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J H
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Hi guys,

Earlier I started doing a prototype for Dominion/Thunderstorm style of deck building video game (posted about it here on the boards) and it ended up being... too cloned. I couldn't find a good angle on it.

I continue my prototyping efforts, and ended up working on a game that's somewhat based to the board games I enjoy so much: werewolf & battlestar galactica. Essentially, the traitor mechanism.

Werewolf style video game
A game in the spirit of popular Werewolf/Mafia party game. An online multiplayer game for 2-6 (or more) players - where 0 to 2 traitors are destroying the team from inside.

Essentially, the players need to collaboratively beat the game. There 0-2 traitors in the group (depending on group size) and players cannot be killed in the game, but there's some sort of "common resource(s)" that can go to zero.

Current theme
In my prototype, I'm using a zombie theme: one of the humans is actually an infected who is attracting zombies in the area. Humans need to figure out who the infected (=traitor) is to win the game (major victory) or survive zombie hordes that come in waves (minor victory). The traitor could have several ways to affect the survival: he can accidentally "fall down" (in the game, other players need to help get you up, and you cannot shoot much when you have fallen) or he can perhaps "jam the gun" or simply "miss his shots on purpose".

For the zombie theme, the challenge & story makes somewhat sense and it's somewhat logical.

Werewolf theme...?
The bad news about zombies is that they are sort of done over and over again and I feel a different theme could be a good one.
- robbers/heist would be nice, but Kane & Lynch 2 (Big Game by Big Company) is coming soon and they have this robber theme.
- trapped in an isolated islan
- werewolf...

...but the issue with Werewolf is that I quite cannot find what could do a good challenge to beat *cooperatively*. With zombies, it's easy: everybody shoots zombies.

With werewolf: uhh... villagers... pick their nose waiting for the night to come?

Please notice that one player controls one character (at least that's the current plan) and everything happens realtime (video game you know ) so there's no "turns" like in board games.

How to make werewolf theme work?
I'd be most pleased to get any brainstorming aid on the "what kind of challenges the group could face in a werewolf setting" question.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. If you are interested in helping in testing, I've created a traitor game group where I was planning to announce & find people with multiplayer connections to help testing. No twitter or other place just yet.
 
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TS S. Fulk
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Why don't you use the Do You Worship Cthulhu? theme?
 
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J H
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That's possible, but still the issue remains: what kind of challenges would these worshipper collaboratively try to beat?

Bear in mind that players von't lynch 1 guy every night. Instead, players need to try figure out which player has been acting suspiciously (=ruining the group play) and then lynch that guy.

If they lynch the wrong guy, they lose the game.
 
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Toco
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Maybe a setting like the movie "The Thing", or that episode of X-Files where someone is infected with a thing/creature/parasite ... All this at an isolated arctic environment ...
 
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David Giles
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...or even a secret agent/special forces theme. Players have a concrete goal to accomplish as a group (break into the enemy base, steal some documents, etc.), but there's a mole(s) in the group...

The Mole's goal is to stay alive, so he can't, say, walk out in the open and call for the guards--they'll shoot him too. However, the Mole does get a few powers the other players don't: for example, he can summon a guard(s) every few minutes, or draw the guards in their general direction, etc.

The Mole wins if they can accomplish either a) his own, seperate goal or b) the players' goal, but for himself. For example, while the player's goal is to get to the center of the base, steal some documents and get out, the Mole's goal would be a) get to the control room to meet his contact (as soon as he does, the other players bet rushed and lose) or b) take the documents not to the player's helicopter (i.e. exit), but his own. Perhaps he needs to convince the other players to help him achieve his goal, somehow; for example, he needs to convince them to follow a certain route back to the helicopter, moving through an area that's dangerous for the players, but safe for him--an area swarming with Mole-friendly agents, for example. These elements would have to be randomized so players don't pick up on them after repeated plays.

Each player would also have a specialized skill or piece of equipment that makes them vital to the team: One can pick locks, one can hack computer consoles, etc.
 
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I have no further assistance with theme, other than those already mentioned. But I am interested in how well this style game might translate to a video game. Had considered doing it myself even. I've joined the Steam group.
 
