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Michael R.
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This game was my entry for the 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Competition. The initial design was over bloated and clunky and I'm currently working on slimming the game down and making the mechanics more streamlined.

2012 PnP COMPETITION LINK
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/798184/2012-solitaire-pr...

RULES V3.0
https://app.box.com/s/4y0h6u4auxndpio7cw5p

Escape from Midnight Mountain is a dice and card driven solitaire adventure game with a mountaineering and Lovecraftian theme intertwined.

Playing Time: 20 - 30 minutes

Components (approximately)

- 54 cards
- Some tokens/cubes/counters to track stats
- Character Card
- 9 x 6cm card sleeves
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Dicky P
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Re: WIP - Midnight Mountain - A Solitaire Mountaineering Card Game
Sounds interesting. Good luck.

As a solo game, and with variable options, you will be looking to build in some sort of measure of the difficulty a particular set up has and so "acheivement" if a particular mountain is conquered?

Although this might not fit if you are going for a RPG/campaign route (no pun intended).
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - Midnight Mountain - A Solitaire Mountaineering Card Game
Success will likely be measured by a final score, which I can see being derived from the things like how many turns it took to get to the summit and how much energy you had left, plus any bonus points gained for climbing special routes. Completing a climb on 'easy' could mean completing it within 60 turns (or whatever), whereas completing a climb on 'expert' might mean you have 40 turn limit and must climb at least 3 of the 5 special routes on offer. I have some some ideas for amateur and professional climbers, with the amateurs having worse stats, thus making the game more challenging.

Mountains could also be composed of multiple zones of the same colour e.g yellow, yellow, red, red and I've even thought of an infinite mode where your goal is to climb as high as you can. Every zone could represent 500 metres.
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Nate K
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Re: WIP - Midnight Mountain - A Solitaire Mountaineering Card Game
Are you going to attempt to mimic weather complications, as well? "Get to base camp in the next hour and a half, or you'll be caught in a blizzard!"
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - Midnight Mountain - A Solitaire Mountaineering Card Game
kurthl33t wrote:
Are you going to attempt to mimic weather complications, as well? "Get to base camp in the next hour and a half, or you'll be caught in a blizzard!"


Yes, weather will be involved and it will change as time passes. It may help or hinder your climber. I'm not sure how I'm going to implement it, probably it'll be some kind of track or it might change randomly after you complete each zone.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Edmonton
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Re: WIP - Midnight Mountain - A Solitaire Mountaineering Card Game
You should consider entering this into the summer print and play contest:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/798184/2012-solitaire-pr...

It might be an incentive to complete the game and get feedback.
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - Midnight Mountain - A Solitaire Mountaineering Card Game
radchad wrote:
You should consider entering this into the summer print and play contest:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/798184/2012-solitaire-pr...

It might be an incentive to complete the game and get feedback.


Thanks, I might just do that. Need to check out a bit more about the rules and format etc.

Today I've been working on mail merging the card data from my Excel spreadsheet into Word. It works well so I can easily populate all the info into a low ink test card template, which looks very boring but is functional.
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - Idea Phase
I've decided to enter the game into the 2012 PnP Solitaire contest so have updated the top post information as per the competition rules.

I've always imagined that the fully fleshed out game will have as many as 150 zone cards (30 for each zone) which will give a huge amount of playability and randomness. I see that it is probably far too many cards for anyone to print out so I may half the amount and aim for 15 in each zone for the purposes of the contest.

I've had a lot of new ideas today and hope to have the first draft of the rules up by the weekend.
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Jessey
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I also purchased this and do not know what to do with it!
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I purchased this and do not know what to do with it!
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - Idea Phase
Glad to see you joined the contest! I'm looking forward to this one, looks really cool!

One thing I am doing with my entry, which I think will be a big construction job to do the whole game, is having an Express Version of the files available for the contest. The Express version is the files needed to play one of the smaller scenarios which gives a good taste of the games mechanics and how it plays without requiring the player to construct the whole monster I am also going to have the whole monster available as well! What's important is that there is something for people to print out, and a low ink version if your main files are heavier on ink!
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - Idea Phase
Candi wrote:
Glad to see you joined the contest! I'm looking forward to this one, looks really cool!

One thing I am doing with my entry, which I think will be a big construction job to do the whole game, is having an Express Version of the files available for the contest. The Express version is the files needed to play one of the smaller scenarios which gives a good taste of the games mechanics and how it plays without requiring the player to construct the whole monster I am also going to have the whole monster available as well! What's important is that there is something for people to print out, and a low ink version if your main files are heavier on ink!


Good thinking on an Express version. I think that's exactly what I need to devote my energies to. I'm aiming for mostly text based cards and will use a few icons for efficiency when describing penalties etc. I've printed off a few test cards and a B&W low ink approach looks ok.
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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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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - Idea Phase
Thanks for entering the game in the contest! I look forward to the game.
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - Idea Phase
The rules are now about 70% complete and I'm hoping to bring them in under 5 or 6 pages long. They are very likely to be publicly available by the weekend.

