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Subject: Horror Island (Solitaire PnP Contest WIP) rss

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David Mitchell
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WIP Thread for Horror Island
Designed for the Solitaire Print and Play Contest.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/644090/solitaire-print-a...

It was supposed to be a quiet get-away for you and your friends. Desperate to start your tropical island vacation you had the pilot push on through the storm. It gets hazy from there, but when you came to you found the pilot dead and the plane wrecked. You made your way to a small abandoned village on the far side of the island but your hopes of finding help were quickly dashed when you discovered the entire village deserted.

A noise here, a rustling in the bushes, the eerie silence. Something is going on. You don't know exactly what it is, but you know you have to do something... and soon. You know to the core of your being that you have until the sun goes down. Some of the other survivors aren't quite convinced, so it's up to you to find out what is going on here on to survive this Horror Island.

This board game recreates the feel of a Horror Movie: as characters start exploring the island they become in-danger (but they must move out of the safety of the Village in order to survive). As they die others start to become aware that something is going on and go to investigate. In the first phase of the game you must travel the island and gather clues as to what is going on. After you have found enough evidence your path forward becomes apparent and you must spring into action to accomplish the Goal to survive the island. If the sun sets, or everyone has died the game is over and the horror lives on and waits for the next victims.

The cards from the Action Deck serve several purposes, they represent how much time is left in the day, they allow the players to move and perform special actions, and they represent the energy a player has left to escape attacks. When a player has no Action Cards left in their hand they are exhausted. If a player ever has no cards left after an attack they are unable to defend themselves and they die. The player can then go back to the village, select another pawn, draw a new hand to continue.

In this game people will die.

Number of Players: 1 to 4 (co-operative)
Play Time: 30 minutes

Game Components (locations to be published once the graphics have been updated):
90 Card Action Deck
30 Card Peril Deck
9 Card Goal Deck
plus miscellaneous tokens
4 player mats (printed on 1 page)
1 Game Board

============ FINAL FILE LIST ============
http://home.comcast.net/~father-nature/horror_island.html
http://home.comcast.net/~father-nature/game_components.zip
http://home.comcast.net/~father-nature/HorrorIsland_Map.zip


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David Mitchell
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Finished up another test run tonight. Very happy with the modified rules and the results. Had a narrow win.

http://home.comcast.net/~father-nature/doing_well.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~father-nature/about_to_win.jpg

I still need to upload an actual "good" copy of the map, but this is the one I used for play-testing along with all the components.

http://home.comcast.net/~father-nature/game_components.zip
http://home.comcast.net/~father-nature/Map-draft.zip

I'll post some of my notes and what I've learned shortly. Right now I just want to get this up here :-)

Enjoy,
David
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David Mitchell
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Since this is a Work-In-Progress (WIP) thread I wanted to give everyone some insight into how the game has gotten to this point.

I started out with a simple idea, I wanted to make a Horror Movie based game. But not a Zombie or Haunted House game, those have been done to "death". I wanted to create a survival-in-the-wild type of game where the survivors are being hunted down.

So, after watching a few examples of this genre I jotted down some notes about what is so special about these movies:
- Most of the victims mull around while a few brave souls wander off and discover something bad is happening.
- The victims who just mull around are usually safe. Action (and danger) follows the wanderers.
- There is a time limit for action, otherwise somethig very bad happens.
- There is a feeling of tension, desperation.
- The enemy always seems a few steps ahead, he foils your plans. He toys with his victims.
- People die, but the Movie goes on.

That looks good. If I could capture these feels in the game theme and mechanics I'd be on to something.

Having a time limit sounds good and there's a few ways to do it. For instance you could add a turn tracker, the problem with a turn tracker is it's one more thing to keep track of and doesn't really add to the feeling of suspense I'm going for. Piling up stones on top of a grave for instance would be a bit better... but now we've got even more components. I definitely wanted something visible, and simple: in the end I decided to make the players draw deck double as the timer. I put a sun on the back of it and toyed with the idea of calling it the daylight deck (the game is over when the sun sets). This allows the players to see how much time is left every time they draw a card. I like the way that felt.

In order to keep the enemy a few steps ahead I immediately settled on the idea of having him attack the players hand. At the end of every turn he would have a chance to pick away at the cards the player had left. If you ran out of cards he would kill you. This would be the core thematic mechanic in the game. After thinking about different ways of acheiving this I decided to add another deck - now we have the "Action Deck" for the players and the "Peril Deck" for the enemy. The Peril Deck tells the players who is attacked by listing locations, I also decided that he could attack the Action Deck directly... although not very often, just to mix things up a bit.

