Tag: Game Design

Back or Brick: Epic Seven Arise

Back or Brick: Epic Seven Arise

Based off of an app game, Epic Seven Arise is a dungeon crawl, fantasy, adventure where you play as the heir of the covenant trying to stop the cycles of destruction. Pros Epic fantasy game Theme Artwork Campaign Solo Cons Artwork Price First time company 

The Collection A to Z – So Many S’s

The Collection A to Z – So Many S’s

This is going to be a long post, you have been warned. I had a lot of L’s but that’s nothing compared to what I have in the S’s. Not to mention that I just got in Sentinels of the Multiverse expansions and Sentinel Tactics 

Board Game Design Diary – Building a Character

Board Game Design Diary – Building a Character

Alright, let’s start getting into the details of this game. I’m not going to build everything out in front of people, but I do want to start and give some idea of what characters and levels are going to look like in practice. Eventually there will be a lot more to pull from than what I show here, and I’m sure a lot of iterations. But for now, I want to move onto the details.

The Premise

The Characters

The Bosses

The Guilds

The Levels

The Boards

Cards vs Dice

Character Leveling

Skills, Weapons and More

Quests

In Town Activities

Level Events and Monsters

Boss Battles

Building a Character

So, this really should have more of a graphical component to it than it will. I would love to show some art, but I don’t have that, to give a sense of the design, or a layout of how I think the board is going to work, but we are in the super early phases of this design. What’s really going to happen is that I’m going to move this over to a spreadsheet and create a number of different characters based off of that so that everything is formatted the same.

The Real World Character

Male – Age 26 – Office Drone

A recent graduate with high hopes and now nothing more than an office drone. Changing the world was the dream, and now it’s changing numbers in the spread sheet. Friends moved away and not enough energy after working overtime to make that many more. At least the people he works with are nice enough, and the coffee isn’t bad.

“I’ve been waiting for this game for months, I know some old friends have too, it’ll be just like old times.”

Keywords: Gamer, Business

In Game Character

Stats:

Strength: 5

Agility: 5

Vitality: 5

Allure: 5

Guile: 5

Currency: 100 Gold

Oddly enough, that’s about it for a character when you pull them out of the box. The real nuances to a character are going to come with how you allocate your 10 extra points for the stats.

The Other Stuff

I think it’s important to talk about what else you’ll have right away, even though it might not be pure character creation stuff. Such as what sort of weapons will you be able to find, and what sort of skills can you pick up. You will be dropped into the world without any gear, just normal commoners clothes, and no skills, just basic attacks that you can do, so that’s why you get 100 gold to start. You can save it up, because there is better stuff you can get on level 2, but you might not live that long.

For armor, and this could have really been it’s own section, you’re looking at two types of armor.

Leather – No movement penalty, +2 defense

Chainmail – Minus 1 movement, +4 defense

Something along those lines. the advantage with chainmail is that you are going to be taking considerably less damage. When an attack might only get through on leather armor at 2 to 4 damage, that means chain might mean that you take no damage. But it does mean that the enemy is going to be more apt to focus on you, because you are going to be the closest with that slower speed, so it’s a trade off. Numbers are not final at this point obviously, but for an example.

Weapons then, you’re going to have much more of a choice. You will have two handed swords, short swords, daggers, bow and arrow, axe, crossbow, and maul at least all available at the start of the game to buy.

As for skills, we’re looking at pretty simple ones that would be available. Something like sweeping attack, bash, counter attack, rush, disengage.

Plus there will be items as well, health potions probably being the biggest of those items that the players might want to buy.

Now, with getting items, I could be really nice, I could be really mean, or I could do something between that. What do I mean? If I was really nice, you’d have a catalog of items that you could pick from and purchase without it costing a turn. If I was really mean, I could make those places four separate shops and make players almost have to decide to shop at least 3 times in a row before doing anything else. I’m going to be less mean than that, I don’t want to hand out gear, and players can do other things on their first turn, but on the first level, there is just going to be a bazaar that’s the shopping area, so you can go and shop once and be done with it, unless you decide that you need more and then you can come back again. The first level is going to play a bit differently than others, I think, and I will delve into what I’m thinking when I start building a level, though I probably won’t build the first level.

