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A Card a Day: The Outline of Snowblind

Hey guys, Drion here!

This is something I've been considering for a while to keep up and be accountable for my design goals; I wish to post one card or card game design a day, may that be for a game of my own or an already existing one, like Magic: The Gathering or even something digital, like Hearthstone. I know how the feed works here on BGDF, so shoot me down if you see this as obnoxious or the incorrect platform for this, I just love the community and the passion you guys have for everything design!

The Outline of Snowblind:

I've been trying for the longest time to convince my girlfriend to play boardgames with me, but everything we played felt somehow out of place. Video games she loves, especially ones with interesting stories, character customization and captivating player actions (like a satisfying shooter). She also loves horror. Now how do I design a game that we could enjoy? How do you make something that checks these boxes?
A thought came to me one day about what it would feel like to drive through a snowy forest with friends, going skiing or to visit someone, but the forest doesn't end, it just keeps going, and you are not alone. I liked this pitch, so I considered how do you make it into a card game. Encounters in the forest could be represented by a deck of cards that you drive (draw) through, making decisions or suffering events at each. But I wanted this to be more replayable, so what if you could Speed through the forest? As you would if you realize that the forest is not ending, and things might be watching. So let's allow the players to discard a few cards (like 2) before drawing, if they decide to go fast. This might have consequences, like not noticing items, alerting enemies with the noise, or hitting animals on the road. Maybe even a fuel cost.
Now how do you inject more story? Because seeing a third of the cards, you'll still see almost everything within a couple playthroughs, and we need consequences to decisions and actions, a hit deer might come back to haunt you, or cause a shaman to track you down, but those events should only be in the deck if you hit the deer. So, let's put those cards in! Let's make it a mechanic that certain cards will ask you to place other cards in the deck. To simplify this, we might want some system as to where to place them, so I would break up the deck into 3 sections, a start, a middle, and an end, all with different card backs possibly. So you hit the deer, and the card describes that, then asks you to place a card from a plot deck (like card #29) into the end part of the story deck face down. We could even make multiple card #29s to really increase replayability, but we'll worry about that later.
Now let's describe the game in more general terms, this is a cooperative survival horror game, for 1-4 players (if it can be solved to scale well), with what can be considered roguelike elements (meaning that there is permadeath, if you lose the game, it's over, there is map semi-randomization, and allows the player skill to shine).
So before we go and prototype this, do we have everything for this to potentially evoke the feeling of a chilling and skill testing cooperative survival horror? Well, if the decision space is as simple as A or B (like destroy shrine or not), then there isn't much space to cooperate. Cooperation requires that each player has their own ownership of the game, some thing that they control and decide over, while also keeping it in mind so others don't have to (like pandemic gives everyone their own figure and abilities, and cooperation comes from everyone throwing in the ideas as to what their character could contribute to reach the common goal of erasing viruses). So immediately a few solutions come to mind, we need items the players can own and only they decide over (like a gun or firestarter kit), we can give them special agendas, but that might cause loss of both cooperation and survival aspects (though an enemy turning you against your friends does sound fun), or special abilities, something like knowing how to hunt wolves or make coats out of them, or knowing repair could cause players to push others towards following wolf footprints or stopping for a broken radio tower. Yeah, that sounds good, even though this assymetry might be tough to design for. So let's see what we need to prototype this and make a list of thing we want to watch for while playtesting. Let's set up a 1 player game at first so we can focus on the core mechanics and design for cooperation later. The laundry list of items should be, let's say 12 cards, 4 for each stage of the story (main) deck, a couple of item cards and at least 4 plot cards, that only enter the story deck if prompted by other cards, but if they will need to fight things, we'll need a combat system...
Let's talk about that next time!

I hope my way of writing was sufficiently confusing, but if you have any thoughts or suggestions about my approach to the idea, any glaring problems in the design, or just telling me what are the things you wouldn't like to meet in an endless snowy forest then don't be afraid to leave a comment!

This is it for today and thank you for making this far!
If this format works I'll be back with more, until then

Have a great day and take care!


Hello Drion22

Oh, I'm intrigued and interested in helping you out on gameplay, mechanics and encounters and storyboarding your game.

I'll read through your blog again later tonight after work because I skimmed through it but I did read a few paragraphs.

Creator of Dymino Monsters;

I haven't forgotten

Hello ,

I haven't forgotten about your project.
I've been working at my pizza shop and on rest and my own projects all the while thinking and planning in my mind what needs to be kept and thrown out for your game design project.

I'll get back to send you my information as soon as possible.

Bows respectively;

Something to think about

Items and accessories:

Tanks of gas
Pick axe
First aid kits
Partial maps to locations along the route
Tire kit
Snow suits
Bowie knife
Rations (optional)

Ghost lights

Lost memory

20 to 40 snow road cards with different paths but also more than have of those cards needs to be straight. If 40 is not enough, I would suggest 60 snow road cards for optimal forever road. All the other paths could lead to

Dead ends, cliffs, more forest, back to the beginning (oh, a card that puts both players back at the beginning. Like a repeat beginning card or 4 throughout the deck. Similar idea in the Nightmare on Elm Street Diner sequence - Diner sequence was about 4 or 5 repeats but the victims finally realized it was a dream sequence) You could do the same thing for the lost memory card. Add a card affect for every restart sequence. It would be a little annoying but the mechanic will have a part in the storyline.

The players are playing the game with the same goal but for every action either player does, has a counter action for the other player at the same moment.

So both players must use the walkie talkie card, with batteries and antenna to try to communicate to fix the path to get back on the long road home in SnowBlind.



Hi Jesse!

Thank you so much for having this on your mind, and that's a heck of a list.

I also made a list based on a Google search of camping equipment, but you have some really good ideas in there that are already inspiring me, like the film or the pickaxe.

I'm thinking that dreams or flashbacks could be done by either making players discard the cards they encountered into a separate pile, then placing those back on top of the deck with some dream modifier cards inserted into it, like wraith or apparitions of loved ones. Otherwise we could make them draw randomly from the "encountered" pile and make a "dream" version of each of those cards that they have to find and encounter.

I love the idea of adding minigames by having the players have to "record" certain encounters to present them in later places, like having actual policeman show up and you have to prove they you're not mad, or recording a Medusa's stare and turning things to stone by showing them the recording (might be too strong, but really fun).
Even going mining sounds like a fun side quest.

I'll make tomorrow's post about Snowblind again to keep you updated on the progress!

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blog | by Dr. Radut