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A dying genre?

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Rathemon
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My favorite genre of game is the "pseudo-RPG". This involves a game that each player controls one character (maybe 2) and works on building the stats of the character. Usually there is one player designated as the game master that controls the enemies, secrets and story (although the story elements are pretty weak). Examples include Hero Quest, Warhammer Quest, Talisman, Dragon Strike, and one of my fav's, Mutant Chronicles.

My question for the forum is this: how much of a demand is there for more games likes these? Fantasy Flight Games is coming out with a Descent soon, and have made Doom and possibly others. I don't know of other companies coming out with games of this sort, but am curious of your oppinions about the desire among the gamer community to play games like these.

Hasbro (which own Wizards of the Coast, which owns what used to be TSR which has the rights to Dungeons and Dragons) doesn't really market games like this for the U.S. gaming community. The Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Board Game was not sold here. Is there some market research that I don't know about that says games like this won't sell here?

It seems that the trend is toward competitive board games (like Mage Knight Dungeons) instead of the cooperative: party vs. the game master's hordes.

Also, video games (like Diablo II) seem to be replacing this genre of board game.

Your comments on any of the above is appreciated.

TruMobius
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A dying genre?

FF also produced Runebound which is what I think you are talking about if not lighter.

thought I'm not sure of the demand for such games I know that I found Runebound quite fun and worth the cost

Kreitler
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Re: A dying genre?

A week or two ago, Tom Vasil posted a review of a science fiction game within this genre. I don't remember the name ("Battlestations?" something like that?), but you'll find it if you search the recent posts in the review forum.

It sounded like a blast and featured many, *many* scenarios.

I think as a genre, this is pretty niche. It's not so much that it's dying, but it can't support a constant flood of new entries.

K.

Essence
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A dying genre?

Sorry, but I totally have to be a fanboy for a minute.

TALISMAN IS THE ROXXORIZEST GAME EVAR!!!11!1one!111!won11!!

OK, thank you for indulging me.

larienna
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A dying genre?

The genre of game you are talking about are called "Dungeon Crawlers". I have not seen many of these kind of games on the market recently.

Somebody know as "Old Scratch" is currently working on a game named "Dungeon Crawl". His game will be sold as a downloadable board game. The game is not complete yet and there are some changes to do. It is sold around 12.50$ USD. I bought it, and if you are a great fan of these kind of games, I strongly suggest it. Still I found some flaws in his rules (ex: high level character can roll more than 20 Dices ) but I sent to him a huge list of recommandations and he greatly appreciated it. But in general, the game is good and there is a lot of good ideas in it.

Emphyrio
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A dying genre?

Hmm, the only one of the games you mention I've played is Talisman, which in my opinion is pretty light on both role-playing and boardgame-type strategy.

It seems to me that you'd need a game that somehow managed to be really good at both aspects in order to compete with the "pure" RPGs on the one hand, and with more conventional boardgames on the other. But this is hard to do. Dealing with many frequently changing character stats gets very fiddly in a boardgame context, and it's tough to allow for the variety of scenarios of a real RPG in a boardgame.

jkopena
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A dying genre?

There's talk of a new Space Hulk edition coming out sometime, which is similar to some of the games above, though without character development. Doom doesn't really have any in-game development either.

The Warcraft expansion adds hero characters which have a development aspect, though it's definitely more a light wargame than a light RPG.

Kreitler, the game you're thinking of is indeed called Battle Stations!. It's got a pretty high rating on the geek, though I don't know much about it.

It might be the case that these sort of games don't work out well for how many people play board games. In order to finish a campaign, you need to be willing to play the same game across several sessions, with the same people. My gaming groups all have trouble playing all the games we have, so sticking to one repeatedly would be a hard sell. In addition, it's often difficult to get the same group of people together, so you get problems with new people playing someone else's character or leaving that character out altogether. Alleviating this is maybe something that would be interesting to work on from a design perspective. I've been kicking thoughts around in my head about it, but haven't come up with anything real fancy.[/url]

Hedge-o-Matic
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A dying genre?

I'd agree, it's a niche. It's not enough of an RPG to hook role players, and not enough of a boardgame to grab those players.

I think that these are, for all intents and purposes, just very simple role playing games. They just lack most detail, and don't sell themselves well as RPGs, simply because an RPG can do so much more than these games can as far as setting. Maybe the dungeon crawl role playing experience is to 1970's for people.

But, as board games, the story elements seem arbitrary, since the characters are so clearly just a stat line, and challenges can be piled on until the players either succeed or fail, and who's to say it's their skill, or the GM just relenting? At least in a competitive game, you assume the other guy's out to destroy you, and your victory overcomes that.

So, not enough of what makes both type of game good, in my opinion.

SenorOcho
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A dying genre?

Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
I think that these are, for all intents and purposes, just very simple role playing games.

I think Magic Realm is more complex than AD&D. Or does it not count? ;)

larienna
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A dying genre?

Quote:
It's not enough of an RPG to hook role players, and not enough of a boardgame to grab those players.

This is a problem I tried to meditate on. I asked my self, as a role player who have played RPG, what is my interest in playing something less than and RPG. The only advantage I could find are :

1-More visual, you can see where you move and have a map of the area.
2-The rules are generally easier to learn.
3-The combat flow faster since the rules are easier.

So I said to myself, maybe we should make sure these kind of games have something that RPG and board game does not have to attract players.

