$30.00
Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Design Theory

Subject: Hidden Environmental Puzzles rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Billy Rouse
msg tools
Does anyone know of any games that include hidden environmental puzzles? Ora any designers that might have some experience with this?
I'm thinking of something where there might be puzzles or hints hidden in text or artwork that could potentially go unnoticed.
I'm working on a gamebook and I would like to include hidden puzzles as a possible path for progression, but I'd like to try to find some examples of this sort of thing to learn from.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Baker
United States
Poway
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mb
The Eye Found It series of games does this to some degree.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is moderately common in scenario-based games where only one player reads the scenario in advance; in that case, you can give explicit instructions to that player without ruining the surprise for everyone else. For instance, puzzles are used in Dungeons & Dragons. I wrote a puzzle into one scenario I created for Descent.

If you don't have one player who is "in" on it, then you have a greater design challenge, because players who think they've solved it don't have anyone to verify their answer. I think any truly good puzzle should aim for the solution to be clear in hindsight anyway, but that's easier said than done, and you're always at the mercy of your players' foibles (a few players are always going to think that some ridiculous solution is "obviously correct").


One interesting twist you could consider is to make the rules themselves into a sort of puzzle by ensuring there are non-obvious emergent properties. Maybe you present the Fireball as an attack, but it's actually more effective to use it to destroy trees in order to improve your lines of sight. Or maybe your knockback attack can be used on corpses in order to slide them into useful positions.

The nice thing here is that there's an objective test of accuracy (provided you write your rules well). Fireball destroys flammable objects, trees are a flammable object, therefore fireball can destroy trees. You don't need to make a subjective judgment call about whether or not "a coin" satisfies the poetic clue "I have only one side" or not.

Of course, there are a lot of board games on the market today that don't actually exercise that level of rigor in writing their rules. And even if you do, some players are going to try to twist them to fit their preconceptions instead of doing what they say. Now, yes, there's always a risk that a sufficiently-bad rules mistake will ruin any game; but it is an advantage if your game is somewhat tolerant of error. If you deliberately hide easter eggs in your rules, then you are intentionally forfeiting that advantage.


Video games don't have these problems...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Billy Pitiot
Finland
flag msg tools
How about a cake break!
badge
How about a cake break!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
T.I.M.E Stories provides exactly what you are looking for. It comes with scenarios in which players go on adventures to different locations, at different locations, they have access to different cards with text or pictures, some of them have clues relevant to solve the story of the scenario. You have to go back and forth, look at the relevant cards, remember the clues and solve the puzzle(s) before time runs out!

In addition to that, I believe that there are a couple of 'Room Escape' games coming out soon. And I think I heard that some other similar games are already out. Maybe those would also have that kind of puzzle you are looking for.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brendan Riley
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Nos operamur, te ludere
badge
"Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
BilyVMe wrote:
T.I.M.E Stories provides exactly what you are looking for. It comes with scenarios in which players go on adventures to different locations, at different locations, they have access to different cards with text or pictures, some of them have clues relevant to solve the story of the scenario. You have to go back and forth, look at the relevant cards, remember the clues and solve the puzzle(s) before time runs out!

In addition to that, I believe that there are a couple of 'Room Escape' games coming out soon. And I think I heard that some other similar games are already out. Maybe those would also have that kind of puzzle you are looking for.


You beat me to it. Second this.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Billy Rouse
msg tools
I tried T.I.M.E Stories recently and that's kind of what gave me the idea. They do some interesting things (at least in the base set) that require you to pay attention to clues in the background.
I'll have to look into room escape style stuff.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robin Gibson
Canada
Powell River
BC
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dragon and Chickens has a weird mechanic where some cards have a dragon on them, sometimes very obvious, sometimes hiding. Because it's a speed game, you have to very quickly decide whether the card is safe or not.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter S.
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
It's not a boardgame, but go play The Witness.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Billy Rouse
msg tools
The Witness is really interesting, but it seem like a lot of the puzzles come from sort of figuring out how things work. There is a lot of discovery that relies on a certain degree of trial and error that I don't think could translate well into tabletop without pulling the player out of the experience.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robin Gibson
Canada
Powell River
BC
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ClockWiseBilly wrote:
The Witness is really interesting, but it seem like a lot of the puzzles come from sort of figuring out how things work. There is a lot of discovery that relies on a certain degree of trial and error that I don't think could translate well into tabletop without pulling the player out of the experience.


Might be a good thing to do with an app. There's some AR games that gate progress with an interface for entering passwords, and at least one of this year's Escape Room Themed games do the same. Basically, solving the puzzle is all done in meatspace with analogue components, entering the solutions is all you use the app for.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter S.
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Starflier wrote:
ClockWiseBilly wrote:
The Witness is really interesting, but it seem like a lot of the puzzles come from sort of figuring out how things work. There is a lot of discovery that relies on a certain degree of trial and error that I don't think could translate well into tabletop without pulling the player out of the experience.


Might be a good thing to do with an app. There's some AR games that gate progress with an interface for entering passwords, and at least one of this year's Escape Room Themed games do the same. Basically, solving the puzzle is all done in meatspace with analogue components, entering the solutions is all you use the app for.


Regardless, if he's not already played it, the research value of doing so towards his goal is, IMO, fairly high.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Levine
United States
Clinton
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The 7th Continent features this, though it won't be out until mid 2017. But the print and play demo features one, and the kickstarter updates talk about them a bit.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.