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New Design "crystallizes" overnight... I was up until 3 AM!

So one of my newer designs just got firmed-up overnight. That's right, I was up at around 3:00 AM this morning thinking about some of the fundamental rules for this design. I had some ideas and was drawing some inspiration from "Betrayal at House on the Hill" (BHH) and wanted a two (2) phase game where detectives travel around the "county" trying to solve a crime.

Well I landed-up with a five (5) phase game which is not too bad and I managed to solved some of the "existential" questions with the game: how it should be played and what mechanics should get used.

I managed to FIRM all of those details this morning (at 3:00 AM)... And figured I should get out of bed and write some notes so that further today, I could resume where I was and just flesh-out the details that were omitted in the wee hours!

I don't want to disclose the name of the game ... Just yet! It is a bit a re-make of an older children's game that is still sold today. So I don't want to compete with that game... Just want to introduce a VERSION which is much more solid and makes way more sense.

So the game will have a "Detective Handbook" and will be filled with crime-relate information about all the different types of crimes. Now here is the SCARY PART: there will be 26 x 9 x 81 = 18,954 case-related crime information.

This is a LOT! More than what I was prepared for... I'll see how much it will cost to have this information written by my Creative Writer. That's a lot of entries and a virtual BOOK to write.

On the other side of matters, there is very little art except for the 27 Game Tiles (Locations around the "County"), 12 Joystick Pawns and a pair of standard D6s (2D6s). And of course the "Detective's Handbook" which will be very voluminous ... We'll see. Most of the details will be a couple paragraphs of text in the Guide.

So YEAH ... It's VERY replayable and odds are that you don't get the same crime either (due to the 18,000+ crimes in the guide)...


Also ...

I'm still THINKING about this guide... Almost 19,000 entries is freaken a LOT! I know that it could be cool but it doesn't really affect the game only make sense of the crime the detectives were solving. So it's like a CONCLUSION (I call it "The Confession" phase).

If I can FIT NINE (9) entries per page, 19,000 / 9 = over 2,000 PAGES!!!

CRAZY... But so very cool. However it seem IMPOSSIBLE to design.

I still need to think about HOW I could TRIM the content down. IDK ATM. What I have WORKS in terms of the game, now it's a matter of piecing HOW I can get this Detective's Handbook written... Is there a solution to this madness???

IDK... More thinking required...

Some early thoughts...

Instead of having STORYLINES for each "Location" since there are 26 Locations that can be used in the game (A to Z), what IF I was to GROUP the various Locations into DISTINCT "crimes". This would mean that instead of 26 sections, maybe only FIVE (5) "sections" with about five (5) Locations each (one with 6).

This means 5 x 9 x 81 = 3,645 entries. And if there are nine (9) per page that's about ~400 pages (405 to be exact).

That could be reasonable, maybe??? I get 3,000+ entries is a lot... But it's what makes the game BETTER than it's predecessor ... In that the "crimes" are explained in a short paragraph of two...

Again some early thinking ... I will ponder some more on this!

Again more thinking...

If I could RID myself of the "Locations" and then there would 9 x 81 = 729 different types of "crimes". The problem is NOW they don't SYNC-UP with a crime area (Location of the crime). This number is much more REASONABLE.

But it simplifies the crimes because you can't say that the "crime" occurred in the "Park" or in the "Hotel", etc. Well you can but it doesn't LINK with the location as I had initially thought.

Okay... Okay... 729 entries is REASONABLE enough with maybe 3 per page means that the guide would be 250 pages ... Something much more realistically DO-ABLE.


Made some corrections...

So the first one is the 729 different types of "crimes". Although they don't SYNC-UP with the "last" Tile/Location, I have concluded that 729 different ones is sufficient. I also added (or changed) the 5th Phase which is now called "The Manhunt" and it basically plays the Prime Suspect versus the Detectives.

That's cool because there is more use of the Play Area and it varies per crime.

So no more "Confession" Phase, this is replaced by "The Manhunt" Phase.

"The Manhunt" phase

This is a bit similar to BHH where one player becomes the "traitor". In this design, the player who figures out the nature of the crime becomes the "Prime Suspect" and has a different goal that his (now) opponents which are still the Detectives in the game.

The "Prime Suspect" has a goal and must complete a few tasks, all the while the Police (Detectives) search for the evidence required to capture and jail the criminal...

It's obviously "similar" to BHH... But not identical. Same goes the remainder of the game: it's similar to a classic but sufficiently different that it's a game unto itself.

