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Subject: A SciFi Horror Survival Game rss

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Simon Tan
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This would be a very interesting intersection of genres. You will have to choose which elements to put more emphasis on...

Sci-fi generally sets the setting and the background of the game. Sure, having space ships and lasers instead of cars and Berettas is a difference, but in terms of the game, it may not do so much.

This leaves the theme to either horror or survival. Choosing survival would lend itself towards a tower defense or a Robinson Crusoe-esque game, but this means the horror is also pasted on. You can scratch off the horror, replace evil aliens with rebel forces or robots gone wild, and call it a day. You can still create a great game, but...

I would probably try to put emphasis on horror, given the choice. This genre lends itself to fear of the unknown and the choices people make, which would make for a more social game. When one mentions sci-fi horror, there are a lot of interesting stories, from the xenomorphs (specifically Ridley Scott's Alien and James Cameron's sequel, Aliens), to Event Horizon, to even Sunshine, where it is against space and against a human foe.

To mine the sci-fi horror survival game space, you'll have to go for alternating amounts of horror and survival. Each scenario can be different, but it is easy to set up a starting point where everyone doesn't know what they're doing until the scenario reveals itself... something like Betrayal at House on the Hill in space.

Anyhow, those are just my thoughts. Wish you the best of luck in this.
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Ryan Cook
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Sounds a lot like a game I'm currently mulling over. I think the survival and horror could quite easily be mixed together, especially if you make the neat distinction between night and day. It would give the game a real sense of pace.
What kind of game would it be? Worker placement, war-game, deck builder, etc.

I always think variation like Betrayal is good, a co-op is fun, especially if you can somehow make it semi co-op
 
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Simon Tan
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TheGoodGuy wrote:
Sounds a lot like a game I'm currently mulling over. I think the survival and horror could quite easily be mixed together, especially if you make the neat distinction between night and day. It would give the game a real sense of pace.
What kind of game would it be? Worker placement, war-game, deck builder, etc.

I always think variation like Betrayal is good, a co-op is fun, especially if you can somehow make it semi co-op


One way the genre does it is to have the characters come together for some "away mission" of sorts, but the agenda or secret that reveals who the bad guy only occurs during the turning point of the story. A variation to this is that we know there is an enemy, but we realize that one of the characters in the group has an agenda that is just as bad.

All of this boils down to what is actually unknown. Have the group explore a big ship or an abandoned colony, but they don't know what really happened until they investigate. The players should know that something bad happened or is about to happen, but what it is should be the mystery.
 
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Simon Tan
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christopherscott wrote:
That definitely sounds interesting having an abondoned colony with like a story behind it. That's a problem I'm running into, at first I wanted the board to have several different area types to explore like ancient cities, ruins, forest, lakes, and etc. I'm not sure how to size all of this. It may be better just to elaborate on just one area of the planet? I know some games just tell the jist of what is on that area as far as resources go too, but I was wanting to have spaces in each area to move through to get to the next area. This has been bothering me since I have started on the game.

I think as far as resource gathering, this will be a worker placement styled system.

Also, having different levels of enemies in each place may add a flow to the game, like having to explore easier areas first.


Not every area has to be in play at once. Robinson Crusoe did this effect well, when it came to large explorable regions. Betryal at House on the Hill did the same thing on a smaller scale by room exploration.

The first thing you'll probably want to define is location: planet-side or a ship in space? Since you mentioned a worker placement style of resource gathering, you correctly defined the location as planetary. Not every area has to be defined on the board: perhaps a deck of cards for some of the more exotic areas like the ancient city or the wreck of a ship. Those cards can then be explored, like extra locations.

Then again, you also have to ask this question: why are the players gathering resources? Most sci-fi horror stories put the characters in a position of strength until they begin experiencing the unknown antagonist. If the goal is simply to escape, the trick is to simply hunker down until they repair what is needed to escape.

As far as the story goes, the mission of the group must be exploration. If you are interested in the abandoned colony setup, the group's mission is not to get out, but to find out "why?" There are so many reasons why this colony is abandoned, (or is it?) and from there you can get players to be engaged simply with the fact that they don't know what scenario it is until the final moment.
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Andrew Shegda
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So, not one person knows this has already been done?








Alien Uprising.
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Simon Tan
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alandric wrote:
So, not one person knows this has already been done?








Alien Uprising.


If this is in reference to the survival genre as a whole, then it is perhaps more than overdone. That is perhaps why I'm leaning more towards horror than survival. We have too many "horror" video games like the later entries of Resident Evil or the zombie mode of Call of Duty, and not enough horror games like The Last Door or Amnesia. In the board game sector, we have too many games in the horror survival genre like Zombicide, DDD, Last Night on Earth, Carnival Zombie, Dead Panic, etc.

On a similar note, most horror movies focused on two things: conflict within the group, and the struggle to know how to get out of the bad situation. The latter focus is resolved either by defeating the enemy or escaping from it, while the former one usually ends up with one or more in the group becoming the bad guys and preying on the survivors, who must stand up against it. While there is suspense when you don't know who will win or not, that is not the same as horror.

Regardless of how Chris decides to proceed, and I won't fault him if he decides to go with more survival than horror, I'll still check in once in a while to be a sounding board to ideas. After all, Arkham Horror did not stop Fantasy Flight, or every other publisher, from getting onto the Cthulhu bandwagon...
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