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Subject: Having Trouble: Should this be a co-op? rss

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Bingo Bango
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I have an outline for a game, I know the kinds of mechanics I want, but I am having a problem with the very core of the game's design:

What way should I structure the players?

The game's premise is a horror movie. Group of teenagers need to be murdered spectacularly (if you've seen Cabin in the Woods, you know exactly what I mean). At least ONE player is playing cards like "The Phone Lines are Cut" and "Trip while fleeing" and thus, intentionally messing with the teenagers. The teenagers, once alerted, are going to try and flee, possibly get cornered and try to fight back. Meanwhile there are a few cards that help the teenagers delay/avoid their fate.

The problem I'm facing is, do I structure this so it's Co-op? All vs. 1? Or every-man-for-himself vs. 1.

I would like to make this co-op, all the players trying to murder the teenagers. That's where I think the focus/fun should be, not avoiding demise, only maybe delaying it. However, if it's co-op, there's no failure scenario. There's no real Difficulty or strong Opposition.

If I make it everyone-versus-1, the problem is that players in the teenager group are going to get eliminated. THat's the point of the game, and it should not be Too difficult to eliminate them. Obviously in this situation there's a possibility of a survivor - that's all the teenager group can hope for - being the survivor.

An everyone-for-themselves situation, you again have the threat of early elimination.

A fourth option that occurs to me is a dual kind of situation. Where every player has A teenager they want to be the survivor. If your teenager is killed, you can still play cards to murder other teens. However, that might end up very chaotic.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can structure this player situation well?
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M M
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You could do All-vs-1 where All are various forces/killers trying to kill the teenagers and the 1 is controlling the teenagers. And then if they all die, that player loses and the game is over.
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Brook Gentlestream
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How is trying to murder a bunch of teenagers not great Opposition?
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Designed For Play
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You can do something like make it co-op vs the clock - start the clock at 9pm. Every turn advances the clock by 30 minutes. If the clock hits 6am, the teenagers survived the night and make it back out, and the players all lose.
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Brook Gentlestream
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I see this kind of working Baattlestar Galactica-style, where there's a new Crisis every turn or two.

"Basement is flooding". Should we sent someone down to go fix it?
"Power went out". Soemone's going to have to check the generator.
"Scream outside." Maybe it's the wind?
"Parker is sneezing." Let's avoid him until we find his meds.
"Shocking" Avoid the tv and electric outlets. Or maybe we should turn off the power?
"Chilling Babble" Parker's not making any sense. Should we shoot him?
"Bloody walls" Everyone must leave the room or succumb to horror!
"Tabula Rasa" Parker has no memory of who he is. Can we get his memory back?
"Haunting melody" A horrifying meleody keeps playing until we find the old wedding album.
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Scott Nelson
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I like it as co-op with option of killing fellow teenagers, battlestar galattica style with traitors.
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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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My first thought when I was reading your description was that it would be great as an all-for-themselves v 1, and I immediately had the player elimination concern you had. However, then I had an idea to fix it.

Each player has 3 Teenagers, and to win you just need one of your to survive. Everyone is trying to have at least one of their teen's survive.

Sounds neat!
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Russ Spears
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Lackofname wrote:

I would like to make this co-op, all the players trying to murder the teenagers. That's where I think the focus/fun should be, not avoiding demise, only maybe delaying it. However, if it's co-op, there's no failure scenario. There's no real Difficulty or strong Opposition.

For this would the teenagers be AI/Card controlled?

The way I would see this scenario working would be if:
- There's a time/turn limit before "something" happens that would allow the remaining teenagers to survive (failure scenario 1)
- The teenagers have a goal to reach that would allow the remaining teenagers to survive (failure scenario 2)
- Along the way the teenagers pick up supporting cast (the Sheriff, crazy old misunderstood guy, Buffy the vampire slayer) (more opposition, could tweak the difficulty)
- Use a victory point system for each kill. As each teenager delays their death - could use a turn counter, or give teenagers objectives to reach while running away - they are worth less points. Although less straight-forward co-op, setting a victory point condition could be used to difficulty (30VP - Hard, 20VP = Normal).

For what it's worth, I like the idea of being the crazed killer(s) instead of the ones fleeing, trying to survive. kind has a "Tucker & Dale vs Evil" feel.
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Bingo Bango
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The problem with the teens not being controlled by a player raises the question of how their movement is controlled. Because I picture the teens moving around the board, and including fleeing. So their movements need to be controlled by some mechanic.

rasslor wrote:
Lackofname wrote:

I would like to make this co-op, all the players trying to murder the teenagers. That's where I think the focus/fun should be, not avoiding demise, only maybe delaying it. However, if it's co-op, there's no failure scenario. There's no real Difficulty or strong Opposition.

For this would the teenagers be AI/Card controlled?

The way I would see this scenario working would be if:
- There's a time/turn limit before "something" happens that would allow the remaining teenagers to survive (failure scenario 1)
- The teenagers have a goal to reach that would allow the remaining teenagers to survive (failure scenario 2)
- Along the way the teenagers pick up supporting cast (the Sheriff, crazy old misunderstood guy, Buffy the vampire slayer) (more opposition, could tweak the difficulty)


This sounds actually real useful. I like the idea of ADDING survivors, making it even more difficult. I also like the victory point idea - perhaps that each Teen has a certain number that makes them easier or harder to kill. So the "Sexually Promiscious Cheerleader" has the lowest point value necessary to kill, the "Overly Curious Stoner" has a medium number, but "The Pure Innocent" has a high number.

One thought was that teens have objectives like "Get the keys to the jeep!" "Get a distress call out" "Look for a gun - look for ammo for the gun".

The Teens can likely wound the Threatening Force (ghosts, gremlins, psycho killer); wounding it would likely cause it to be delayed, losing its turn to be able to kill them. The Threatening Force can be killed if a One Weakness card has been found, but it likely can only be used by the Last Survivor.

In addition there would be events, like "A cop car shows up" or "The house is on fire", which need to be addressed immediately - a cop could call for backup, a fire could Wound the Threatening Force. So these events could cause a failure scenario or accelerate if not addressed.

But yes, the Players of the game should all be the ones trying to kill the kids, not the teens themselves trying to escape. The kids surviving is a lose scenario.
 
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Mercury Nonymous
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Some idea's I had on this:

Why not have all players be teenagers to start with, and start the game by killing one of the player characters randomly?

The killed player (who never really lived to begin with since he's dead at the start of the game) then becomes the murderer. As play continues and more teens die, they will join the murderer and aid them, increasing the danger!

You'd have to have some sort of diminishing returns factor in play to prevent too much slippery slope on the part of the murderers, but it would keep all players in the game.

One possible bad side of this is a kingmaker scenario (where players have already lost but can decide who wins), so I would propose that each player gets points from two sources: survival and murdering.

Thus, when you are killed, all is not lost, you still get to earn more points and rise to the top if you do well.

A hefty bonus for the final survivors (if any) would encourage players not to die, and playtesting and math can allow you to find the sweet spot to make murdering meaningful while still making dying undesirable.
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