"The Manhunt" Phase came to me after most of the entire design "crystalized" in the wee-hours of the morning. This last phase came to mind maybe 10 days or so later (while thinking about the design and what it lacked or was maybe incomplete...) So it came more than a week after the design was much more SOLID. Just some more thinking and re-hashing the design to see how it could be improved!

This last (5th) Phase ("The Manhunt") ...

Is sort of inspired by the old movie called "The Fugitive"... There are some difference namely that the "Prime Suspect" is not necessarily "running away" from the police... But more so trying to commit the "crime" that he/she has been accused of doing. So while the Detectives are trying to find evidence to lock him/her up, the perp is trying accomplish whatever crime that was set in place earlier before the investigation...

But yeah, does have a bit of "The Fugitive" vibe! Or "The Usual Suspects" also another story about a crime that was strung together and unfolds as the players play the game...

And the key is ...

While the "Interrogation" Phase is all about "solving" the crime, "The Manhunt" is about how all of the crime is "resolved", meaning did the "Prime Suspect" manage to commit the crime successfully or were they thwarted by the Police... Which side WINS is the subject of the 5th Phase and I think makes the game pretty unique and VERY cool!

I'm not 100% sure about the NAME ("The Manhunt"), it was from a previous iteration of the game that had only 2-Phases. So we will have to see if the name sticks or not.

What I am trying to express is that during the "Interrogation" Phase when the Police solve the crime, time goes back to before the investigations and starts off with the crime and the police trying to stop it from happening...

I get the impression the game will be very unique for sure. Cheers all!

Bought these Wooden Pawns for $10 bucks

If you want to buy some, you can CLICK on the image and it will open up a Tab to the AliExpress website with this specific product.

This was exactly what I was looking for and there may be more of the pieces than I need... But for $10 bucks... You can't go wrong with 100 pieces!

Can't wait until I get them to start making some playtest of this "interesting" and "fresh" design... To firm-up the rules and generally see how FUN this game really is!


Note #1: Not only do they have more colors (14 in total) they are they less than 50% the price than those found on other websites that sell parts for prototypes. I compared with a price point of $0.22 USD instead of $0.10 USD! I know if you want to embed these in a game, that might be harder, but if you just wanted some to PROTOTYPE... These are an excellent find!

OMG ... It's going to take SO LONG to deliver!

The "Estimated delivery: June 25"! Hopefully 2022! Hehehe. Great price, reasonable shipping ... But such a long time to deliver from China to Canada.

I've bought Dry-Erase Pens that are SUPER durable from AliExpress too... Also very affordable price (something like $10 USD for 12 pens super fine tip too!)

Anyways we'll see how long exactly it takes. Maybe I'll buy more SPARE PARTS (think wooden) for my designs in the event that some require more of them.

I'm not as big of a COLLECTOR as @larienna ... He's got so many components, it's a virtual free-for-all candy-store type of a situation! Designer's paradise when it come to components!

Larienna's Components! (WOW)

Cheers all.

Note #1: The Order Date was 30 May 2022. So ALMOST 1 month delivery time (based on the estimate). We'll see if it manages to get here a bit quicker. Would be nice... Could do some prototype for this design...

Had an idea to just make it a bit more "challenging"...

One of the problems with the "Manhunt" Phase is if you have two (2) or more Detective trying to catch the criminal before he/she acts ... Was too easy. All you really needed to do, is have one Detective go for the crime's "Evidence" and have one Detective follow/tail the suspect/criminal.

I thought this would be TOO EASY in most cases.

So what I did is the instead of making it an "instantaneous" capture, both sides roll 1D6 and the higher roll is the winner of the "take-down"...

Well sorta... Basically if the criminal is HIGHER, you draw another location and place the criminal on that county location: the cops were following a "decoy"! However if the Detectives are HIGHER, the criminal is apprehended and the victory goes to the Detectives.

This small but CHANCE related is better for the game because it means that there is a chance that the "criminal" can "give the detectives the SLIP..." and it's not a INSTANTENOUS loss for the player taking on the role of the "criminal" in the "Manhunt" Phase.

I needed a way to BALANCE out the game with the extra forces working with the Detectives and give the chance for the criminal to elude the police...

Working on the "Manhunt" Phase...

I'm still trying to ADD a few extra elements to the "Manhunt" Phase. I'm thinking about a simple STATs system too... The dice roll is a bit too SIMPLE TBH. This is all very NEW. Just came from the fact that the 2D6s rolling just isn't enough to be sufficiently engaging.

Some things like "Cunning", "Danger", "Speed" and "Health".

"Cunning": this is a modifier which gets added to "take-down" roll. So if the criminal rolls a 3 and his/her "cunning" is +2, his roll is a 5.

