I just reintroduced myself in the welcome forum, I've been inactive for a while and I've been spending my time developing my game Evil Spares None. I'll post some details and insight about my game and I'd love feedback.
Evil Spares None - A 2-4 player Cooperative survival board game based on slasher movies. Players control sexy, foolish teenagers as they try to figure out who, or what, is the psychopath chasing them.
I'm a very theme-first designer, I came up with a core concept of what kind of playground I wanted for my players, and what motivation they should have while playing. I got the idea from formulaic horror movies that develop a demented logic within their own universe, and thought that a slasher horror movie would be a good setting.
The map is comprised of linear segments, when players reach the end of one section a new one is placed before them and the oldest one disappears, there are only two sections of map open at any time. (like that old game Thunder Road). This feeds into the theme several ways, players don't know what is coming up next, and if they stay still too long they fall off the map into a dangerous area (there's still a chance of coming back). Like a horror movie, any character off camera is fair game.
The Psychopath deck
From the start I wanted the adversary to be controlled autonomously. The opponent should be operated without feelings, without mercy, and thoroughly "other". The Psychopath is controlled by a deck of cards that each player draws from at the end of their turn. The deck starts with some cards having no effect, essentially giving the players "breathing room", these cards are thrown out and then the deck is reshuffled. Midway through the game, the psychopath is much more active, certain cards contain powers that only come into effect based on the score of the Psychopath - if players are doing poorly (not cooperating, lagging behind, and not pursuing the investigation) the Psychopath will bring the pain.
One thing about the slasher genre of horror movies is that there needs to be a high body count. If a player's character dies, they aren't out of the game yet. The team has a pool of lives (12 dumb sexy teenagers) that they all draw from until they run out of characters and the game ends. In fact it might be advantageous to let a character die, to either lure the Psychopath away or stall it.
That's what I have for now, I'll gladly answer any questions. Thoughts? comments?
It sounds like it is assumed that some of the 12 teenagers will certainly be die; did you set any kind of minimum death level for the players? Can the game be won if only a single teenager is left?
How detailed are the map segments? Does each segment represent a single room or are they more detailed?
Good luck with your design!
Thanks for the questions!
I do intend for some of the teenagers to be killed off (makes sense in a horror game). From playtesting with 2 to 4 players it seems that 3-4 Teens out of the total 12 get killed off. The 12 acts as the pool of group lives, I haven't had a situation in which all of them get killed off (the players would then automatically lose). The game can be won if there is only 1 teen left. Only once I've had the situation in which there were more players than teens left, meaning one player had no character and was effectively out of the game, but that situation was at the near end of the game, all the drama was then focused on seeing if the last remaining characters would survive and let the team win. In the way I have it set up, you gain additional points at the end if you have your original character still alive, as well as any additional characters you find along the way.
As for the map, they are squares with 3x3 spaces, 1 space on each map is a featured room or area (like the graveyard, police station, or haunted zoo). Players have 3 actions per turn, and moving is an action so at most they can move across 1 map tile a turn. There are walls and items dispersed across the map, as well as locked doors. From gameplay testing it seems that each game uses about 3-4 map tiles out of a total 10 before ending.
It's a work in progress. The game's website with more details:
The body count seems low for a horror/slasher game; do you find that your playtesters are sufficiently "panicked" most games or are they reasonably confident that they will defeat the enemy? Are there any non-enemy antagonists in the game? For example, police, parents, non-believers, etc. that get in the way, but don't really harm the players?
I took a look at your prototypes yesterday - looking good!
We were thinking the same things. There are NPCs I call townies, such as the sheriffs, deputys, high school teachers, town drifters, hobos, and other background characters. In the game there are tokens that represent mystery people, when revealed they are either a Teen that you add to the board, or a Townie which you can carry with you. Townie's are essentially body armor, when the Psychopath attacks you can choose to have a townie get killed instead of your teen. From a typical game I've seen, there's about 4-5 dead Teens and 7-10 dead Townies.
From what my players tell me, there is a definite sense of pressure. New players tend to take their time to explore and try to save all the NPCs and usually get overwhelmed by the Psychopath. Experienced players who work together aggressively can usually defeat the psychopath. Defeating him requires getting 16 to 20 investigation points before the Psychopath gets to 20, this makes him vulnerable to be killed permanently (well until a sequel comes out, it is based on horror movies).
Repost for anyone interested:
Howdy everyone on BGDF, I'm Plunk and I'm finally ready to kick my game to the curb, time to put up or shut up.
My game, Evil Spares None, a cooperative sexy teen slasher horror game, has gone live on Kickstarter! Check out the video (spoiler alert: It's scary!), check out the rewards (game immersion that goes against all that's holy), and warn your friends! "Repeat to yourself, it's just a game"
Evil Spares None is a 2-4 player cooperative survival horror game that takes about 90 minutes to play. Live out a thrilling horror movie as your characters are stalked by an unstoppable masked psychopath. Evil Spares None is looking for supporters through Kickstarter so that we can get killer artwork, high quality materials, and a chance for contributors to join in the fun. See below for a description of the rewards!
-Thanks for reading!
-Plunk AKA Matt Akana