay, the rules now have a summary table at the end detailing the actions available and what you score, discard etc. I hope you find it helpful. (It fills the last page up nicely too).
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jessey
Canada
flag msg tools
designer
For the King!
badge
I bend all elements!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed! - Components Ready
Rules Comments:

Some of the terminology is inconsistent. For example, in the set up you describe the 3x4 grid of cards as a card pool, but on page 4 when describe keys you refer to it as "the array"

The example on page 3 about taking multiple cards to kill a monster should be moved to the kill a monster action description.

Also, you describe refilling the array in the key section, but haven't yet told the reader what refilling is. I would have put the turn overview details first, then started explaining the specifics of each action.

Otherwise I believe I understood the game.

Two questions though:
1) The play a room says "take any room available" - does "available" mean "on top of a column"? Because if so the restriction on the Trap Card turning up in the top row of the starting array is extra long for no reason (because you couldn't possibly start with a room that isn't in the first row).
2) What happens if you have no room exits left on the map, but haven't placed an exit card (ie: you make a fully enclosed dungeon)?

In the meantime, I'm onto playing the game (I'm assuming the answer to 1) is yes, and I'm not going to arrange for 2) to occur).
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jessey
Canada
flag msg tools
designer
For the King!
badge
I bend all elements!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed! - Components Ready
Game Summary
I played 3 games, although I got some rules wrong in the first game (the first two cards I got with keys I added directly to the card pool instead of to the top of the draw deck), so I won't report on that one.

In the first game I was the Fighter. I found his ability straightforward and constantly useful. I was able to consistently tackle enemies with a single sword card, and scored most of the high value enemies. My final score was 31, not bad. I struggled with getting valuable treasures (because of how the card pool lined up when treasures were available and rooms with treasures were also available). I was unable to score either of the exit treasures because they ended up stacked in the same column one on top of the other late in the game.

In the second game I played the Rogue and I found her ability very different. I created a treasure loaded dead end early on and then used her fast movement to not lose any ground after claiming the treasure. I may have scored better had I pulled that trick more often at 3-way rooms (not that my score was bad). Her enemy escape ability came up a couple of times where the cards didn't permit a kill, and so a no-card escape was the obvious option. In this game I discovered how important placement of rooms can be, as several times I almost boxed myself in and forced myself to backtrack (but I was able to puzzle my way out by carefully planning how I played cards). My final score was 40 (better) and I scored the crystal ball, and used it to get 9 more cards (which ultimately translated into about 8 points and a bit of breathing room).

Review
The Good
Once you have played one game the puzzle-like strategy suddenly clicks (that may happen earlier if you "trap" yourself with room placement). You will be trying to optimize your card pool by playing cards in an order that frees cards in the right order (so you may play a treasure room, then discard a card to move into it such that the newly available card is a 5 Treasure so you can score it). This is made further challenging by the need to hit at least 3 key rooms (and ideally 4), and the fact that some of those key rooms have large treasures on them (making there be a natural tension about how to use those cards).

Also, both characters play differently. The Fighter just bumbles right on through everything, looking to get into fights and scoring those big monsters. While the Rogue seems to do better when you focus on treasures, and you can even make use of those dead ends with treasure in them (and the dead ends with keys, letting you score the other key rooms as treasure) when you hit 3-ways because of your speedy movement.

The Bad (but not really that bad)
Some of the cards were, by and large, movement fodder. When it came time to move, I found the same cards quickly being discarded as movement. For example, as the Fighter any dead end with a monster worth 3 or fewer points was automatically a move card. The Rogue was a bit better at this because she could cash in on dead ends with treasure's in the room, but otherwise if the dead end didn't have a good treasure or a key on it, then it was really only good for movement. This is also true of empty rooms that didn't have good monsters/treasure/swords on the bottom (but less so for the 3-way empty rooms).

There was also a conflict between my expectations and experience with the first play. I had expected, given the multiple exits on the rooms, that decisions about which way to go would matter. In the end you take a very linear path through the dungeon (with the exception of the rogue and the occasional 'treasure dive'), and the room shapes kick in when trying to place them so that you don't end up tied in a knot and forced to backtrack (and if you have to backtrack at all you're points are going to suffer, and too much you may end up losing!). This isn't a "bad" so much as an "unexpected, but nice".