Now I needed to design my Action Deck: The player had to use the cards in the Action Deck, chipping away at the cards had to have some meaning for the player. I immediately added in the movement cards - you want to move you play some cards, move too much and you will exhaust yourself and be easy pickings for the enemy (very horror movie-esque). It needed a little more variety though. I decided to use a few horror type catch phrases as the cards: "I'm over here" allows the player to take an attack for a teammate, "That was close" allows you to avoid one attack, I added a few more as well including my favorite "I know what to do". Initially this card caused me some problems, it was a bit over-powered but play-testing allowed me to get it at the right level. Of course if there's an "I know what to do", there has to be a corresponding "It's not what you think" in the Peril Deck... oh what fun, I like these two cards.

I created a quick test board (the one uploaded above) and a back story about a plane crash and a deserted island to try things out. I realized at this point that players needed a reason to leave the safety of the abandoned village so I hit on the idea of "something is wrong" and spreading clue tokens about to figure out what is going on. This also led to the Goal Deck. 9 locations seemed ideal since the different combinations of attacking locations led to a 30-card deck which fits very nicely on one sheet of paper. My action deck was at 90 cards at this point and looked pretty good. I started simplifying the game at this point, removing un-needed mechanics and rules (eg. losing a card at the start of your turn) and working on polish (the sayings below each location).

After a little play-testing I came across a rare case - one player happened to be in the right place at the right time and was able to finish the goal by themselves (well almost, there was a twist ending). Even though the game only runs 30 minutes the other players had basically nothing to do. I talked it over with my play-testers (Tara and Laurie) and we decided that the other players needed something to do so they didn't get bored. This stage should only last a few minutes anyway so it didn't have to be something big. I decided that the unused clue tokens (you have to gather three valid clues to reveal the goal) could be re-used in some way. If you could bring them back to the village you could tell others what you've discovered and mobilize people into action (get cards back into the draw deck). So now players had a reason to keep running around the island and they could feel like they were helping even if they weren't the ones dragging the unwilling sacrifice to the waterfall or burning the voodoo doll.

With all these modifications I like where the game is currently at, I need to make the map more playable, and I might try to add a creepy masked villager with a sword to the backs of the Goal Deck... not sure yet.

Hope you enjoy this little insight into how I've been advancing on this game,
David
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Aleksandar Saranac
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I made a quick run through the rules, and I was a bit confused with the way you mixed solo and cooperative rules.
Could you, please, change them in such a way that first the solo rules are described (this is the goal of this competition) and then add the cooperative play changes at the end...
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Nate K
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I realize that space is at a premium, since you're using mini cards, but I really think that you should explain the various cards' effects on the cards themselves. It would help new players significantly in learning the game.
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David Mitchell
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Ok, I've done some slight reworking of the rules to focus more on the solitaire play and hopefully improved the readability. I'm going to post them here for public scrutiny and Discussion:


Horror Island
=============

It was supposed to be a quiet get-away for you and your friends. Desperate to start your tropical island vacation you had the pilot push on through the storm. It gets hazy from there, but when you came to you found the pilot dead and the plane wrecked. You made your way to a small abandoned village on the far side of the island but your hopes of finding help were quickly dashed when you discovered the entire village deserted.

A noise here, a rustling in the bushes, the eerie silence. Something is going on. You don't know exactly what it is, but you know you have to do something... and soon. You know to the core of your being that you have until the sun goes down. Some of the other survivors aren't quite convinced, so it's up to you to find out what is going on here on to survive this Horror Island.

This board game recreates the feel of a Horror Movie: as characters start exploring the island they become in-danger (but they must move out of the safety of the Village in order to survive). As they die others start to become aware that something is going on and go to investigate. In the first phase of the game you must travel the island and gather clues as to what is going on. After you have found enough evidence your path forward becomes apparent and you must spring into action to accomplish the Goal to survive the island. If the sun sets, or everyone has died the game is over and the horror lives on and waits for the next victims.

The cards from the Action Deck serve several purposes, they represent how much time is left in the day, they allow the players to move and perform special actions, and they represent the energy a player has left to escape attacks. When a player has no Action Cards left in their hand they are exhausted. If a player ever has no cards left after an attack they are unable to defend themselves and they die. The player can then go back to the village, select another pawn, draw a new hand to continue.

In this game people will die.


===== SETUP =====
Each player takes a player card and places it in front of them.
Shuffle the Goal, Action and Peril Decks and place on the Game Board.
Each player takes two cards from the Action Deck to start with.
The Items are placed off to the side of the board until needed.
The clues are taken and mixed, one is placed (face down) on each location except the village.
Four pawns plus one for each player are placed in the Village (eg. one player would use five pawns, three players would use seven pawns).

===== GAMEPLAY =====
In the first part of the game you must travel around the island and pick up clue tokens. After the third clue is found ("Nothing"s don't count but can be saved as outlined in step 3) the Goal Card is revealed; at that point you must race to complete the goal before sunset in order to survive.