"Danger" : this is a modifier which causes a "Health" loss when a Detective is trying to "apprehend" the criminal. So a negative "take-down" roll means that the detective loses -1 Health -3 additional Health loss (for a higher threat).

"Speed" : this is a modifier that gets added to each time the 2D6s are rolled to move around. 2D6s +2 in terms of additional movement gives the character a better chance to move around the county.

"Health" : this is a stat for how much wounds can be taken by the character (be it criminal or detective). When the character reaches zero (0) that character is lost. If it is the criminal, the Detectives win. If it is a Detective then that pawn is removed from the remainder of the game.

Those are the STATs I am thinking about implementing. I still need to figure out HOW they work TBH. I'm trying to get something more flexible for the game.

For now these are some EARLY ideas. More to come for certain!

With some designing of the STATS ...

I've managed to add an additional "layer" for the "Manhunt" Phase and TBH it seems to be pretty decent. This has definitely added some more complexity to this last phase of the game.

Now this game is quite superior than before because the apprehension of the criminal is now can be controlled with the number of police and the various stats that make the "Manhunt" Phase more balanced.

Can't wait to playtest this design some MORE! Cheers.

I wanted the "Manhunt" Phase to be like...

The movie the "Fugitive"... In which they are chasing the "escapee" around and he is trying to escape from their clutches. Ergo the name "Manhunt"! The additional "Danger" stat plays an importance to HOW the Detectives "engage" the criminal, in that they also need to be wary about his/her temperament.

This is much better in the way that I wanted the game to PLAY!

Much more engaging and FUN approach since the police can have four (4) Patrols vs. one criminal... I can be NOT FAIR and overwhelming odds ... And I wanted to find a balance in that.

Again waiting for the pawns/helmas to arrive from China in order to playtest a variant (or subset) of the game!

Note #1: But the criminal can have an accomplice too! So 2 vs. 3 or 4 police is still feasible for BOTH sides... It's just a matter of seeing how the game plays out!

Renamed "Danger" STAT to...

"Threat" instead. For short of "Threat Level"... How DANGEROUS the character is and how difficult it will be to "apprehend" them. Minor change... While I wait for my Tokens/Helmas/Pawns to arrive from China. They are currently in Vancouver BC and it still says DELIVER TODAY! No way at LEAST 1 WEEK...! It's got to travel across Canada from BC to QC... No doubt that is not happening in 1 day...

I'm thinking it gets delivered somewhere around the 20 June (Maybe).

Note #1: I'm still working on the "Manhunt" Phase because this is where games like BoHH failed in that whole "traitor" mechanic. There is for the most part a "failure" to properly BALANCE the game after "The Hunt" begins. I am working very closely to ensure that EACH scenario will make sense and offer a chance for EITHER side to win the game.

Sure a bad start from the criminal may give the Detectives an upper-hand ... But this doesn't mean that it is an ABSOLUTE loss for the criminal. And again depending on the scenario, some will lean in either/or benefit and/or advantage.

Finally got the Wooden Pawns ... Amazing!

It took 13 Business Work-Days to get the Pawns... But I've got them and they are of super QUALITY. Not one blemish on any of the Pawns... Super nice! I will probably do some playtesting some time next week. I've got to think of what this design requires in terms of cards and assets before creating an el-cheapo prototype with Standard Cards and so forth (I use standard Playing cards as the backs to cards in the game and then I cut using a slider the cards -- nine at a time).

More work needed on this design before I can get it to MY table and see what I generally think of the game!


I am going to work on playing a prototype on Sunday

And do most of the preparation TODAY! I've got my pawns/tokens, my tiles and dice to go with the rulebook (currently only a text document). The idea is to prepare most cards today and see how the game plays out on Sunday. The real "experiment" is understanding HOW LONG the game currently plays in its form.

I will be simulating 4-Players and see how it goes... I'll report back my findings and results for all to see how this design is advancing! Right now I am very hopeful that there are not too many road-blocks and the concept works well as a cohesive GAME!


Only 13 days...


Can't imagine a delivery that fast...

Well it was 18 days (with the weekends included)

But I guess in shipping the package is always moving (on a truck, on a boat, on a plane, etc.) So 18 days is how long the delivery took from China to Canada to my doorstep! But yeah pretty quick TBH. I'm happy... I will get to playtesting. Not sure when, the plans have been a bit shifted: going to my cousin's place tomorrow!

So playtesting will need to wait. I'm going to work on the cards next week. Plus it's Summer ... Everything takes more time, people work slower and enjoy the nice weather more. So yeah I will definitely get to playtesting the game soon.

But yeah, I was very pleased with the 13 (18) day delivery! Cheers @X3M.

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blog | by Dr. Radut