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Solitaire Dungeon Crawl Game Design

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OK, here's the deal. I love good ol' fashion fantasy dungeon crawls. Unfortunately, it seems impossible to ever get people to play fantasy/dungeon crawl games - I guess it isn't mainstream enough.

So I've been thinking about creating my own dungeon crawl game that can be played solitaire style. My question is this: is it even possible to create an interesting solitaire dungeon crawl? IMHO, most solitaire games are dull and boring.

It just seems that I'd be limited to:

1. Roll on chart or draw a card to see what happens. Everything is totally random and you can see the odds and know what everything does. There'd be no real surprise. You could get some surprise if the game was on computer (you could hide the odds and the options), so at least then there would be some mystery to the game. But of course, I don't want a computer game - I want a tabletop game.

2. Choose your own adventure. I could create an adventure module where you make choices, turn to paragraph 35, continue on, etc. But it would take a ton of different modules in order to give a game like this some longevity - plus this would take a lot more work.

I would think the 1st one would be easier, but the 2nd option would give you more options. Honestly, though, neither one seems all that great. Are there any other options for what I want to do?

Solitaire Dungeon Crawl Game Design

Well, with cards, you could do a modular dungeon, a la Dungeoneer. Perhaps something like: You have a generic dungeon board (so the dungeon looks the same every time). You then have different sets of cards (treasure cards, monster cards, boss monster cards, etc.) that you deal face down in each room according to how you want the dungeon to flow. You could even make different level monster/item decks to add some sort of "level up" feature to the game. You then move through the dungeon and encounter whatever is in there (traps, monsters, etc). You could even put little charts on the monster cards that have their reactons (Orc, 2 HP, Roll 1d6, 1-4 Attack, 5-6 Special Attack). In the treasure deck there could be things like "trapped chest" where you flip over the card and have to roll to avoid the trap and if you do you get the treasure and if you don't you're damaged.

I dunno, I was just running with it. I guess any solitaire game is going to be really random or have pre-set-up encounters, so you just have to pick if you want scenarios or randomness.


Joined: 12/31/1969
Re: Solitaire Dungeon Crawl Game Design

I'd say just go for it, get into it and tell yourself
your gonna commit to it and finish it.
Also helps to have to confidence that while your working on it
if it seems to end up being something you don't like, that
you CAN evolve it and change it and make it good.

so that being said, start simple. Do the random one.
Then as you work on it, you'll start making it more

And when your done, the experience should help you
make a better one next time.

Joined: 12/31/1969
Solitaire Dungeon Crawl Game Design

I had an idea for a dungeon creation system for a single player game (most of this is off the top of my head, so pardon the rambling).

If you use tile (like carcassonne) then the player can have some choice as to where they place tiles.

My system would have the player draw a tile and place it adjacent to the tile they are curently on. They continue to do this untill all 8 adjacent spaces are filld by tiles.

A tile with a wall would stop any movement and tile laying in that direction (untill they explore the other side of the wall). Other tiles could be doors, floors, and other dungeon paraphenalia.

Varoius tiles could have "Draw and event card" or such, so that at random times the player would have an "encounter" (eg fight a monster, solve a puzzle, find treasure, etc).

Also there would be quest cards (players would deal out 3 or so to begin the game). These cards would have instructions on them as to what task the player had to acheive to continue the quest. Every time the player completes the stated quest they draw another quest card.

Quests could be: "Kill the Balrog", "Find the Crown of King Arthur", etc. These situations will come up with the event cards.

Each quest card could would experence on it. When the player gets enough experence to go up a level they win that dungeon and start a new one. Each level gained wold increase the experence needed to get to the next level.

Ofcourse new tiles, quest decks and event decks can be printed as expansion packs (they could be stand alone or could be combined with the original decks). Each game would be new as the dungeon is random and the quest and event decks can be shuffled.

hmm... This could also be played as a multiplayer game as well.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Solitaire Dungeon Crawl Game Design

There has been some rules calle "the random dungon" used for dungeon crawlers like "Hero Quest" and "Dungeon Crawl". The idea was to play a game without GM. But you can still play in solo if you want.

It generally works with a series of tables. You roll for the tiles and then you roll to see what monsters, furnitures and treasures are available. Here is a rules example for random quest with the "hero quest" game:

I cannot say how "Dungeon crawl" works since it is a commercial game, but all I can say that there is a series of tables for: Treasures, Goals, Dungeon Themes (furnitures and monsters), Special events/rooms, and a few other stuff.

To make the game interesting in single player:

1-Use a character evolution technique. It will create a type of addiction like in diablo. You follow the evolution of you character, you micromanage it and you always try to make it stronger.

2- Make a score system. In this way, you can always try to make a better score to perfect yourself.

3-Add some special restriction rules to make the game more difficult to give you some sort of special challenge.

Joined: 12/31/1969
Solitaire Dungeon Crawl Game Design

I have just written up some basic ruels for a dungeon crawl game. They havent been balanced but I only spent a couple of hours on it.

Solitaire Dungeon Crawl Game Design

I love computer games like Nethack and such, and I would also love to see something similar in a board or card game. I just had an idea of a game made complete of cards, where they make the board as you go like in games such as Hacker.

The cards could have encounters and other features (like a magic well, treasure chests, traps, or even stairs to the next level). Then there could be a separate equipment deck, that you can pull from when defeating certain monsters or opening chests.

Each card could have one to four arrows, pointing what possible directions you can go to from there, then you would place the next card adjacent to any of those arrows and move into it.

If an encounter is too hard or you don't want to risk fighting it any more, you can try to roll to escape it (the number you needed would be on the card). When you defeat a monster or open a chest, you turn the card over.

When you get a stairs card, you can go down to the next level if you think you are ready. You would then put all the cards back and reshuffle them. But things get harder, and also the items get better. There would be multiple things listed on the card, one for each level of the dungeon, and you would put number markers on your equipment to show what it actually was.

The only stats you would have would be your HP. Everything else, like you attack power and defense would we based on your equipment.

When you get to the last level and kill all of the monsters in it, you win.

Not sure how fun this game would be, and sometimes you would probably just get screwed, but that would emulate the Nethack experience just fine. :)

Solitaire Dungeon Crawl Game Design

I'm a big fan of dungeon crawl / hybrid boardgames, and a roguelike/nethack/adom sort of game would indeed be cool. One problem I kept running into was a simple, painless way to administrate all the probabilities and tables... Dungeonquest handled this with a zillion different decks of cards, each with a specific purpose. Warhammer Quest handles this with several sourcebooks that have numerous charts and tables.

A tile system with imbedded information would be a neat implementation... I'm also keen to see how FFG handles their upcoming Descent game, to see if that jogs any ideas.

Best of luck with developing a solo game -- it sounds like a fun endeavor.

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