As mentioned in the title this is an entry for this contest.
Synopsis: This is going to be a quick (hopefully) two-player (obviously) card game with a small board for positioning. Each player will draft a group of characters at the start of the game and then try to eliminate all of the enemy characters through the use of special abilities, attacks or the careful manipulation of demons and cabal cubes on the board. The flow of play will be determined with IGO-UGO style dice drafting and character activation (tap/exhaust style, as in Magic and it's many derivatives).
Theme: This is the final chapter in a trilogy of games centering around the awakening of an ancient eldritch horror called Erenath. Nevermind that the first two games don't exist yet, we're working backward through the timeline. And by we I mean me.
Anyway, the start of the game has the opening of a great fiery rift (bet you didn't see that coming, eh?) in the middle of a bustling city, signaling the coming rise of the ancient one. There's a catch, however. Erenath has marked 48 individuals as conduits for his return, arranging them into eight circles of six pawns each. Erenath can only enter this world as long as at least one member of each circle is still alive. While the people exist that seek to eliminate these conduits, even other conduits, his plan relies on them failing to focus their efforts until it is too late.
Each player controls a circle, one of two that have entered this city looking for any way to prevent Erenath's awakening. Any solution at all. As these twelve individuals rush to forestall the apocalypse the terrible demonic minions of the ancient one prowl the city aiming to harm and distract them and a mysterious cabal organizes to save the world. Will it all end in a bloodbath between the two circles? Will the cabal aid them or sacrifice them? Will Erenath arise and destroy the world or remain banished? It's all in the hands of the players now.
Goals: Here is a shortlist of goals I have in mind for the game.
- Must play quickly: I'm aiming for about 15-20 minutes per session. If it goes longer it has to at least have very little downtime for both players. This is a personal challenge as well as a design goal since I've become somewhat known in my circle as making overly long games.
- High fatality rate: Related to the above goal, characters should have a very short shelf-life. I've been playing a lot of Hearthstone recently and one of the things I really enjoy is how you can get a lot of mileage out of a card if you use it right but at the same everything is just one move away from destruction. It's an exciting model that I hope to import into this system.
- Meaningful decisions: Characters and action dice are all going to have multiple uses so that there are always choices to make and while trying to keep the game as short as possible I still want it to have a decent amount of depth.
- Uncertain endgame: I want the end of the game to be as unpredictable and varied as the game play itself. The initial objective is elimination of the opponent's characters but I also want Erenath to start to awaken at some point and the game to shift to a co-op scenario if it takes too long to kill the other player. Balancing this will be tough since it'll need to avoid the "ok, let's just stockpile resources and then win together" problem.
- Easy to PnP: This is at the bottom of the list for a reason but I do want to keep things reasonable by PnP standards. One small board, 24 small character cards and possibly some optional tokens. The real problem will be the action dice, which all have unique faces. I'm not sure if it would be easiest to provide foldable paper dice, individual faces to affix to blank dice or charts to consult. Maybe a combination of the three even. At some point after the contest I will probably move this game to a print on demand site like The Game Crafter (assuming I'm satisfied with it, of course), and since they have stickered dice this seems like a minor problem right now.
Current Progress: I first had the idea for this game last Fall and made a little bit of prototyping progress before bailing on the project until now. The board and dice have been made (Pictures will be posted soon) and most of the character cards have been designed but not yet written on physical objects.
First, a very broad overview of the rules. To set up each player gets some amount of energy (the generic resource of the game) and the 24 character cards are shuffled and dealt into four piles of six. Each player will draft one of the groups to use for the game, some cubes representing demons and cabal members will be placed on the board and then the players will take turns putting their characters out.
Each round the dice will be rolled once and then the players take turns either drafting a single die or activating a single character. Dice are used to either gain energy or move cabal and demon cubes around (demons damage characters, cabal members protect them from all harm but can be activated to instantly kill any character in their area as well so can't be trusted for long). Characters can be activated to move, attack or use a special ability. The first two always use energy, the last option sometimes uses energy depending on the character. Most special abilities are "exhaust to use" and exhausted characters cannot be used for anything until the next round. I'm not yet sure if movement or attacking will also exhaust characters.
Characters take damage from attacks, demons and special abilities and die as soon as their damage meets or exceeds their health, shockingly enough. If all of a player's characters are dead the game immediately ends and the other player wins. The alternate co-op endgame is not yet fully designed but will center around fighting or avoiding the demon cubes while trying to get to a certain space on the board.
This post is long enough so I'll stop there but I'll come back to post the character list and some pictures of the prototype components soon. All comments and criticism are of course welcome at all stages of development.
- Last edited Wed Feb 5, 2014 12:20 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed Feb 5, 2014 12:20 am
Way Out There...
Sounds great, I'll be following your progress!