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I need some help with an ending...

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smeagolthevile
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Hey everyone,

I'm working on making a Survival horror board game. I have the mechanics in place, the design, the art style, I have everything ready to prototype and playtest except for one thing, how to win the game.

That may sound odd, but I have a dilemma with it. It is a 3v1 game, 3 being children and 1 being a monster, there is no combat mechanic and the children cant defend themselves, so its a game of hiding, and searching and keeping lights lit to see where the monster is.

Now I have some issues. I can make it a solid game with a solid story that is played the same way every time except with the variant of someone playing the monster. This leaves it at the point that who would want to re-play it, you know the story, what you need and how to do it, so the children just rush the end each game, boring.

I can have multiple endings based on different cards you slot into the game at the beginning that lets you change how the game works each playthrough, but that leaves the story part a bit lacking with the ending changing.

I'm really not sure how to progress here and it is driving me mad. My main game design buddy has had to stop working on it with me when she got a job at Rockstar and my artist is getting impatient (as I dont want to get all that started until I actually have it playtested and it seems fun.

Can anyone give any recommendations?

RyanRay
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Joined: 03/27/2014
Is it a co-op game where the

Is it a co-op game where the monster is the combined enemy normally? Some ideas on how to end the game:

-Activate a rescue flare/signal/call.
-Escape the house.
-Survive a set number of rounds (til sunrise).
-Set a trap for the monster.
-You're searching for a mcguffin that will trigger the game end.
-The house is haunted and you have to "solve" its puzzle.

Tbone
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Mom

What if you have to survive until mom gets home? Kind of like the set number of rounds suggested above. How small are the children? are they able to climb and or move objects? you gould add a cool line of sight mechanic. Not sure what all you've put in your game. Just some suggestions.

smeagolthevile
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Thanks for the replies, here

Thanks for the replies, here are some answers.

To RyanRay;

Almost all of these have been considered. Ones I didn't surprisingly, is the waiting until sunrise one, while sunrise wont work, there are other options I can explore in the story to fit that, and it might be a good ending point, BUT it brings into the issue of why the players should explore at all and not just play cat and mouse all game, leading to the frustration and a boring game of tag.

Escape, Mcguffins, and puzzles are all options that have been explored, I'm considering doing about 5 - 10 different ways to escape, each numbered with their own little card packs and you slip them in or out of the normal play deck for each game depending on which you want to play (clearly the monster does this, not the player so they dont know)

Trapping doesnt work because any interaction with the monster where the children have any kind of control kills the atmosphere I'm trying to build.

The flare/signal/call might work, but has the same issues as the wait until sunrise, it also might be hard to put inot the game, since its set in a ruined castle who's entrance gets sealed off once you enter (see collapsing ruins) so there wouldn't be any high tech inside.

To Tbone;

the kids are 8-12 and there is a line of sight mechanic to a point. If you have a room that is lit, or your lantern is lit, you can see the monster when he enters the lit tile, otherwise you have to rely on sound (which the monster player provides, and can be manipulated by him to set traps)

RyanRay
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Joined: 03/27/2014
This reminds me of an old NES

This reminds me of an old NES game called Maniac Mansion. Bunch of kids trying to escape a haunted mansion where the "monster" is a mad scientist that's trying to kidnap them all for science experiments.

Might be worth a play on an emulator if you're looking for inspiration.

EDIT: If you do the Wait Til Sunrise one, you could always have the game scored Hanabi style where it's not inherently very difficult to win, but it is difficult to get a good score. Have different points for finding/exploring/etc.

ruy343
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Spicing it up

Have you ever played "Betrayal at the House on the Hill"? It might help you come up with a way to increase variety. The game actually enters the final phase when the players roll below the eye count (which is determined by the special rooms they've entered). This means that the game could end after a few turns, or take a whole hour, with different endings determined randomly.

You could include little things like an event deck that determines when things get harder, or a trap takes place. It could also be used to give the monster more mobility or other abilities (limited duration or otherwise) that would make the game unique with each play through.

I was thinking that the players would need to amass the pieces needed to make a protective charm or something to stay away from the monster, but that the 1 player can choose different monsters, so the players don't know exactly what they need until the start of the game. Maybe it'll affect the things they need to do as they play.

Zag24
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Joined: 03/02/2014
Different goals

For re-playability, I think you want to have different goals and different win conditions depending on things that happen during the game. This way, the children players can't just rush the end condition, first they have to figure out what the end condition is.