Character creation, pretty simple, basically all a player would need to do is allocate those points and fill in the player name and the character name. The character boards, for the stats, might be more like a character sheet, and then a side board. Or I might go with dials that keep track of stats, that’s too be determined, with a save sheet so if the dials get bumped it isn’t the end of the world. Or with a save sheet, maybe I’d do a dry erase player board, that’d be pretty cool and useful.

What do you think of character creation, it should be extremely simple. Obviously, the keywords I handed out this time were pretty generic, but I want to create more unique real world people than just what I wrote for this one, someone might run a greenhouse so they’d know about plants, or maybe a chef, give people a ton of different backgrounds.

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Board Game Design Diary – Boss Battles

Board Game Design Diary – Boss Battles

So I talked a bit about the boss mechanics before, but let’s talk about the boss battle itself, how is that going to work, how will that kick off, things like that. This is probably one of the last things to do before I’m going 

Board Game Design – Level Events and Monsters

Board Game Design – Level Events and Monsters

So two last things that you can do on the level to talk about. Obviously there is a whole lot more work to do in terms of balancing these things, but I want to get the framework down on two last things. The first is 

Back or Brick – Burncycle

Back or Brick – Burncycle

Can you lead the robots in this cooperative game as they try and take back control of their programming from their human overlords?

Pros

  • Established game company
  • Cooperative play
  • Theme
  • Component Quality

Cons

  • Price
  • Game Play

The Page

Chip Theory Games are definitely a well established company at this point with hits like Too Many Bones and Cloudspire under their belt. Their offices are also within a 2 minute drive of where I work. That said, I think that the page is laid out fine, generally.

I think that the receipt/print out idea with everything you get is cute, but that came before anything game play related. The game play idea gives you an idea of how the game works, and I like that they explain everything while having videos scattered throughout it. In my opinion, you need the printed explanation.

The Game

This game has a lot going on in it. A lot of the Chip Theory Games do, Too Many Bones gives you a lot of interesting choices and little battles to face before you go and face off against the big bad. So many choices.

To me, this game looks a bit like the “everything and the kitchen sink” to get this game working. There are so many things on the board that you have to choose, how you modify your robot for that round, where you are in the burncycle, spending action points, moving around the main board, hacking the system, dealing with threat. This seems like a lot to keep track of. I don’t know that their other games have that much less to keep track of, though when I demoed Too Many Bones at GenCon last year, it did seem like less going on, or fewer things at least to be thinking about. It also seems like a lot with basically mechanics that are similar to roll and move.

Back or Brick

Now, first I will say I accidentally read the title as buncycle with how it is written/font used the first time. I was very interested in a game about rabbit robots fighting against evil corporations, that is not what this game is about. Had I read it right, would I be more interested, possibly? For me this is a brick right now. It’s one that I’d be interested in demoing and seeing how it plays, but there’s just so much stuff in the game and I know from Chip Theory Games the production will be amazing, but I’m trying to figure out how and when I’d play the game, and I just don’t quite see this as a game that’d hit my table all that often or be the easiest sell because of everything that is going on it.

How about for you, is this game a Back or a Brick?

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Board Game Design Diary – Skills, Weapons, and More

Board Game Design Diary – Skills, Weapons, and More

I already have talked about skills a little bit about how they aren’t something that you’ll level up and get a new one of. However, skills will increase with your level so that a skill at level 1 will be as good at level 20, 

Board Game Design Diary – Character Leveling

Board Game Design Diary – Character Leveling

I use the word level a lot when I talk about this game. I talk about a floor or two pages from the book as being a level. But when I’m talking about leveling, I’m talking about character level and what my thoughts are currently 

Board Game Design Diary – The Guilds

Board Game Design Diary – The Guilds

Yesterday I talked about the bosses but that is only one part of a level. The other part of the level is basically a longer story and preparation phase for that boss battle. But before I can talk about that, I think we need to talk about guilds. If you’ve missed any of the previous parts, you can find them below.

The Premise

The Characters

The Bosses

The Guilds

Let’s talk about what a guild is, it isn’t a concept that shows up that often in a board game. But in an MMORPG, that’s generally the people who are partied together in a group and share loot, money, tips, and things like that. But as compared to a small group of friends you might play with, a guild is generally going to be larger so that you have more resources to share amongst each other.