I have worked out all of the game mechanics and have a clear idea of how the game flows. It is actually very easy to play - there are 7 actions that you can take. I still have to write a lot of flavour text and work a bit on the bad stuff that happens when you fail skill checks.

I have no idea whether the difficulty curve per zone deck is ok or not. It currently looks like this:

Green: 0 to +2 modifiers 50, 25, 25%
Yellow: 0 to -1 modifiers 60, 40%
Orange: 0 to -2 modifiers 30, 50 20%
Red: -1 to -3 modifiers 20, 60, 20%
Black: -2 to -4 modifiers 70, 20, 10%

The table above displays in each zone deck (of 30 cards) the difficulty range of skill and risk check modifiers and their percentage distribution. So it means that in the green deck the skill checks range between adding zero and +2 dice and that 50% of the checks add zero, 25% add +1 die, and 25% add +2 dice. As you can see the skill checks when you get into the upper zones are fairly difficult. I'm going for the Arkham Horror system of a check being passed on rolling a 5 or 6.

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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - Idea Phase
Version 0.1 Rules are now available:

https://www.box.com/s/44ccd2e4dbd6e5fe4e58

The next step is to produce a small subset of game cards that can be used in a tutorial scenario. The scenario will let you try out all of the game mechanics in a shorter amount of time.

If anyone has any comments about the rules I'd like to hear them. I appreciate that the rules might not make 100% sense until you see the game components.
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Nate K
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - v0.1 Rules now available
1a) Is Morale technically a stat? Because you may want to say something like:

Your Mountaineer has 6 stats:

Strength (S)
Technique (T)
Ingenuity (I)
Guts (G)
Dexterity (D)
Morale (M)

Morale always starts at 4. You have a total of 14 skills points to distribute as you choose among the other categories. You must assigned between 1 and 5 points to each category."

1b And now that I've read through the rules, I don't see how Morale affects the game. There is a brief mention of Morale bonuses and penalties, but no explanation of where those come from. Will those rules be included on the player sheet?

2) I'm not clear on how to set up the game. Based on the description and the diagram, it seems that there are five row tokens, probably labeled as 5, 4, 3, 2, and 2, respectively. I randomly deal those out to determine how many mountain cards I can place in each row, right? Is there any advantage to spreading them out as shown in the diagram?

3) Frozen dice can be used to automatically pass a skill check for the corresponding skill. Does that include skill checks that require multiple successes?

4) What is the satellite phone for? When the storm hits and I can't pass any skill checks to advance?

5) Why would I ever Wait? The weather only changes at the start of the climb and when I'm at base camp, right?

6) Thirty cards in each zone seems like a lot if only 16 are used each game. I'll bet you could cut it back to 28 or 24 per zone without significantly affecting the replayability. (And my printer would certainly thank you!)

7) The game sounds like a lot of fun. I eagerly await the components!
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - v0.1 Rules now available
Thanks for reading through the rules, you've raised a few questions. Some of them I know the answers to but just haven't included in the rules yet (as they're v0.1). I will update the rules and repost.

1b And now that I've read through the rules, I don't see how Morale affects the game. There is a brief mention of Morale bonuses and penalties, but no explanation of where those come from. Will those rules be included on the player sheet?

Morale is technically a stat. However, you will never roll a skill check against it. You can lose it via failure penalties and occasionally raise it (on arriving at base camp you gain 1 morale). Your morale modifies the number of dice rolled as follows (1 to 2, -1 dice, 3 to 4, no effect, 5 to 6, add one die). It's not something that greatly affects the game immediately but you need to keep an eye on it.

2) I'm not clear on how to set up the game. Based on the description and the diagram, it seems that there are five row tokens, probably labeled as 5, 4, 3, 2, and 2, respectively. I randomly deal those out to determine how many mountain cards I can place in each row, right? Is there any advantage to spreading them out as shown in the diagram?

I missed out that there are 8 row tokens, two each of values 2, 3, 4, 5.
What you do is randomly deal face up 5 of those into a column. The number of zone cards can thus vary between 14 (if you draw two 2s, two 3s, and a 4) and 21(if you draw two 5s, two 4s, and a 3). This way the number of cards and the overall shape of the zone will always be variable.

The way that you lay the cards out is so that you can maximise the number of possible upwards routes. You may need more than one way of going up as some of the skill checks in later zones are very difficult and have severe penalties for failure. It would probably also be possible to create invalid zones if there were fixed rules about it.

3) Frozen dice can be used to automatically pass a skill check for the corresponding skill. Does that include skill checks that require multiple successes?

Yes you can use frozen dice to add a success to a multiple success skill check. I will need to check the exact wording and rewrite.

