Iffix Y Santaph
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The Evil... The Chaotic... The Wallaboo!
I believe I've begun to achieve a new game about tomb raiders. The game is a combination of certain elements of Infiltration and Burgle Brothers, and contains a simple combat system similar to Jamaica. I'd love to tell you about what I've developed, and see if you might share a bit of feedback.
I'm in the process of developing a game called Tomb of the Lost King. The game is relatively simple, and has a sandbox type feel.
The tomb is laid out on 49 cards, flipped face down to form an inactive portal, surrounded by a treasury, surrounded by a courtyard, surrounded by a wall.
The wall cards are numbered 1-5, and feature a number of gems on each card. There are corresponding movement cards that have numbers 1-5.
The courtyard cards are numbered 6-8, and require a person to play his movement cards in addition to gems collected from the tomb and a specialized deck. Players decide whether to move through the tomb collecting gems or gather gems from the deck of Gem Cards. (There are a limited supply of Gem Cards.) However, if a player does not have enough gems to advance into the tomb, he may lose his movement cards.
Also, because there are roaming guardians, a player won't want to stay in one place for very long.
As a player advances through the tomb, he enters the treasury. To do so, a player will play 1 movement card, adding a collection of gems, and a single D6, in an effort to attain a value of 13 to 15. If he succeeds, he will then acquire the gems from this section of the treasury, corresponding to the card's objective.
Finally, a player will want to activate the cental portal, doubling his gem count. However, to do so, he must have found the key which is hidden along the wall.
Players are encouraged to face off to steal gems from one another or steal the key from one another. Ultimately, though one player must succeed at reaching the portal, and only players who escape the tomb at the end of the game have a chance to win, the victory points are based solely on the number of gems collected. While the greatest wealth is found in the center of the tomb, and the portal may connect to another on the wall, a player may also be caught in the tomb.
The game plays out over 9-16 rounds, and features 8 event cards. The eighth card is a Sand Storm Card. On its first reveal, all of the event cards are reshuffled. On its second reveal, any player(s) caught in the tomb are buried alive beneath the sand. Therefore the game has a Press your Luck Element. While certain elements are cooperative, in that there is a single objective that must be achieved to win, the players don't want to cooperate and there is a great benefit to heisting gems from one another.
I'm not entirely certain I explained everything in the right detail. But if you can imagine what I've shared with you, I would love to hear any feedback you might be willing to share.
I don't care for the player stealing option. It makes a game too adversarial.
And if the criteria to winning is whoever escapes with the most gems, what's to stop a player from hovering around safely near the entrance tiles for the player who made it into the portal to get the most gems and then jumping him to steal his gems and running out of the exit?
I love the theme and idea of a spacial game. Running around a tomb and looting? Yes, please! From a designer point of view, it seems that this game could be accomplished with minimal components, which is awesome
However... (and I want to begin by saying I only wish for your success in this design endeavor)
...I think that the stealing element won't be a very strong incentive for players to even try to find the key in the first place. I certainly wouldn't want to do the work of searching for the only key if my time would be better spent collecting gems. I would leave it for someone else, but chances are, they're thinking the same thing. The problem is that there is no punishment for confrontations with other players or consequences for holding armloads of gems and therefore, no tough choices. I imagine this could lead to some uninteresting decision-making for players.
I would suggest giving players some agency. Perhaps allow them to sprint during movement and lose gems, but maybe not as many as they would if another player assaulted them. Or maybe even give movement restrictions according to how many gems players are holding. As of now (and not having played the game), it seems like this game may be overwhelmingly more take-that than press-your-luck.
Is this sound feedback or advice? Any other thoughts or mentions that might dismiss these points?