Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
23 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Has this idea been done before? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jack M
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmb
Over the past couple of weeks, I've been starting work on a board game, but I just wanted to double-check that this exact idea, or something close, hasn't already been done. I'm worried because it's such a simple game, it seems like it should already exist.

I've done a fair amount of searching and couldn't find it, but I figured the collective knowledge of BGG would be a good wellspring of knowledge.

Basically, my game idea is a dungeon crawler-themed version of Life. Movement is made by die rolls, encounters are drawn from a deck at every space (harder ones as you get closer to the end), where you accumulate gold and items. Reach the end first for a gold bonus. Whomever has the most gold at the end (including the value of items) wins.

The inspiration for this game was my girlfriend. I love playing Arkham Horror, but she cannot get into it due to the complexity and the time it takes. She's really not much of a board game geek, or any kind of geek really. She's used to games like Life or Monopoly. So, I went looking for a game with a fantasy flavor, but with mechanics familiar to casual gamers.

My game has some mechanics borrowed from Arkham Horror such as encounter decks, characters to choose from with different stats and special abilities, and skill checks (although a different kind of check than Arkham). But, it's streamlined enough that my girlfriend is comfortable with the rules, and it borrows mechanics from casual games like Life (random movement in a straight line, occasional forks in the road, whomever has the most money/gold wins).

So, if a very similar game already exists, I wouldn't want to just copy it, and I'd probably buy it. Otherwise, I'll keep working on writing these encounters.

Thanks for your time.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mindy G
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
badge
Mold the chaos into something beautiful
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What about something like Talisman?
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gene Moore
United States
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Anything that makes Life into a game worth playing is okay in my book.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dezza
Australia
South Australia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not sure, but I think the simple dungeon crawl is done with Dungeon!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John "Omega" Williams
United States
Kentwood
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Labyrinth Life: The Maze of Being You
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brook Gentlestream
United States
Long Beach
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

I once played a computer game where you rolled dice and moved along a track, and each space had a different encounter that was resolved with a different kind of mini-game. In one space, you would play "which cup has the pea" for a prize, while in another you would find in the jousts, and in another you would have fight in a maze, and another you would have to throw darts, and in another... you get the idea. When you lose, you moved back X spaces and when you won, you moved forward X spaces or just stayed there.

The goal was to get to the end of the track and face the Dark Knight while he threw rocks at you while you climbed the tower. Kind of Donkey King -esque.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack M
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmb
Thanks for the replies. The game I have in mind is significantly simpler than Talisman. Of the ones posted, it's most similar to Dungeon!, but it's like Dungeon! on rails and with fewer mechanics to keep track of, and some different mechanics.

So, I'm feeling pretty comfortable that my game is reasonably different than what's already out there. Thanks again.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Liam
Scotland
flag msg tools
admin
badge
I am BGG's official honey trap
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Who is your game aimed at?
What are the meaningful decisions that players can make?

There was a Kickstarter recently which was roll and move with event decks for each square.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack M
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmb
My game is aimed at 2 audiences:

1) Brand new gamers who want a gentle introduction to fantasy board games. Or similarly, a game a hardcore gamer can enjoy with their non-gaming friends and significant others.

2) Experienced gamers who sometimes want an easy game to play without thinking too hard.

About 1/3rd of the encounters in the decks will have decisions to make. (1/3rd will be a fixed event, 1/3rd will be a skill check/combat) Here is just one example:

Quote:
You find a flask labeled "Drink Me." What do you do?

Take the flask: You figure it's a trap, and don't drink. However, you figure you can sell the flask later. Gain 1 gold piece

Drink it: Roll a die and consult the chart below:

1: Lose 2 hp
2-5: Gain 1 hp
6: Regain all hp


This encounter is in one of the decks further along, where the player is likely missing some hp. They can take the sure gold, or risk losing hp to regain their hp.

The other meaningful decision will be what path to take. After the first 7 squares, there is a shortcut to square 21 by a path of 7 hard encounters. So the choice is between more easy encounters with a higher chance of gold and items, or race to the end first for the gold bonus (and face a harder road).

Other minor decisions might be whether to trade with other characters they pass through.