Once, one of my friend said that there was no RPG that looks like diablo (1 hero vs 100+ monster). I know that there is an diablo adaptation for d20, but maybe a dungeon crawler is more appropriate for this kind of game.

Another alternative was to make a dungeon crawler like a video game arcade (Like gauntlet). You have a number of lives, life points, you get temporary power up in the dungeon and you try to reach the exit. There won't be really character devellopment. Then again it could become boring after some time.

In the game "dungeon crawl", there is the arena which reproduce many kind of multiplayer games like in Unreal tournament ( ex: capture the flag). This is interresting.

Does anybody have other ideas to increase the interrest for theses kind of games?

Axe
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A dying genre?

At one time TSR sold alot of books and modules. I think the kinds of people that used to play RPGs are now involved in online video games and online interactive games. A game called Castles and Crusades (and their modules written by Gary Gygax the co-creator of D&D and AD&D) has sold ok (5,000 unit players books, fewer modules).

SO its possible.

Kreitler
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Re: A dying genre?

Rathemon wrote:
Your comments on any of the above is appreciated.

Several people have mentioned common "problems" (features?) of this genre:

1) There seems to be a bias against board games where a single player controls the "board" and everyone else is a character.

2) The current market seems to favor "competitive dungeon crawls" as opposed to cooperative ones.

I've been mulling over WizWar and Zombies!!!, which have similar play mechanics to these dungeon crawlers but are slightly different. I think by munging together all these games, it might be possible to create a hybrid that has some interesting properties.

Picture a classic dungeon crawl game:

    There are archetypical characters (mage/warrior/thief/priest/whatever). There is a pseudo-random map (tiles placed using special rules, etc).
    There are monsters to kill.
    There are traps to disarm.
    There are treasures to claim.

Now add some rules twists from other games (like Wiz-War and Zombies!!! and All For One (hope Sedj doesn't mind!)):

    Players secretly draw a Character card that identifies who they "are" that game. There are always at least 4 Characters in the party, and never less than 1 Character per player (making it hard to know which player owns which Character).
    Players can move/use any Character during their turns.
    The "goal" of the scenario will usually involve some permanent upgrade like an Artifact, Transformation, etc. The "winning" player will choose which Character gets the upgrade.
    At the end of his turn, a player will be called upon to move monsters, place treasures, and set traps (i.e., serve a GM function).

Players earn VP by performing certain goals:

    Killing a monster: +2 Killing a Character (via monster or trap): +1
    Your secret Character is killed: -3
    Treasures collected: +0 to +2 (depending on treasure)
    Disarming a trap: +0 to +2 (depends on trap)
    Saving another Character: +1

When a character "dies", he is considered healable (others can use magic items to save him). If all characters die simultaneously, the game ends, players reveal their Secret Characters and choose 1 Upgrade from the Character to lose permanently.

If players beat the scenario and achieve the goal, they can cash out their treasures to purchase equipment that increases their effectiveness.

This isn't a perfect design by any means, but it has some interesting features:

1) Players are encouraged to work together to beat the scenario.
2) Players are encouraged to rough each other up to gain points -- but not so much so as to threaten the party victory.
3) Players might be assigned to any Character, so changing gaming group rosters won't be a problem (no one "owns" any particular Hero -- though this is also a weakness).
4) There is no fixed GM.

Would this still qualify as a dungeon crawler?

K.

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Axe
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Joined: 12/31/1969
A dying genre?

BTW I wouldn't suggest purchasing the Castle and Crusade game (its badly in need of editing), only that its an independent RPG "out there".

Rathemon
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A dying genre?

I appreciate your comments.

One goal of the game (of this genre) that I have been working on is to not have a game master. I think that it takes away from the player pool, and has other drawbacks like favoritism. I prefer to somehow use a combination of randomness and enemy AI (intelligence charts that would suggest how the monster would react) to take over the role of the game master. Random tile placing should take care of the layout of the dungeon. The enemy AI charts should take care of what to do with monsters. A deck of cards takes care of treasure, traps, wandering monsters, etc.

Kreitler, I think that your ideas are quite interesting as far as making it a competitive/cooperative game. As I stated before, I feel that folks these days don't care so much for a coop game, and feel the real challenge is in beating other players. I am aiming for something that still has a coop feel, even if it has to be competitive too (as you suggest).

I also thought the Gauntlet as a board game was an interesting idea, Larienna. This idea is similar to a mechanic that I liked from Dragonstike, the timer until the dragon shows up. If the characters were weak, they were motivated to exit the board (to survive) before the dragon got there. If they were doing better, they would sometimes stick around and bunker down waiting for the dragon to show up, just to see if they could defeat him (and he was a challenge to beat)!

Axe
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A dying genre?

To be a Role Playing Game, there has to be a since of "playing" the part. I don't see how you can do this without a Gam Ref. (controlling the setting and everything in it) and a group of players going against him. Just my 2 cents. It just seems RPG has a definition.

larienna
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A dying genre?

Another Idea I had was by mixing genre. For example, mixing a customisable card game with a dungeon crawler. Let say all players has a deck representing their characters with card that represents: spell, items, Manuvers, etc. Then they move in the dungeon and use their cards at the desired situation. It could also prevent the need of having a character sheet, it's all on cards.

Essence
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A dying genre?

I am actually working on exactly that. If anyone's interested, I'll post what I have up on the Journals. All I need to do is create about 70 more "Dungeon" cards, and I'll be ready to start printing and playtesting.

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