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Subject: Maziacs the Boardgame rss

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Jorge Arroyo
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When I was growing up, my parents bought me a ZX Spectrum. It was my first computer and it came with a case of tapes with many games. Some were pretty bad, but some were very good and I remember them to this day (of course, emulators do help a lot there... ).

One of my favorite games, which fascinated me with its big characters and monsters and the tension it built as you progressed was Maziacs, by Don Priestley. I played it to death back then, and since emulators started to get good enough, have been playing it until today. It's the perfect pick up and play game, as each mission can be played in 10-15 minutes, but it presents a random maze with a new challenge each time.



The premise is simple: Get into the maze, clear the way of Maziacs, get the treasure and come back. Prisoners will show you the way to the treasure (for a short while) and there are swords and food spread around the maze. Both are important, because if you've got a sword, you'll kill one Maziac for sure, but the sword only lasts one use. Once you're empty handed, the next encounter will almost always result in your death (that part is brilliant because the actual fight lasts a few seconds of agony while you see both characters fighting and even though you know the posibility of a win is practically zero, the tension is high and you always hope that you'll win against all odds).

You can get experience the game for yourself at http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0003100

So, I finally decided to make a board game using this same concept. I thought it would probably work well as a quick solo game, using tiles to make the maze as you play. Here are a couple of pictures of the components:



This is a possible starting position, except in the game you couldn't know about the two rooms to the right and the maziac because you only draw a new tile when you can see into it (although I haven't decided if the max range of vision should be one tile, two, or until the path turns...)



Here the hero is taking the treasure back (there should be many more tiles on the table leading back to the exit, of course). As he will surely die if he fights without a sword, he must leave the treasure and take the sword, then kill the Maziac and go back for the treasure...

The rules are pretty simple: When there're no Maziacs on sight, you can move freely (losing one energy each time you enter a new tile), but as soon as you're within sight of a Maziac, you must stop there and roll for movement for both you and the Maziac (plus other Maziacs in sight if any). If before rolling, you're not in sight of a Maziac anymore (turned a corner and left it behind), then it'll stop the chase (they're pretty stupid).

Exploration is done as soon as you're within sight of an empty space. You draw a tile and fill in the round spaces with a randomly drawn counter (either food, prisoner or a sword). Prisoners show you tree tiles of the way (you roll to see what is the direction to the treasure and place a small bead on the tile, if the next tile is not visible, you leave the beads there and roll for direction when they're revealed. It works pretty well, but sometimes the randomness means the way back is shorter than the way to the treasure (unexpected connections).

Taking to prisioners or taking objects is free when no Maziacs are in sight, but cost one movement point when being chased by them.

As soon as a determined number of beads has been placed on the board (10 seems to be an ok number for a not too long, not impossibly hard game), the next revealed tile on that path has to be the treasure tile. Taking the treasure is done just like with any other item, and now you have to go back to the exit, so it's good to clear the way of Maziacs when you go in.

If you manage to reach the exit you win!

I found the game pretty hard as it is, as some times finding a sword to get past a Maziac is hard or even impossible althout that is pretty unlikely. What usually happens is that the sword is so far that you run out of energy... but the game is winnable, although it requieres a combination of good play and good luck (just as the original computer game, which many would say is too luck based).

So, I'm planning on posting this as a free print and play game, although I still have to test the game more and write the rules, so there's a bit of work to be done yet. There's also a 2 player cooperative variant that I've tested, but which needs refinement.

Anyway, when it's done, I'll create a BGG entry and post an update to this thread.
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Orlando Ramirez
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Round Rock
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Sounds like fun, how long is a typical play session?
 
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Jorge Arroyo
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I'd say about 15-20 minutes for a distance 10 game... less if you're unlucky
 
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