Each turn a player will do the following:
1. Draw two cards from the Action Deck; if there are insufficient cards left in the Action Deck night has fallen, and the game is over and everyone dies.

2. Play any number of "Move" cards. The total of the Move cards represents the furthest that pawn can move. The players pawn may stop at any point before this maximum is reached (eg. playing a "Move x3", "Move x3" and "Move x4" allows you to move up to ten spaces).

3. After you are done moving you may perform a single action:
- Examine/Collect a Clue Token at the current location. Flip the Goal Card if three clues have been found. If the Clue is "Nothing" or if three Clues have already been collected to reveal the Goal Card you may place the Clue in your inventory - these may be "cashed in later".
- Pick up or drop an item.
- Do an action specified on the Goal Card (eg. repair the motor, bury the remains) if you have the correct items in your inventory and are at the correct location.
- Trade in an unused Clue Token at the Village (tell the others what you have found) to replace 1d6 cards from the discard pile at the bottom of the Action Deck.
- Draw one additional Action Card.
- (If you are playing with multiple players) you may pass off cards to a player at the same Location.

4. Discard down to six cards.

5. Line up your cards on the bottom of your player card (if you have three cards left they will be placed under 1, 2 and 3).

6. Draw and resolve a Peril Card. Most Peril cards affect everyone in the specified locations, in a multi-player game your pawn may be attacked multiple times after you move (once for each player). You may play one card in response to each Peril Card prior to any dice being rolled. (Attacks are explained under "Peril Cards" below)

===== Action Cards explained =====
Move - A movement card allows you to move up to the number of spaces indicated (x3, x4, x5 or x6).
I'm Over Here - Prior to rolling dice - allow a Villager to die for you OR (multi-player games) Divert an attack against one player to yourself if you are not currently being attacked.
That Was Close - Avoid one attack entirely.
It's Now Or Never - Prior to discarding down to six, the current player may draw two more cards and move again (they do not gain an additional action).
I Have To Be Quick - you may continue to move your alloted spaces after you have performed your action.
I Know What To Do - This card may count as a clue toward revealing the goal card, or if the Goal is already revealed you may discard the current Goal and reveal a new one.

===== Peril Cards explained =====
Attack - a noise in the bushes or movement out of the corner of your eye tells you that you need to get away quickly... all players in the locations specified must scramble to avoid an attack. Roll the number of dice specified; the numbers rolled are compared to the card slots for each player. Any cards in those slots are discarded. If, after an attack, a player has no cards remaining they are exhausted and are unable to get away; they are dead and you need to return to town to select a new pawn and draw two new cards from the Action Deck. Any Items or Clue Tokens that were being carried by that pawn are dropped on that spot and may be picked up later.
(eg. Bob has finished his move on a trail, he has cards in slots 1, 2 and 3. A Peril Card is revealed that attacks everyone on the trails x4. Four dice are rolled and result in a 1, 3, 3 and a 5. The cards in slots 1 and 3 are removed. Since there is still a card in slot 2 Bob is safe (although closer to being exhausted). After the next player moves another attack x3 is revealed against anyone on the trails. A 2, 6 and a 6 are rolled. Since Bob had a card in slot 2 it is now discarded, and since Bob has no more cards left he is unable to get away from his attacker and a muffled scream is all that remains of Bob. If Bob was carrying any Items or Clue Tokens they are dropped at his current location before laying his pawn to rest on the side of the board.)
During an attack any player can cash in a Clue Token to divert an attack to yourself as if they had just played an "I'm Over Here" Action Card.

Wasted Efforts - roll one die, that number of cards is removed from the Action Deck.
It's Not What You Think - If a Goal is currently revealed it is discarded and a new Goal is immediately revealed. If no Goal has been revealed this card does nothing.

===== Goal Cards =====
Once a Goal has been revealed the players can start working toward resolving that Goal. Any items listed on that Goal are placed immediately on the board as follows:
Flare Gun - placed at the Crash Site
Gasoline - placed in the Workshop
Holy Water - placed in the Church
Keys - placed at the Waterfall
Knife - placed in the Ruins
Lighter - placed in the Workshop
Motor - placed on the Docks
Radio - placed at the Crash Site
Remains - placed in the Cave
Shovel - placed at the Spring
Voodoo Doll - placed in the Graveyard
(Note - these items were already at those locations, but the importance of these items wasn't revealed until the Danger and Goal became known).

To accomplish the Goal you must follow the directions listed on the Goal Card, which usually involves picking up items and bringing them to a specific location. Using an item at a location (such as fixing a motor) usually requires one action unless otherwise stated on the Goal Card.

If you complete the Goal prior to the Action Deck running out or running out of pawns you have survived Horror Island.

