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Subject: A Stranger Things-esque Game Idea rss

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ghost whistler
United Kingdom
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I've no idea if this is appropriate here. I'm a complete amateur, but I figured it might be fun to chronicle this project here, right from the beginning (right now). I've always wanted to design a game, but real life will probably nix this completely so, you've been warned

So, the idea:

Stranger Things. Youv'e seen the show. The one with the group of kids set in the eighties in small town usa. They are nerds at school and get embroiled in the wierd goings on at a nearby government facility when one of their own goes missing.

This is inspired heavily by that.

Premise: a coop game where players play kids in that vein, defined by a bunch of stats (Family, Grades, Investigate - for now) that must be tended or used. They share a Bond; if this depletes they lose.
The game will be scenario based: they must work together during a fixed time period, set over the course of a number of days/weeks, to solve the mystery, almost always revolving around the nearby weird government facility nobody reallyunderstands.

Each of the kids also has a dual identity: they are nerds, and they regularly get together to play D&D. During the game, they may take a phase to play D&D. If they do they can change to their D&D characters and investigate as normal, but with a few twists (in the tv show the kids process their perception of what is happening through the fantasy world of D&D). One player always takes the role of DM which is mainly a meta role for breaking ties etc. It's a de facto group leader; if that player ends up losing Bond, a little bit more is lost as a result.

As said, the game takes place over turns representing days/weeks. Specifically day and night segments. The mechanisms of play occur in three phases, repeated daily: Family, School, and Evening. Each is defined by requirements that the kids must meet or risk incurring penalties that may cost them the game. Evening, however is their free time, when they can investigate. But they must be home in time or the cops get called (which if done consecutively enough times costs them the game). Night is also more dangerous. It's also when they can play D&D.

Family - kids sat around their family's breakfast table. This is when they must keep their parents and siblings sweet. Make sure that no one worries about them and prepare for the day. They may manipulate elder siblings to help them out. Neglecting Family costs Family points which can end up affecting the community wellbeing and losing the game.

School - using school resources can be helpful, and so it requires attendance. This is measured with the Grades stat. Forego this and you risk alienating your Family and losing access to school resources. It also affects your ability to investigate and relate to members of the community. But you need to watch out for the School bullies of course.

I envisage it being possible to manipulate each phase: taking a day off school by playing a 'mom i'm sick' card for instance, and staying home.

Actions will likely require cards from each kids deck as actions.

Thanks for reading.
 
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Jason Daly
United States
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Sounds interesting. One thought--this seems like it could easily get over-complicated. When designing, you'll probably be constantly wanting to add extra rules and extra "chrome." Resist the urge. Streamline and get rid of unnecessary rules and complications whenever and wherever you can.
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Kind of like Tales From The Loop, the boardgame.
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ghost whistler
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gamesontables wrote:
Kind of like Tales From The Loop, the boardgame.


Pretty much, though I've never actually played it.

 
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ghost whistler
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jdaly72 wrote:
Sounds interesting. One thought--this seems like it could easily get over-complicated. When designing, you'll probably be constantly wanting to add extra rules and extra "chrome." Resist the urge. Streamline and get rid of unnecessary rules and complications whenever and wherever you can.


Indeed.

It's important to have a lot of things to do, but yes it would be easy to over complicate it.

It may be possible to fold the Family and School phase into a single Day phase.

Essentially the Day phase(s) are a series of requirements that the players must meet (attend school, for example) while using limited resources to do so (time) - while contending with their investigative duties.

Probably shouldn't call it D&D either, for legal reasons.

Dungeons and Demogorgons?
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ghost whistler
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Further Ideas:

BMX
How does the gang travel around town? on their BMX's of course! Movement cost is determined by distance and'or darkness (ie is it scary and wilderness and are you likely to get lost). This cost is the number of BMX tokens you must spend to move. These replenish if you end your Night phase back at home.
Alternatively you might be able to persuade big sis to give you a ride that evening, and drag her into the mystery. Or perhaps you save BMX by getting mom to drive you to school, but that won't happen if you're Family stat is low.

