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superhero boardgame, how?

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Anonymous

I want to make a supehero boardgame (or something gamey but non-rpg), but I can't think where or how to start. I can't find any decent role models. Any thoughts?

Johan
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superhero boardgame, how?

Hello

Let's start from the beginning of making a game. A game consists of 3 different major components:
- The theme
- The mechanism
- The goal
All is important for the final game. What you have is the theme and an idea┬┤ of the mechanism (board game) but no goal. Put in a goal and you have the first (simple) outline of your game.

Next, put in some (a lot of) work by sketch the game. A lot of questions have to be answered as, the number of players, timeframe, components, who should play ? and a lot of other questions. (The biggest questions you have to say yes to in all situations are, "Would you be attracted to play this game". If the answer is No, then you have to redo parts or the whole game)

At all the time, make the theme, mechanism and goal work together.

// Johan

Fos
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superhero boardgame, how?

The Munchkin mechanic might be a good place to start, if only as brainstorming (Munchkin certainly has flaws, but it's alright).

So, basically, there are two card decks. One of doors, and one of treasure. Each player, each turn, turns over a door card behind which is a monster. Other players can help you defeat that monster (I believe) and, depending on the difficulty, you get to draw so many Treasure cards. Treasure cards can either be general effects (give yourself a level bonus or screw a teammate), class cards, or equipement (if I remember correctly).

A player can choose to be a class, and that gives him various roll bonuses in battle, and the same goes for the equipement. There's also a card that allows you to duel class. And I remember you can trade in cards for money, though I'm not really sure what that's for. (I think you could by levels).

Anyway, it's a very simple (overpriced) game and it would be easy to change it from an RPG to another theme (in fact, Steve Jackson Games has done this a number of times, with kung fu and star munchkin off the top of my head). All in all, it's a somewhat funny satire of RPGs that rests on a lot of luck of the draw. A little long for how light it is, but as I said, it's at least somewhere to start.

Good luck.

Anonymous
superhero boardgame, how?

Possible; munchkin is ok but essentially flawed (the game always devolves into screw the leader). This design would imply that everyone plays a hero fighitng villains/bad guys (the monster deck).

IngredientX
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superhero boardgame, how?

signoftheserpent wrote:
Possible; munchkin is ok but essentially flawed (the game always devolves into screw the leader). This design would imply that everyone plays a hero fighitng villains/bad guys (the monster deck).

I can understand why you don't want to base the game around Munchkin; I'm not a big fan of it either, though it does have quite a following.

The only superhero board game I can think of off the top of my head is Strange Synergy... strangely enough, also published by Steve Jackson. Players assemble teams of three superheroes, each with three random superpowers. They then fight each other.

Hmm... trolling Boardgamegeek, I also get a few Batman games. I don't know how good they are, but they might give you some ideas.

Good luck!

jwarrend
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superhero boardgame, how?

You might look at a recent game called "Heroes Inc". I don't know much about the game but I think it's about more than "players battling each other". If the latter was what you wanted, HeroClix or Star Wars:Epic Duels might be good models.

If you're looking at the "players are up against an NPC badguy", then you're probably more interested in the "horror" genre for inspiration. Games like Chill:Black Morn Manor, or Fury of Dracula, neither of which I've played, have elements of what you're looking for. Actually, Fury of Dracula has one player as dracula, which makes it more like Scotland Yard. The recent Lord of the Rings board game is also a nice approach.

I think a decent superhero game would be great, the difficulty is going to be incorporating the super powers in a compact way but one that also gives you the variety of the powers. For example, if you just have various powers that all modify one attribute, a la "Cyclops: laser vision: +1 to attack; Colossus; turns to metal: +2 to attack; Wolverine: adamantium claws; + 1 to attack" and so on, the game won't really have any flavor. But if you try to have too many rules so that you can really differentiate the abilities, your game will end up being fiddly and cumbersome. It's a tricky tightrope you're trying to walk. But if you pull it off, it will be great!

Good luck!

-Jeff

Fos
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superhero boardgame, how?

jwarrend wrote:
I think a decent superhero game would be great, the difficulty is going to be incorporating the super powers in a compact way but one that also gives you the variety of the powers. For example, if you just have various powers that all modify one attribute, a la "Cyclops: laser vision: +1 to attack; Colossus; turns to medal: +2 to attack; Wolverine: adamantium claws; + 1 to attack" and so on, the game won't really have any flavor.