Do you happen to have a link to that recent kickstarter?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Liam
Scotland
flag msg tools
admin
badge
I am BGG's official honey trap
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In all honesty I see your game as aimed at:

Families
10 - Teens
Non-gamers

I don't have a link to the kickstarter I was talking about but your game is basically a board game version of Choose Your Own Adventure or Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks. In short this has been done before and mechanically is really dated. Other versions of this style of adventure game are (novel at the time) CD Adventure: Search for the Lost City and more up-to-date and very well done Tales of the Arabian Nights.

If you want to target a wider market your real challenge is to ensure your game has meaningful decision making, which in turn would probably require the introduction of more modern game mechanics.

In your example of the 'drink me flask', there is no 'meaningful decision' for the player, as there does not appear to be any way for them to know the results. By far the weakest element of Arkham Horror, IMO, is the event cards which 95% of the time don't offer any meaningful decision making to the player.

Sorry to be critical but bottom line is it sounds fun for families and young adults. I'd take a good look at Tales of the Arabian Nights and perhaps even get a copy to play with your lover. You might also want to take a look and say hello to the folks over at RPGGeek and see what they are offering for new adventurers that want a light way into the hobby. The other thing I'd say is writing up cool game 'events' is always worth doing as they can easily be rejiggered to be used in other game designs
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack M
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmb
monkeyhandz wrote:
In all honesty I see your game as aimed at:

Families
10 - Teens
Non-gamers

I don't have a link to the kickstarter I was talking about but your game is basically a board game version of Choose Your Own Adventure or Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks. In short this has been done before and mechanically is really dated. Other versions of this style of adventure game are (novel at the time) CD Adventure: Search for the Lost City and more up-to-date and very well done Tales of the Arabian Nights.

If you want to target a wider market your real challenge is to ensure your game has meaningful decision making, which in turn would probably require the introduction of more modern game mechanics.

In your example of the 'drink me flask', there is no 'meaningful decision' for the player, as there does not appear to be any way for them to know the results. By far the weakest element of Arkham Horror, IMO, is the event cards which 95% of the time don't offer any meaningful decision making to the player.

Sorry to be critical but bottom line is it sounds fun for families and young adults. I'd take a good look at Tales of the Arabian Nights and perhaps even get a copy to play with your lover. You might also want to take a look and say hello to the folks over at RPGGeek and see what they are offering for new adventurers that want a light way into the hobby. The other thing I'd say is writing up cool game 'events' is always worth doing as they can easily be rejiggered to be used in other game designs


Thanks for the feedback. Since a big part of my target audience is non-gamers, I don't see your feedback as all that negative. I loved choose your own adventure books as a kid, and I enjoy roguelike computers games, such as FTL, which have a lot of events where you don't know the outcome.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew H
United States
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with the comments above that giving the players more choices could be fun. If they have to draw an encounter every turn, one way would be to have them roll two dice, and they have to choose to use one result to move, and the other on the encounter card. If the encounter cards then to favor high rolls, the choice is between moving quickly and successful encounters. If the e encounter card has random results, there becomes a push your luck guess of which die to use.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JJL
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think some might be missing the OP's point, which is that he purposely wants to make a game that is too simple for gamers. So too simple for pretty much everyone on this site, on purpose.

To the OP, I can't think of any such game and it sounds like no one else can. It's pretty derivative, as you yourself mentioned, but so are a lot of games. Do you want to try to get it published? That might be tough because the hobby publishers probably wouldn't be interested (for the same reason that the gamers here are not). And my guess is that the Hasbros of the world aren't that into new games or new designers since they prefer proven commodities (like combining Monopoly with the latest blockbuster movie).

But if your goal is to make something that your SO will enjoy, and maybe do a PnP or something so others here can enjoy with families, etc., I say go for it and best of luck!
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack M
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmb
JJL_WashDC wrote:
I think some might be missing the OP's point, which is that he purposely wants to make a game that is too simple for gamers. So too simple for pretty much everyone on this site, on purpose.

To the OP, I can't think of any such game and it sounds like no one else can. It's pretty derivative, as you yourself mentioned, but so are a lot of games. Do you want to try to get it published? That might be tough because the hobby publishers probably wouldn't be interested (for the same reason that the gamers here are not). And my guess is that the Hasbros of the world aren't that into new games or new designers since they prefer proven commodities (like combining Monopoly with the latest blockbuster movie).