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J H
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Pete: Kane & Lynch 2 have this thing coming, but there individuals have more power ("no vote to lynch a guy, I believe"). Rat among robbers - might want to check that out as well. There's also a garry's mod called Trouble In Terror Town. In that game a terrorists have 10 minutes (or so) time to survive... while N number of traitors kill terrorists. This game is decent, but lacks in certain areas (since one guy can easily kill another, it can be a not so fun to play if you get killed right away and have to wait and so on).

tocoking wrote:
Maybe a setting like the movie "The Thing", or that episode of X-Files where someone is infected with a thing/creature/parasite ... All this at an isolated arctic environment ...


I like this setting, and indeed fits the idea. Of course this would still need something: what kind of challenge players will cooperatively face?

brokenimage321 wrote:
...or even a secret agent/special forces theme. Players have a concrete goal to accomplish as a group (break into the enemy base, steal some documents, etc.), but there's a mole(s) in the group...

The Mole's goal is to stay alive, so he can't, say, walk out in the open and call for the guards--they'll shoot him too. However, the Mole does get a few powers the other players don't: for example, he can summon a guard(s) every few minutes, or draw the guards in their general direction, etc.

I like this. I actually had this "summon guards" style of idea planned for the zombie them (as in "summon zombies" )

Quote:
The Mole wins if they can accomplish either a) his own, seperate goal or b) the players' goal, but for himself. For example, while the player's goal is to get to the center of the base, steal some documents and get out, the Mole's goal would be a) get to the control room to meet his contact (as soon as he does, the other players bet rushed and lose) or b) take the documents not to the player's helicopter (i.e. exit), but his own. Perhaps he needs to convince the other players to help him achieve his goal, somehow; for example, he needs to convince them to follow a certain route back to the helicopter, moving through an area that's dangerous for the players, but safe for him--an area swarming with Mole-friendly agents, for example. These elements would have to be randomized so players don't pick up on them after repeated plays.

Each player would also have a specialized skill or piece of equipment that makes them vital to the team: One can pick locks, one can hack computer consoles, etc.


Are you thinking that the main challenge is to get rid of the guards (shoot them?) or collaboratively sneak so that guards won't spot them?

(For budget reason I need to also be aware how complex the challenges get and what is doable).

I'm somewhat liking this idea of "everybody is in the enemy territory, so you cannot just reveal yourself since you get shot". That's a good one.

Thanks guys for the help, still would very much like to think what kind of obstacles could be collaboratively faced. Shooting enemies is quite simple & straightforward solution. Easy to understand for the players too.
 
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Wynand Louw
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Science fiction:
-Body snatchers: The alien controlled player has to sabotage tinfoil hats.
-Cyborgs, like the terminator: Infiltrate the human resistance
-High tech spies: Steal industrial secrets
-Matrix: Are you in the matrix or are you real? This may be an interesting spin: You may think you are the traitor but find out that you are the only real human. How do you know whether you are in the Matrix or real world? Who is an agent and who is human?

Horror:
-Vampires: The vampire has to infect everybody before he is caught.
-Turn it around: Have a human infiltrating a Vampire stronghold, posing as one. His mission to destroy them from the inside. The traitor is the human, the good guys the vampires.
-Werewolves: Same thing
-Demonic possession: The traitor is demoniacally possessed and has to open a gate to the netherworlds.
-Turn it around: An angel infiltrating a demonic stronghold as a mole.
-Chtulhu cultists

Fantasy:
- A group of children, one is a changeling/doppleganger left by the fairies when they stole the real child. Will they steal more children and leave more changelings with the help of the infiltrator?

Espionage:
-The French resistance: Infiltrating the German command structure. Or be a German infiltrating a resistance cell.
-Cold War: USA vs USSR.
-Hamas vs Shin Bet

Romantic
-Musketeers infiltrating the forces of Richelieu.
-Treasure Island: Long John Silver is the ship's cook, or is he?
-A group of courtesans. Who has a secret liaison with the king?

Steam Punk / Victorian
-Sherlock Holmes infiltrates a Secret Society bent on World Domination

Illuminati
-Infiltrate the inner circle of a secret society that controls the worlds banks. The mole has to stop financial meltdowns and middle eastern wars planned by the group.
 