An excellent point, which knocks anything remotely related to Munchkin right out. In the case of Munchkin, the humor is in the flavor text which wears thin as soon as you've seen all of the cards. In this case, the "superheroism" would be in the flavor text, which would be thin, to say the least. The "superheroism" needs to come from the mechanics (IMO) as much as the "theme." I was also thinking of a board game, representing a city and (possibly) including "Commisioner Cards," or some such, which would be random event cards. Might be too random, but I really don't know the feeling shot for here.

sedjtroll
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superhero boardgame, how?

I had an idea for a CCG about 2 years ago which I called Crime City: Clash of the Kingpins (info about it can be found [url="http://www.dakotacom.net/~sej/CCCCG.html"]here[/url]) which began as a Super Hero CCG. To compare it to Magic, here's an idea of how I envisioned it:

Each Color in Magic would be analagous to a particular Hero. This is actually more like the 'suits' in the LOTR CCG. Anyway, each Hero would have generic cards, Hero Specific cards, and Villains who are badasses, but weak agains that particular Hero (or alternatively, Strong agains that particular opponent and weak against other Heros). The object was to 'defeat' the other guy's Hero. There would be Villains and Thugs which would be Offensive cards, and there would be the Hero stuff which would be defensive.

This quickly evolved into more of a Kingpin vs Kingpin with the defensive Hero cards to stop your opponent by calling in Batman or something. Like the city is protected by a Superhero, and you use cards like "Dark Knightfall: Batman catches target Criminal" to thwart your opponent.

Before long the Superhero thing dropped off completely and the game was simply a couple of Kingpins vying to take control of the city. You'd send thugs to 'attack' your opponent and steal his cash (your deck is your cash, and if you run out you lose), and you use cards like "Call the Cops" as defense against opposing criminals. Of course you have cops on your payroll so it's no problem telling them what to do.

I don't know if this helps, but I thought it was on-topic.

I'm currently talking with Scurra about expanding the All For One mechanics to other games, and one obvious choice is a team of super heros (like the X-Men for example). We'll let you know if anything becomes of it.

- Seth

Anonymous
superhero boardgame, how?

IngredientX mentioned Strange Synergy - my group plays that game quite often. It has hundreds of powers, each represented by a card. Cards are selected randomly at the start of the game, 5 per character, and the player gets to choose his fav 3 (at least, thats how we play it). All of the powers are pretty simple, but keep a super-powered flavor in the game very well. You should definately check out this game if you want to do your own supers game. Or if you just want a fun game to play.

Since playing it, I've thought of how to do a super hero game myself, that is not so close to a wargame but I really haven't thought that much about it. I just put the idea at the bottom of my list for future use. Keep us posted on how things go with your ideas!

phpbbadmin
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Yep

bitraven wrote:
IngredientX mentioned Strange Synergy - my group plays that game quite often. It has hundreds of powers, each represented by a card. Cards are selected randomly at the start of the game, 5 per character, and the player gets to choose his fav 3 (at least, thats how we play it). All of the powers are pretty simple, but keep a super-powered flavor in the game very well. You should definately check out this game if you want to do your own supers game. Or if you just want a fun game to play.

Since playing it, I've thought of how to do a super hero game myself, that is not so close to a wargame but I really haven't thought that much about it. I just put the idea at the bottom of my list for future use. Keep us posted on how things go with your ideas!

I've always wanted to make a superhero board game as well. However, with all the features that I would want to stuff into it, I'm afraid it would turn into a RPG, or at best, a War / miniatures game.

My wish list for a superhero board game:

- Carry your 'character' from game to game (Here is where the RPG aspect rears it's ugly head).
- Cool landscape/map features. Players should be able to manipulate their environment (pick up cars, wield light posts, throw post boxes, etc).
- Variable campaigns... Perhaps at the beginning of each game a random campaign is drawn. Or the players could choose the campaign. I think such a game could easily be both cooperative and competitive. I.E. Players play against a 'game controlled' enemy/conflict or some players play supervillians and some play superheroes, or some mix of the above.
- Drafting powers... I.E. Players could bid for powers, like one offense, one defense, one utility and one 'special' power. At the beginning of the game you could be given a certain # of bid tokens with which to buy the available powers..