The idea of this large group can be tricky to do in board games or even an RPG. The issue with it is that you have so many faceless characters that you don’t have that much of an investment in controlling nameless and faceless characters, they are a bit more cannon fodder than anything else. And in this case, that means in game that you’re killing people, generally not one of those things that you’d want to actually do, so having a guild is going to need to have some weight and some advantage to the group.

I want people to be worried about maintaining their guild for several reasons and we’ll get into some of those when we talk about the levels and what you do on the them. Your guild, based off of many people you have in it, is going to be able to help you on the levels. I’ve talked about it with the boss battles and how you’d need to balance between having too many people protecting you, tiring them out, stressing them out, and putting them in danger too much and having people leave the guild that way, as compared to having too few and having people die, plus then people leave the guild because people are dying.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

I think that death is a key concept here and those leaving or joining the guild. If you have enough people die, you will be fighting an uphill battle getting people to your guild and keeping people in your guild. It might be worth it for the late push to risk more, but early game, you could be fighting a battle making sure that you are spending enough time recruiting guild members to offset those leaving because you’d demonstrated that you’re willing to risk people’s lives needlessly, when you go into a boss battle or go through a level battle or quest. So, if you have too many die, you will always be dealing with a steady stream of guild members leaving.

Another thing that I’m considering with guild members is how to use them on the levels between bosses. I think that they will be a communal resource that players will be able to decide on how to use them. Maybe a player is going on a difficult quest, they can take guild members along with them to help mitigate some of the challenges. Or the players could send out guild members to recruit on a level, do a quest on their own, shop for gear, anything that the players can do, but for the guild members instead. I’m thinking something along the lines of, every ten guild members you have, you can assign them one action per round on a level. So if you have thirty people, you got an extra three actions, if you have twenty-nine, you have an extra two.

To go with that, and to get into levels just a little bit, but mainly as it pertains to guilds. Some levels are just going to be nice, or look like a good spot to stop while others push on ahead. You are going to have a few people leave the guild on those levels. Or maybe the level looks very dangerous, and sending out guild members to do anything on that level without them being paired with someone else will cause you to lose a guild member. So it won’t just be a situation where you can always send off guild members to do jobs for you and expect to see the numbers grow and not shrink.

The guild is also going to be a timer on the levels as well. There will be a limit to how long you can stay on a level, let’s say in this example that you can stay on a level ten rounds doing actions each round. So you might shop, you might quest which will take four rounds, you might research the level boss for another round. Now you’ve spent six rounds. You can spend another four rounds, so a total of ten on that level if you want, or maybe as many rounds as you want, but after four more rounds you’ll run out of event cards for that level, more on that in levels, but every round you stay after five, you start to lose more and more guild members. Some get used to it and settle down, some might be discontent about not pushing ahead and trying to get back to the real world. So maybe there is an awesome quest that you really want to do because you know the reward is going to be a skill, and you need another skill to feel comfortable fighting the boss, but it’s going to cost you guild members, and you might then run into an issue with not having enough or using a large enough percentage to fight the boss that you’ll lose some more. So do you push into that quest, get that skill, have guild members leave, and then have to spend most of the next floor recruiting again, or do you push ahead and hope that you get a similar event on the next floor?

Obviously there is a bunch of the fine details to be worked out here. I do think there will be a cap on guild size, which feels like something that is fairly standard in games, because otherwise you could just recruit early on until you have a massive number and just kind of run with it. So I want the pressure of that to be part of what players have to think about through the game. This is something that I feel like good cooperative games do, I want players to have to think about which 5-8 things they really want to do and have a few that they won’t be able to get to even though they’d be good as well.

What do you think of Guilds? Do you think that it will be too much to handle in the game, do you think it’ll be a good type of pressure for the game?

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Board Game Design Diary – The Premise

Board Game Design Diary – The Premise

So, I’m starting a new series, I’m going to be talking about and kind of designing a prototype game based off of SAO, Sword Art Online. SAO is one of my favorite anime, I think that I’ve watched the first season now three times and