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David Giles
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TheMob wrote:

Are you thinking that the main challenge is to get rid of the guards (shoot them?) or collaboratively sneak so that guards won't spot them?


I was thinking a couple different challenges at once, actually:

First, they have to collaboratively sneak around, avoiding the guards. Guards, beside being dangerous, can call other guards. Guards will attack all players, Mole included, so all players want to avoid this. If any given player is killed, they lose. To make the Guards more challenging, you could limit the weapons that the players have--for example, they're restricted to Tranq pistols or something. This also balances the player-Mole dynamic--preventing the Mole from killing all his companions and vice-versa.

Second, there's the map. The map presents all kinds of challenges--traps, locked doors, etc., which will require all players to use their respective skills to navigate. There should be multiple routes around the base, each requiring a different skill. That way, if you don't have someone that can pick locks (or he gets killed), you don't get trapped in a dead end with a locked door. This will force players to try and keep each other alive and stick together.

Third, there's accomplishing your individual goal, as well as determining who's on your side (or not). This, I think, is the most challenging to design. The goal for all players must both be simple (so that they can be quickly understood by new players) and obscured (to make it harder for veteran players to pick out Moles).

Let me elaborate on that second point: Say that you had a static "Mole" goal, like, getting to the roof of the base with the documents (instead of the player goal, to exit the base entirely). After a few plays, most players would recognize any attempt to head to the roof (and not the exit) incredibly suspicious and likely kill the offender.

Thus, Mole and Hero goals should both be randomized, as well as some map elements (possibly). Thus, it's difficult for any player to guess what an individual player is doing when they suggest an alternate route: It could be that they are a Mole, leading the others into a trap, or he is a Hero, leading the rest of the group away from the guards around the corner.

Another interesting possibility would be to give the players different information: The Mole always knows where his own goal is, while a Hero has a map of the building, another Hero knows where all computer consoles are, a third can see all the guards, etc.

Does that help?

(whew. that was a lot longer than I expected.)




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Wynand Louw
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@ David Giles

Excellent post!
 
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J H
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Alrighty, thanks everybody for your help. I ended up using the "isolated arctic environment", with an infected member (I've yet to decide id there's alien or behind the infection...)

tocoking wrote:
Maybe a setting like the movie "The Thing", or that episode of X-Files where someone is infected with a thing/creature/parasite ... All this at an isolated arctic environment ...


Wynand - those are all really nice ideas, especially the fantasy idea was fresh one Thanks for these, helped make me decide.

David: while I won't be using that secret agent/sneak as the theme, I feel that I might be using some of the ideas somehow in the game. For example, sneaking around the camp (ruining equipment) without getting noticed *by other characters* could be interesting twist. Specialized roles (and perhaps items too) all will be on my list.

I wrote a bit about how I ended up choosing this arctic theme.

In the end it simply made sense resourcewise & it supports gameplay well.
 
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Sam Collard
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If you're still interested, it might be interesting to riff on the idea of giving the enemies their own objectives that they convince other players to help them with.

Perhaps you give two randomly selected players the goal information, one of them is always a traitor, one of them is always honest. You end up with players trying to convince each other not only that they're a good guy, but also of what the team should be doing. Plus if all the objectives are sufficiently risky, traitor players may (even without false objectives) try and claim they have them to steer the rest into danger.

Sorry if this is rambling. One thing that you can do online that you can't in board games is allow communication between subsets of players, say one-to-one chat, as well as group. Not something you necessarily want, but worth considering. One-to-one chat only might be interesting...
 
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J H
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Cheshire Swift wrote:
If you're still interested, it might be interesting to riff on the idea of giving the enemies their own objectives that they convince other players to help them with.

Yeh, that's a pretty cool idea. First I want to have common goal in the game and start testing that, but I like this idea.

One-to-one chat is also - possibly - okay, it could work so that players in certain room can talk. Since the game is for 3-6 players, I'd like to make people communicate as much as possible, so for this reason everything might be public (except traitors could have their own communication channel, when there's 2 traitors in the game)
 
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