The Ugly (but hardly ugly at all...)
I feel like final score is significantly impacted by the way those two exit cards end up in your card pool. There's little you can do to control it besides spreading out your key claims (but that may not be possible depending on how the cards come out). If you can't claim one as treasure you can expect a 7 - 10 point lower score than you would have if you could have gotten it. I also felt getting the 7 Treasure one was a bit boring but effective while the crystal ball often left me wishing it was the 7 treasure, but did result in an interesting decision about how to maximize point gain with it. I would prefer it if the 7 Treasure was another kind of item that also gave you a choice, instead of boring big treasure.

Ultimately, that those are worth so many points makes the luck element of the game - that is otherwise hard to notice, and part of what creates the puzzle element - more salient. I'm a bit averse to strong elements of luck, which is why this 'feature' really jumped out at me. I don't think it's that big of a drawback however.

The Verdict
A fun, quick little dungeon crasher game. I expect a good half-dozen plays before it starts to wear, which, given the difficulty of cutting and sleeving 54 cards, is a pretty good ink value. There's lots of room for expansion as well. With alternate heroes, and perhaps even some cards that have an effect when they enter the card pool or 'become active' (like the Trap).

The challenge is mostly in maximizing score. Once you get the basics of room placement and realize you need to collect keys when they come up, it's difficult to end up trapped or otherwise unable to escape. What's more likely is a bad placement followed by some bad luck with the card pool refills may mean you have to backtrack a bit. This is only game ending if it happens at the end of the deck, and there's typically enough buffer room to avoid that by being careful how you place/use your array once the exits show up. This is an advantage however, because the most fun (and challenging) part of the game is puzzling over how to use your card pool to maximum effect.
4 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed! - Components Ready
Candi wrote:
Rules Comments:

Some of the terminology is inconsistent. For example, in the set up you describe the 3x4 grid of cards as a card pool, but on page 4 when describe keys you refer to it as "the array"

The example on page 3 about taking multiple cards to kill a monster should be moved to the kill a monster action description.

Also, you describe refilling the array in the key section, but haven't yet told the reader what refilling is. I would have put the turn overview details first, then started explaining the specifics of each action.

Otherwise I believe I understood the game.

Two questions though:
1) The play a room says "take any room available" - does "available" mean "on top of a column"? Because if so the restriction on the Trap Card turning up in the top row of the starting array is extra long for no reason (because you couldn't possibly start with a room that isn't in the first row).
2) What happens if you have no room exits left on the map, but haven't placed an exit card (ie: you make a fully enclosed dungeon)?

In the meantime, I'm onto playing the game (I'm assuming the answer to 1) is yes, and I'm not going to arrange for 2) to occur).

Thanks for that. Yes, I originally called the card pool the selection array (I have a maths background). Obviously I missed changing it in a couple of places.

To answer your questions:

1) An available card is the highest in each column. If the trap card came up in row 1 at the start of the game then, if the restriction mentioned were not in place, you could play a room card card from row 1, revealing another card in row 2 which could then be played. Theoretically you could play up to 9 cards (the ones in the other 3 columns) before playing the trap card from row 1.

2) If you don't place an exit card, you are trapped in the dungeon and lose. It does mention this in the rules.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed! - Components Ready
Jessey, thanks for playing and thanks for the super-detailed review.

It should be rare that a player fails to make use of one of the exit cards as a treasure, and I think they should generally have been able to play differently to avoid it. I once managed to get myself into a position where I was forced to enter the trap room and discard the crystal ball, which was painful, though I still managed to score 41 in that game.
3 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Anstey
Wales
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed! - Components Ready
I was going to make some updates to the rules based on Jessey's suggestions in my lunch break, but I don't have my master copy with me.

Instead, I've been thinking about possible alternative character / exit / trap cards. They could be swapped out with the existing cards either randomly or as you see fit. Obviously these are just brainstorming ideas at the moment and will not be available in the competition version of the game. I particularly like the halfling idea. I hope it works or can be made to work!

Halfling - empty dungeon rooms (no monster, treasure or key icon) that have one or two exits are considered to have an extra exit on one of the blank sides that is too small for the other characters to fit through.

Dwarf - treasures of value 1 to 4 are worth +1

Spell - you can swap an available card from the card pool with one on the map, as long as the rooms have exits in the same positions.

Trap - you must immediately move your character token to the room you started in, or a room containing a key icon (your choice).

Trap - immediately discard all cards in the card pool that have a treasure, monster or sword value of 1.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chad Mestdagh
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: [WIP] 2013 Solitaire PNP Contest: Dungeon Construction Kit - Cursed! - Components Ready
Let Chris know that this game has components ready. Even if the game is not ready yet, you may get more people to respond to this game if they know that they can now play it.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   |