===== RECOMMENDED NAMES FOR PAWNS - Don't get too attached
A - Andy or Allison
B - Bill or Beth
C - Charlie or Catherine
D - Doug or Diane
E - Eddie or Elaine
F - Frank or Frannie
G - Gus or Ginny
H - Hal or Helen
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David Mitchell
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How does this look?

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David Mitchell
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I've updated the graphics for the Peril and Action cards. I decided to use stick figures to keep things simple and to allow the player to have the game fit his/her imagination better. I considered using pawns in the picture, but then I realized I can't draw ;-)

Tell me what you think,
David
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Nate K
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Cute. Maybe give the natives a grass skirt or headdress or something to further differentiate them from the players?
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David Mitchell
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Just a quick update. I'm currently working on the Game Board; I have a new map but I think I can do a little better. I'm playing around with the paths and making the graphics a little bit smaller to give the board some visual balance.

After I'm done with that I'm going to work on updating the rules (ala Death of an Intergalactic Salesman). I think that having good looking rules are important and they have to add to the overall feel of the Game.

I'm hoping to have the map done sometime this week and then hopefully knock out the rules by next weekend.

Wish me luck,
David
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David Mitchell
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Alright, I think I have to admit I'm not an artist. This last part was particularly challenging for me. I've made some updates to the map but I'm hoping someday to be able to do a polished version.

My final is right here:
http://home.comcast.net/~father-nature/HorrorIsland_Map.zip



Now to do a final polish of the rules format and I can be happy :-)

Enjoy,
David
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Nate K
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Wow. That map looks really good!
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David Mitchell
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kurthl33t wrote:
Wow. That map looks really good!


I was trying to do some hand drawn images with words above them (wrapped around the oval) but I couldn't get a consistent feel. All-in-all I'm pretty happy though.
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David Mitchell
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Ok, I did a final webpage for the rules... again, I wish I could do more but I feel this is the best I'm going to be able to do with the time I have left.

http://home.comcast.net/~father-nature/horror_island.html


All files necessary to play the game have been included at the top of this thread under "FINAL FILE LIST".

Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions or ideas for expansions, etc... I'd love to hear from the community on this game as well as my other BGG game "Death of an Intergalactic Salesman".

Thanks in advance and I hope you enjoyed my thought process while I was putting this game together :-)

Now I finally get to relax a little and look over the other entries. There are a few that really piqued my interest early on.

Don't forget to vote,
David
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Chad Mestdagh
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The Vassal Module is ready:

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B0WBVnUE4NbHOGZkMzcxODYtOWI...

I have kind of stopped asking for permission for this. If you want me to take it down, let me know.
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David Mitchell
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Not at all, thank you for doing this btw :-)

David
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David Mitchell
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radchad wrote:
The Vassal Module is ready:

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B0WBVnUE4NbHOGZkMzcxODYtOWI...

I have kind of stopped asking for permission for this. If you want me to take it down, let me know.


Had a few problems with using the Vasal Module, it may be because I'm new to Vasal... For Wasted Efforts I guess you have to just drag the cards off one at a time from the Action Deck. The Peril card is a bit more problematic, it should be hidden until after your turn otherwise it can influence how you play (eg. you wouldn't want to stop on the trails if you knew you would be attacked there) As a work-around I'd recommend ignoring the first peril card, and just use the next peril card drawn prior to making any moves. I might give a try at tweaking it, I'll have to see how it works.

Other than that it looks great.
Thanks again,
David
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Chad Mestdagh
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Oops. Yep I should fix that. I guess for the moment, if you are using the vassal module, ignore that button and just draw your cards manually.

There is a discard for each card, but the peril discards just put them back into the Peril deck.

Two modules to fix. (The other being Lord of the Rings) Thanks for trying it.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Horror Island is now fixed. The old link is dead. Here is the new link.

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B0WBVnUE4NbHZjhjZDE4ZDMtODV...
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David Mitchell
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radchad wrote:
Horror Island is now fixed. The old link is dead.


Long live the new link!

Thanks
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David Mitchell
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So frustrating... waiting for feedback... lol.

Hope everyone is remembering to vote.
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Mark Cookman
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FatherNature wrote:
So frustrating... waiting for feedback... lol.

Hope everyone is remembering to vote.


For what it is worth, I have felt guilty coming back to play your game again and again when I should be trying other games in the contest. I enjoy the game and I though I haven't voted yet. I will remember to. I hope.

Mark
365ZED
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Chris Hansen
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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mcookman65 wrote:
...I haven't voted yet. I will remember to. I hope.

I'll remind you to vote.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Fun game. Looks to play well so far.

Where is the voting page?
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Chris Hansen
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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Omega2064 wrote:
Fun game. Looks to play well so far.

Where is the voting page?

Just send me an geekmail with your top five games from the contest. Voting instructions are in the first post of the Solitaire Print and Play Contest.
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