Walkie Talkie
Kids in Stranger Things talk to each other using these. IT's the only way players can communicate when their characters are at separate locations, but it's noisy and might make night activities tougher.
You get one Walkie Talkie token, don't lose it or the shop will need to repair it. Flip it over to switch it off. Doing so makes your character stealthier but puts him out of contact with the other players.

Whether that works out or not is another question. Limiting table talk is a risky strategy.
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John B
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In case your not aware:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/230342/inbetween
 
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ghost whistler
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johnb4bgg wrote:
Sounds interesting, but it's a very different proposition.

Im sure there are other games similarly influenced also.
 
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Benj Davis
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ghost whistler wrote:
Further Ideas:

BMX
How does the gang travel around town? on their BMX's of course! Movement cost is determined by distance and'or darkness (ie is it scary and wilderness and are you likely to get lost). This cost is the number of BMX tokens you must spend to move. These replenish if you end your Night phase back at home.
Alternatively you might be able to persuade big sis to give you a ride that evening, and drag her into the mystery. Or perhaps you save BMX by getting mom to drive you to school, but that won't happen if you're Family stat is low.

Walkie Talkie
Kids in Stranger Things talk to each other using these. IT's the only way players can communicate when their characters are at separate locations, but it's noisy and might make night activities tougher.
You get one Walkie Talkie token, don't lose it or the shop will need to repair it. Flip it over to switch it off. Doing so makes your character stealthier but puts him out of contact with the other players.

Whether that works out or not is another question. Limiting table talk is a risky strategy.


It really is.
 
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Greece
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It seems to me you're currently over-influenced by the series hype..
Stranger things to me, is a combination of very nice elements.. gone wrong for the sake of drama.. which however, some people enjoyed! For example:

Interesting elements => Series references:
Cthulhu mythos + The Mist (film) => Monsters
Constantine (water dipping scene) => Interdimensional travelling
DnD => Kids' fun activity
70-80', childhood period of many current geeks => Series' timeline

The rest is plain fillers and nonsensical overstretched scenes..

My opinion, make something more original (premise-wise) and solid (with well connected game phases), so it can withstand the test of time and be liked even by people who aren't hardcore fans of the show.
 
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ghost whistler
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I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the show, that's entirely your right.

It seems you want to have a different discussion than the one I'm trying to have. With respect, let's not do that.

No game design will ever or should ever appeal to everyone everywhere every time.

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Greece
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Ok, maybe I overdid it explaining why I didn't fall in love with the show, but allow me to analyze my points about the actual game:

- You mentioned playing DnD 'inside' the board game. Other than the rights issues that you'll have to face, there is no reason for that to actually be dnd.
The mini rpg should be your rpg. Unique and interesting in it's own way.

- The backstory is not ST-esque. It's pure ST! For someone to like it, he/she will have to be: a board gamer + a ST fan +DnD fan +don't mind it's an imitation + enjoy the distinctiveness of the mini rpg phase. Unless you have some amazing components included to support it's promotion (minis, artwork, etc), you'll soon realize that the group of people you're aiming for is quite tiny (imho ofc!). Unless you want to make a free PnP game, in which case just go for it!!

I don't mean to clip your wings. Im just making sure you're not blinded by that show's current hype.
Feel free to prove me wrong by making an awesome game! In fact, I wish you to create it the way you really want it and watch it becoming epic! Cheers!
 
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ghost whistler
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Steady on! I haven't given a backstory yet.

Of course using licensed material would be foolhardy if this ever got commerical. But I haven't even designed it yet, so that's not really an issue for right now.

It shoudln't be an rpg of my own devising, it's a minigame (if that) based on 1980's Dungeons and Dragons. A generic fantasy rpg with a Dungeon Master (though that's likely a copyright term), a wizard, a fighter, a cleric, and a rogue.

I'm still not sure what you're getting at. This is a project that, in all honesty, would never become fully realised. I'm fine with that. Maybe it'll be something that's only played between me and my friends with cardboard home made chits and what not. I don't have an issue with that.

However Stranger Things is a popular show and the rpg that's also strongly based off of it (indirectly) called Tales from the Loop is also popular.

Of course some people don't like it. You can't please everyone with any form of media be it television or board games.


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Greece
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I see.. Well in that case, start developing it and every now and then, post here an update about it's progress!
 
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