You might even make it have multiple tiers: For instance, the first goal event might be 'Someone must reach one of the three exit doors.' Once they achieve that, they draw a card which might say, "The door is locked. The keys are probably in the desk in the study, or maybe in the bedroom." The players then have to get to one of those locations, and they roll a die which tells them which location it is really in. (They don't get to roll the location until they are in one of the two.)

Finding the location might push you to another goal you have to do first. etc.

smeagolthevile
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See, this is the same issue

See, this is the same issue I'm having. Most of the suggestions are things I already thought of, things to do in game, ways to work with mechanics, they are all set, its just the end game that is the issue, not anything else... How to actually end the game one way or another.

Ned Kelly
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Joined: 09/24/2014
A portal for an ending

I have no game building experience so seeing as all the usuals have been offered and have already been rejected then maybe I can help.

I am thinking if there is nothing on the board then a portal to somewhere else will open new opportuties.

Optional portals would make the game less predictable.

richdurham
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what really do you need?

The description gives us a tone for the game, but I'm still fuzzy on exactly what you need? It's not story endings; you've explored those.

From my perspective, I don't know enough about the game's mechanics to give specific advice. I didn't know you even used a deck of cards until you responded to a comment with:

I'm considering doing about 5 - 10 different ways to escape, each numbered with their own little card packs and you slip them in or out of the normal play deck for each game depending on which you want to play (clearly the monster does this, not the player so they dont know)

If you have the rules more or less set, you could post them and ask again. Otherwise you'll be getting some general and well-meaning feedback like you have so far.

Maybe you need to step back and look at this game through a the lens of the player. What's the player's purpose? Have you simply created a way for the "kids" to shine light on places to inhibit the movements of the monster player but with no game around it?

From the sounds of it, you want a game with a really strong narrative where the kid-characters are trying to achieve goal X while the monster player tries to achieve goal Y. Sometimes a race, sometimes a zero-sum game. Are you looking for a way to mechanically include scenarios?

Can you give us more to go on?

smeagolthevile
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You are right I have not

You are right I have not really given enough info for this. I'd paste the rules but they are in a big expansive design doc and arent in a real readable state, so Ill go over the basic mechanics.

2-4 players - 1-3 children and 1 monster.

The board starts off quite similar to a game mentioned earlier, Betrayal, with a entrance way. Once explored the monster player (who also controls the house) builds the house as it is explored so it is different every game.

The room tiles themselves have a few features.
~if there is a candle token a player may light it, leaving that room 'lit'
~if there is a hide away location there is a safe place to hide
~all tiles can be searched (flipped over). This is where the first deck of cards comes into, when a room is searched that player gets card, can be anything from a clue, to a bit of story, to lamp fuel, to nothing.

Each player has a specific amount of actions that can be done in any order in a turn with one exception. Children on a turn can move a certain number of spaces, explore new rooms, explore, light a candle, or hide (hide being the exception, if you hide your turn ends).

The monster simply has the option of moving (with specific rules to keep the player from camping outside a hiding spot forever and stalemating the game), and playing cards from their deck.

Monster cards are gained when a child player hides in an unlit room, searches and finds nothing, or is struck by the monster. The cards do various things that affect both the monster and the house, such as allowing him to feed the players false information, blowing out candles in lit rooms, among other things

The biggest deal about the monster is that it moves in secret, keeping its move down on a note pad, the only time the monster's token is places is when they enter a lit room. The monster must let the players know the direction he is, because they can hear it, but not see it.

Now the children have a fear meter that goes when they end turn in an unlit room. When it is high enough they panic and have two options,
Option A - Player forfeits all actions and immediately moves 2 spaces toward the closest light source
Option B - Player forfeits all movements and hides for their next turn.

Fear also applies to the monster capturing or killing the children (different difficulty levels). the most players the less hp a child has, basically if the monster is on the same time as a player, and the player isn't hiding and he has not found them, it can roll a D6 and if it is lower then the child's fear rating it does one damage. Now if the room is lit the monster must then flee, if it is not lit he can stay there.

So you can see the ending for the monster is quite clear, cut and dry, but for the children I'm iffy.

(edit) biggest thing I forgot to mention is communication, players may not communicate if they are not in the same room with eachother, that includes keeping cards drawn and all info to themselves, if they do cheat, the monster draws a card

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