But if your goal is to make something that your SO will enjoy, and maybe do a PnP or something so others here can enjoy with families, etc., I say go for it and best of luck!


If it gets really good feedback from playtesters, I might try to self-publish it. I'm mainly doing it for myself, though. I just want to be able to say that I designed a game that perhaps a few people enjoyed. If it happens to catch on, great. If not, it's an interesting experience so far. I've been playing games (board, video) for 26 years and have always considered designing one, but never actually took that first step.

fur94 wrote:
I agree with the comments above that giving the players more choices could be fun. ...If the encounter cards then to favor high rolls, the choice is between moving quickly and successful encounters. If the e encounter card has random results, there becomes a push your luck guess of which die to use.


I have a couple encounters that make the player choose between getting gold or moving additional spaces, but not in the context of your mechanic. Not all of my choice encounters are random. I just like trying to tempt people into risky behavior.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Hutchings
Australia
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Maybe you could make it look similar to Snakes and Ladders (Chutes and Ladders in the US).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christian Link
United States
Snowmass Village
Colorado
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
I'm going to say no, I know of no such game that exists. Its a great idea. Although, in this case, simplicity may lead to a lack of replayability. When I have thought of this kind of mechanic, the answer was to always complicate (or pack) the board with as many 'twists and turns' as possible and not complicate the rules or anything else.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Parker
Australia
Elanora Heights
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dungeon of Life
sounds like a retheming of the Game of Life. But the problem you have is the fantasy theme appeals mainly to core gamers who are the ones who tend to dislike the conventional roll-and-move gameplay you describe.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack M
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmb
bygberbrown wrote:
sounds like a retheming of the Game of Life. But the problem you have is the fantasy theme appeals mainly to core gamers who are the ones who tend to dislike the conventional roll-and-move gameplay you describe.


It's Life with an encounter deck, skill checks, and character sheets, but yes, that's what I said in the original post.

I disagree, though, that the fantasy theme appeals mainly to hardcore gamers. We're living in the age where Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones, all with fantasy elements, are a major part of pop culture. Heck, even Twilight has a fantasy theme of sorts. If you count zombies as fantasy, The Walking Dead is one of the biggest shows on television. Fantasy is no longer just for nerds. We're living in the future.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Parker
Australia
Elanora Heights
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oh I see, you said version of Life, with a capital letter. I always have known it as The Game of Life. Ok, fair enough. The only modern roll and move game I've had any interest in lately is Formula D. Looks heaps of fun. I hate the game of Life though. The spinner is the worst bit.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Danny Perello
Canada
Salmo
British Columbia
flag msg tools
badge
Want DnDeeples? I'm on Esty as MagnificentMeeples.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jack21222 wrote:
My game is aimed at 2 audiences:

1) Brand new gamers who want a gentle introduction to fantasy board games. Or similarly, a game a hardcore gamer can enjoy with their non-gaming friends and significant others.

2) Experienced gamers who sometimes want an easy game to play without thinking too hard.

I think the problem you may encounter is that the people who buy The Game of Life are buying for children and aren't actually interested in playing games themselves.

There is already a game similar to this called Hirelings: The Ascent that is targeted toward the audience you are going after. It hasn't met much praise here, and I doubt it's selling very well.

Besides, Talisman (Revised 4th Edition) is the game experienced gamers play when they want something easy requiring very little thought. I can't think of an experienced gamer that would want to spend any time playing A Game of Life, no matter how it was rethemed.

I could, of course, be wrong.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Hutchings
Australia
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
jack21222 wrote:
I disagree, though, that the fantasy theme appeals mainly to hardcore gamers. We're living in the age where Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones, all with fantasy elements, are a major part of pop culture. Heck, even Twilight has a fantasy theme of sorts. If you count zombies as fantasy, The Walking Dead is one of the biggest shows on television. Fantasy is no longer just for nerds. We're living in the future.


One of my pet hates is how 'gaming fantasy' seems to refer back to D&D and ignore fantasy in general popular culture.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sturv Tafvherd
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Omega2064 wrote:


Just saw the KS for that. interesting concept.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.