Brad Grubb

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West Virginia
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I have a concept for a build a haunted house game. Please let me know your initial thoughts.

Backstory: An anon. benefactor is holding a contest for who can build the scariest haunted house. Meanwhile, another is offering $ to anyone who stays in the haunted house.

Objective: Scare the living daylights out of the other players.

Game mechanics:
The house: Tile placement of haunted house rooms. Each room has a fear factor. Players hold 3 tiles in their hand, drawing 1 and playing 1 each turn by connecting to open doors of other rooms.

Characters: Players may use their turn to send a friend/family member into the house. Each character has a list of 1-5 screams on top of the card and a courage rating of 1-4. On the player's turn that placed the character the character must move and never back to the same tile, thus progressing through the house.

Decor: Instead of playing characters, players may purchase scary objects that go in the rooms and increase the fear factor.

Scoring: When a character enters a room the player compares the character courage to the total fear factor. If fear factor is higher the character screams (small =1 or big =3) based on the next scream icon on the top of the card. The player that controls (placed) the room gets the screams. Most screams at the end wins. Characters do not scream in the player's own room.

Additional features: Characters have weaknesses that show what they are most afraid of. When in a room with these weaknesses the scream is increased by one. Decor can match a room (i.e. clown bed in kid's room) which increases the fear factor by 1.

Appeal: Players will enjoy building the house like a maze to try and direct others to their rooms. Players will enjoy the fun themed decor and making fun matches of scary rooms and items.

Thoughts? Criticism? Thanks!

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Sturv Tafvherd
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Gut reaction: There's a lot of things to keep track. Room attributes, visitor attributes, room ownership, rooms visited, etc, etc. Because of that, it would work better as a computer simulation.
 
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Brad Grubb

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Thanks. I don't want it to be a complicated Euro. I'm working through the tracking (ownership) mechanism and have some pretty good ideas. Such as character bases color coded to match player. For who own's the room I'm currently thinking small square blocks color coded the same as your character bases.

The room attributes all go to the current owner of the room so no need to track those.

I appreciate the quick response.
 
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George P.E., PMP, DM
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Austin
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When someone talks about players building a haunted house room-by-room I immediately think Betrayal at House on the Hill.

What about these two options instead of building the house as you go?

1) One of the players represents the haunted house (like a GM), builds the whole house before the game starts, and is trying to scare the other players. The other players must make it through the whole house without maxing their scream. Any players who make it through win, and if no one makes it all the way through then the house wins.

2) Each player builds their own floor before the game starts, then as a group they have to make it all the way through. Any players who make it through win. If the group is on a specific player's floor, then you could have that player act as the house for that floor (or not if automated).

Edit: fixed there to their
 
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Jay Sears
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1) What age group is this targeted at?
2) How do you purchase scary objects?
3) Is this a build the game as you go on?
4) Is there a way of other players not knowing what objects are in the other rooms?

I agree with GeorgeMo in option 2. Although consider adding in conceilled rooms or secrete basements. To conceil a room consider the noard game having walls, then placing a roof tile over the room so the other player cant see in it. Or have conceiled cards in each room which are the objects and when the player enter they reveal the cards.
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Brad Grubb

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I like idea if the GM house. I'll give that a try. Thanks!
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George P.E., PMP, DM
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vicariousgames wrote:
I like idea if the GM house. I'll give that a try. Thanks!


You're welcome, any time.
 
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Brad Grubb

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Age I was thinking 10 and up. So the images couldn't be too horrific.
The money to buy decor is gained - gain 1 gold each character you still have in the house at the start of your turn.

Sounds like several of you like the concealed/hidden mechanism. I'll think on it and see how I could work that in. I'd love walls but they're a pricey add on so it might just be flip tile.

It may be too close to Betrayal game, maybe a different theme like amusement park or mall and characters have thrill icons instead of scared.

Thanks for the great ideas.
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Brad Grubb

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Here's really rough sketch of a couple of turns between 2 players just to show what I was thinking with room and item placement and character movement.

