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Subject: WIP: Xenophobia- like the Resistance meets "Alien" rss

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Adam Kazimierczak
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I have most of the rules hammered out for a traitor mechanic game called Xenophobia. This is a pure card game with no tokens, dice or boards. Currently the Xenophobia cards determine both the missions you can go on and the random event that occurs each night, so I'm working on how evil I want these events to be.

In that vein there will definitely be player elimination in this game (as well as adding to the ranks of the aliens), so I'm wondering how long a player would be ok with being dead and out of the game. 10 minutes? 20 minutes? I'm incorporating a mechanism to mitigate this with players taking control of another character if their character dies, but still there might be some elimination if the death toll rises.

Here's the summary of the game rules and components if anyone is interested:


Xenophobia
A Game of Intergalactic Paranoia

Number of Players: 1-8
Playing Time: 20-60 minutes

Start of game
• Draw 1 Researcher and 1 Covert Agenda card
• Determine Station Commander and Chief of Security from rank
• Deal 5 Mission cards and Pick Secret Mission cards from the deck.

Sleep Cycle
• Determine if player Researchers sleep or stay awake (except 1st night)
• 1st cycle: player with worst rank draws a Xenophobia card and plays on self (or Station Commander draws if it is a “red shirt”); 2nd cycle onward the awake player with lowest hand size (worst rank wins ties) draws the card and plays it on someone.
• Resolve the effects of the Xenophobia card and the player who drew it keeps it face down until the end of the Work Cycle.

Work Cycle
• Everyone else wakes up and the missions for the day are determined by the Xenophobia card.
• Station Commander forms Mission Teams
• Missions types include: Explore the planet, Lab/Autopsy a specimen and Interrogate a prisoner.
• Resolve the missions in order with each player on a mission playing 1 face down Mission card (of the Aid, Mishap or Sabotage type) and then the Mission Leader shuffling them and revealing the outcome.
• Players play Interrupt cards if triggered.
• At the end of the Work Cycle reveal the Xenophobia card if all missions successful otherwise apply success/failure game state changes.

Revealing the Xenomorph
• If a mission success or an Interrupt reveals that a player is the xenomorph then that player discards all Mission cards and draws a hand of 5 Xenos cards. These may be used to sabotage missions or as interrupts.
• Revealed xenomorph players draw 2 Xenophobia cards during the Sleep Cycle and play 1 card on the awake Researcher of their choice (which Researcher reads the card is still determined normally).
• A player may reveal infection by the xenomorph at any time, but in this case does not draw Xenos cards until a full cycle has passed (instead of immediately, effectively sitting out a full Sleep or Work Cycle).

Winning the Game
• After 4 Sleep/Work Cycles the rescue shuttle arrives and the game ends.
• Or the game ends when all of the player controlled Researchers are killed or infected by the xenomorph.
• When the shuttle arrives players reveal their Covert Agendas and any xenomorph infection and the xenomorph wins if there are any xenomorphs that have not been revealed while the Researchers win if there are not and there is at least one surviving Researcher. Researchers who fulfill their Covert Agenda win even if there is an unrevealed xenomorph.

Solo Play Variant
• You play both Station Commander and Chief of Security
• Each “red shirt” has 2 Mission cards, one face up and one face down, that refill when they sleep. If a “red shirt" goes on a mission the face down card is revealed and either used (if that mission type) or discarded.
• Play with 2 starting xenomorph Covert Agendas if you desire more of a challenge.



Components:

10 Researcher cards
20 Covert Agenda cards.
20 Secret Mission cards
10 Xenophobia cards
50 Mission cards:
• 6 Explore Aid
• 2 Explore Mishap
• 2 Explore Sabotage
• 6 Lab Aid
• 2 Lab Mishap
• 2 Lab Sabotage
• 6 Interrogate Aid
• 2 Interrogate Mishap
• 2 Interrogate Sabotage
• 20 Interrupt
20 Xenos cards
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Nate K
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Interesting, interesting... so what are you planning on doing with the game?
 
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Adam Kazimierczak
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I was planning on playtesting it and then potentially submitting it to a publisher or Kickstarting it late 2013 or 2014. I thought about releasing a PnP version this year but it's a lot of cards to print and cut so I'm not sure if that will take off.
 
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Nathan Woll
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How similar is it to Panic Station?
 
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Adam Kazimierczak
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Having never played Panic Station I can't speak from experience, but after looking at the components and rules I can say they share the "exponential traitor" alien aspect but are otherwise different. Xenophobia has no tokens, no modular board to create and very little in the way of equipment.

The primary game mechanism is forming mission teams and trying to find out the traitor(s) either by completing the objectives or deducing who keeps making you fail. The infected character could even be one of the nonplayer "red shirts" so you can't rely on your friends' poor poker faces, and even noninfected players might have their own agendas (bringing back a live alien, killing off a character who has sensitive information...).

The alien player also has a tough trade off to make because revealing himself grants a whole new hand of cards to use but makes it harder to win the game as he cannot simply sneak aboard the escape shuttle.
 
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Zac Manley
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Actually a PnP wouldn't be too much of a stretch for this type of game, especially if the cards use the KISS method of design. After PnP for a while if people take a shine to it, then you can start bumping up to the next level.
 
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Adam Kazimierczak
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zephusdragon wrote:
Actually a PnP wouldn't be too much of a stretch for this type of game, especially if the cards use the KISS method of design. After PnP for a while if people take a shine to it, then you can start bumping up to the next level.


130 cards total, but if I make them black and white (with white backgrounds) and bridge sized instead of poker sized then it may be doable.

It's definitely more practical than my other game which has 244 cards as well as three colors of tokens.
 
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Robert Seater
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kaziam wrote:
In that vein there will definitely be player elimination in this game

The thing that I liked most about The Resistance is that it created the tension and deduction of Werewolf without any player elimination. If there needs to be player elimination for thematic reasons, then I'd try to postpone it as long as possible. I don't think the problem players have with elimination is so much the number of minutes you set out as the percentage of the game you sit out. E.g. the worst part about WW is being killed on the first round. Then you sit out the entire game. But being knocked out a turn or two before the end is exciting.

Having some sort of health or sanity to postpone player elimination could keep players engaged, but still offer real tension from the fear of being wiped out.
 
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Adam Kazimierczak
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As it stands the only player elimination is on a couple of the sabotage cards and one overnight xenophobia card. Most of the alien actions cause infection, not elimination.

I'm working on changing the elimination to "incapacitated" or "injured." Incapacitated researchers can't go on missions but can otherwise play cards and interact. Another researcher can spend a work cycle administering medical care to remove the condition, but then there's the risk of being alone in the sick bay with another researcher.... devil

"Red shirts" will be eliminated however. zombie That is their job. whistle
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Adam Kazimierczak
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So this may be better suited to starting a whole new thread, but I've never submitted a PnP game before and I'm looking for a good reference on it here on BGG. It looks like some PnPs are submitted piecemeal and some are in one big file.

I have the Quickcards3 full version from plaincards.com for making prototypes and it does output PDF sheets of 6-8 cards, so hopefully that will be ok.

Is there interest in a color more ink-tensive version as well as a KISS black & white barebones version? Space games tend to favor dark backgrounds... goorobot
I'll probably do bridge sized cards for the PnP (8 cards per page instead of 6), while a possible future finished version could be poker sized to accomodate artwork.

I followed some of the "to PnP or not to PnP" threads, but as I'm not planning on submitting this game to Hasbro but rather a small publisher or Kickstarter in 2014 or 2015 I'm hoping this will be a positive thing.

I'm of the opinion that games should be played, not hoarded.
 
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