4) What is the satellite phone for? When the storm hits and I can't pass any skill checks to advance?

It is for when you have gained 2 injuries and are unable to continue. I haven't discussed injuries in the rules yet. If you are injured and don't have the sat phone your mountaineer will die and you will have to roll up a new character. I'm planning that there will be different scenarios and character progression.

5 Why would you need to wait?
Because there are cards called Impasse cards which cannot be passed via skill checks. They are intended to hold up your progress. It may sometimes be quicker to wait for the impasse to resolve than finding an alternative route. I need to add more information about this to the rules.

6) Thirty cards in each zone seems like a lot if only 16 are used each game. I'll bet you could cut it back to 28 or 24 per zone without significantly affecting the replayability. (And my printer would certainly thank you!)

The theoretical maximum number of cards that could be used per game is 105 (21 in each of the 5 zones). I wouldn't imagine that you will in reality see more than about 10 cards per zone. I should probably make only 21 cards per deck to save people ink.

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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - v0.1 Rules now available
I have added a couple of file links to the top post. There are sample cards and a sample player board. I need to work on improving the layout of the player board.
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Nate K
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - v0.1 Rules now available
mjrobertson wrote:
I have added a couple of file links to the top post. There are sample cards and a sample player board. I need to work on improving the layout of the player board.


Player board looks good. Having read the rules, everything was very clear. I haven't finished looking at the cards, yet, but I noticed one or two minor errors that you'll want to edit eventually.
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - v0.1 Rules now available
kurthl33t wrote:
mjrobertson wrote:
I have added a couple of file links to the top post. There are sample cards and a sample player board. I need to work on improving the layout of the player board.


Player board looks good. Having read the rules, everything was very clear. I haven't finished looking at the cards, yet, but I noticed one or two minor errors that you'll want to edit eventually.


Thanks for that. I have done some revising of the rules and would say they're now at v0.2. I will upload them later today after adding a couple more things.

Once I've added in the row token counters to the green zone file I reckon that the game is actually fit for mechanical testing. I've played a few games now with the green zone cards (which takes 5 minutes) and have not noticed anything really horrible. I'm thinking of making the weather track a separate cut out so that I have a bit more room on the Mountaineer Board.

Some of the mountain cards are going to have a weird/dark Cthulhu-esque edge to the story, so it's not all just about the physical challenges of mountaineering:

Hunched up against a mossy stone, you decide to take a break. A whisper filters through the wind; It's as if a faint, guttural voice is calling to you. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh. A shiver runs through you.

Clambering for the next handhold, your fingers grasp the rough, gnarled bark of the Eldritch Tree. An age this boreal spirit has sat sentinel on the lonely outcrop. An age more it will remain, long after your bones have crumbled to dust beneath the dark earth.

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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - v0.1 Rules now available
Been super busy at work this week so haven't had a chance until tonight to finish the v0.2 rules. Hopefully these are clearer than the previous version. I should get a chance to work on the game this weekend.

Version 0.2 Rules are here:

https://www.box.com/s/639e4ac1b180821c3965

Top post link also updated.
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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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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - v0.2 Rules now available
I built the game last night and will try it out soon. Just to verify, are all the of the cards that are currently available in the "Green Zone" category?

If so, the rules say that each zone deck contains 21 cards, but there are 30 currently in the Green Zone deck.
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Nate K
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - v0.2 Rules now available
I think there's been some waffling on exactly how many cards should be in each zone?
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - v0.2 Rules now available
Yes, all cards in the test file are part of the green zone deck. There will be 105 cards in the final game.

I had originally intended that there be 30 cards per zone, to offer a wide card pool to make the game more variable. However, I have now decided that there will be 21 cards of each zone colour to make the game a bit easier to build.

For mechanics testing it doesn't make any difference that the green zone file has 30 cards currently. The maximum number of cards that a zone can contain is 21 so 9 will left unused from the current green zone file. Shuffle them up and deal out whatever the row tokens say.
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Michael R.
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - v0.2 Rules now available
Just to a note to confirm that work is still ongoing. I've been really busy at my office so have had exactly zero time to think about the game this week. But...I'm now off on holiday for a few days and hopefully will make lots of progress tomorrow. Things are easier now that I've slimmed down the number of cards. The only problem with changing the number of cards is that I've got to rebalance the skill check distribution. It shouldn't be too difficult, just slightly tedious.

I estimate that the full game (in its low ink ugly version) will be available in about 10 days.
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Nate K
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - v0.2 Rules now available
Awesome. Looking forward to it.
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Dan W
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Re: WIP - 2012 Solitaire PnP Contest - Midnight Mountain - v0.2 Rules now available
mjrobertson wrote:
I estimate that the full game (in its low ink ugly version) will be available in about 10 days.


Looking forward to trying this one. I'll get familiar with the rules in the meantime.
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