[url]http://imgur.com/a/YbHxD
[/url]
Enjoy! Feel free to be as critical or creative as you want. I love feedback.
 
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Jay Sears
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You need to consider concealing the cards in each room. What i'd suggest is also players picking up courage points as they go along. Say, 4 courage cards for each player and randomized where they are placed. So, say each players start with courage points 10, they can get up to 14 if they collect the 4 cards. With the object getting from A-B in any direction they please.
 
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Brad Grubb

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Okay, you're right. Concealment is key. Players will hide their tiles and objects and start with harmless objects they can place on tiles to confuse others. Great feedback.

I like the artifacts and objects that help characters. Sounds like a great KS unlock able goal. It'll have to be random so you don't place so maybe a card per round that says where to place it.

Keep the ideas rolling. First time group thinking a game and I love it.
 
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Caroline Berg
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GeorgeMo wrote:
When someone talks about players building a haunted house room-by-room I immediately think Betrayal at House on the Hill.

What about these two options instead of building the house as you go?

1) One of the players represents the haunted house (like a GM), builds the whole house before the game starts, and is trying to scare the other players. The other players must make it through the whole house without maxing their scream. Any players who make it through win, and if no one makes it all the way through then the house wins.

That is almost exactly to how Mansions of Madness works - though in that game the GM really is trying to kill you OR make you go insane.
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George P.E., PMP, DM
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adularia25 wrote:
GeorgeMo wrote:
When someone talks about players building a haunted house room-by-room I immediately think Betrayal at House on the Hill.

What about these two options instead of building the house as you go?

1) One of the players represents the haunted house (like a GM), builds the whole house before the game starts, and is trying to scare the other players. The other players must make it through the whole house without maxing their scream. Any players who make it through win, and if no one makes it all the way through then the house wins.

That is almost exactly to how Mansions of Madness works - though in that game the GM really is trying to kill you OR make you go insane.


I haven't played that. I'll have to check it out, thanks.
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Jeff Warrender
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The theme sounds interesting. The concern I have with the mechanisms as you've laid them out is that there isn't any theme-specificity in them. The game seems like it could equally well be about building the best art gallery or building the most luxurious palace or the best pet hotel. It seems a bit generic. There are a couple of mechanical things that I'd worry a little about (e.g. tracking who placed which room might be a pain, etc), but the first thing I'd push on is to see whether there are ways to make the theme come through more strongly through the mechanisms themselves, so that it feels like we're building a haunted house not because the tiles say so but because the actions we're taking and the decisions we're making reflect it. That said, as a light game I think what you've laid out could work perfectly well.
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Brad Grubb

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I'll check out mansions of madness. Thanks. I don't won't to work on something others have already done so it's helpful to know what else is out there.

Yes, I wanted it keep the idea light play, casual gamer. Thank you.

I appreciate everyone's post. I'll probably hold on off on this idea or tweak it substantially.

Cheers
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Gil Hova
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My biggest worry is that it will feel dry and math-y. For a game about trading in the Mediterranean, that would be fine, but for a theme as rich as this, there would be a disconnect. (This is why there are so many games out there with "boring" themes - they serve a purpose!)

You'll notice how games like Betrayal at House on the Hill, and even Arkham Horror, have random events. These have the ability to shock players, from a minor mechanical way ("Oh no, that hit my weakest stat") into a thematic way ("Ugh, an oozing ghoul"). That fits in with the theme of a horror game, which should have some "shocking" moments, and induce feelings that can at least approximate fear.

So as you test this game, look for opportunities to shock your players. Flavor text is a simple way to do it, but is honestly not too effective; most players skip flavor text if it has no bearing on the game. Instead, try to get the story directly out of your game mechanisms. Like, if you have a creature that rips people's arms off, that should mean they can no longer carry items or weapons. That's the sort of visceral dynamics you need in a game with this theme.
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