That's all I have off the top of my head. Since playing Marvel Super Heroes and Villians and Vigilantes as a kid, I've always wanted to have a fun superhero board game. I think it's a void that needs to be filled in the board gaming market (which may have been filled by Strange Synergy, not sure since I havent played it).

At any rate, good luck with your fascinating project!
-Darke

Anonymous
superhero boardgame, how?

I don't want to make the game a 'heroquest' type of game because we have Heroclix for that really (which is what the game would really become). Not unless there is a good way fo doing it.

I did have an odd idea while out meandering, similar to Warcraft boardgame where plaeyrs played factions (for example 'Batcave' and 'Lexcorp'). Instead of worker units you have police (batcave) and hoodlums (lexcorp); each harvest resources from either solving (batcave) crime or commiting it (lexcorp). These resources pay for a variety of units, most noticably the hero character or characters (batman, robin, batgirl etc - right down to things like super police officers, bat sentries and whatnot).

Anonymous
Re: Yep

Darkehorse wrote:

- Carry your 'character' from game to game (Here is where the RPG aspect rears it's ugly head).

Very interesting idea for a board game ... are there any other board games where you keep characters beyond a single game? Not counting miniatures wargames and RPGs of course ... It kind of reminds me of that old Commodore game, Mail Order Monsters, where each player had their own creature that they built up over time. I've often fantasized about turning that into a board game of some sort.
Darkehorse wrote:

- Variable campaigns... Perhaps at the beginning of each game a random campaign is drawn. Or the players could choose the campaign. I think such a game could easily be both cooperative and competitive. I.E. Players play against a 'game controlled' enemy/conflict or some players play supervillians and some play superheroes, or some mix of the above.

Now you are definately getting close to RPGs. The one I like right now is Mutants and Masterminds :)
Darkehorse wrote:

- Drafting powers... I.E. Players could bid for powers, like one offense, one defense, one utility and one 'special' power. At the beginning of the game you could be given a certain # of bid tokens with which to buy the available powers..

I like the idea of bidding for powers a lot. Reminds me of the old Amber Diceless RPG. This would be an interesting mechanic to use in a game, not necessarily a Super powered one either ...
Darkehorse wrote:

I think it's a void that needs to be filled in the board gaming market (which may have been filled by Strange Synergy, not sure since I havent played it).

One or two games cannot fill a void :) Strange Synergy is more of a wargame than a board game in my mind, because of the subject matter, but I don't know if you could do a supers game without it looking like a wargame. Heroclix is the same way, plus it uses the evil 'collectible' gimmic too. I can't seem to get my mind off of super heros now though, so maybe I need to spend some time pondering the idea of a supers board/card game myself.

The first question I need to try to answer: What kind of mechanisms would allow for a super-heroy type board game that does not feel too much like a miniatures wargame?

hpox
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Re: Yep

bitraven wrote:
Darkehorse wrote:

- Carry your 'character' from game to game (Here is where the RPG aspect rears it's ugly head).

Very interesting idea for a board game ... are there any other board games where you keep characters beyond a single game?

There's Hero Quest

ensor
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superhero boardgame, how?

just found "These games are Comical" over at boardgamegeek, for some further superhero inspiration.

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listid=2908

Anonymous
superhero boardgame, how?

Well this is my first post here :-). You can blame Jim at paperworlds.com when you all begin to hate me with the hate of a million demons :-p

-Board
-Characters
-Playing the game
-Want insperation?

-Board
Well you can go one of two routes imho. The first one is to design the game board yourself. Consisting of what ever form of movement that you would like; for example a grid or a hex. Although I find that a grid may be easier for a game like this. The second way that I can think of at 1 AM is that you can design pieces of the game board. These are modules which can be stuck together.

-Characters
A couple ways that you can do this, and there is no right or wrong way to do these thigns in my opionion!! One way; if you do not want characters to come and go inbetween games, aka absolutly no leveling up or anything of this sort. Then allow players to generate characters before the game. This won't give it depth in a manner. Instead it will definatly make players adopt and have a bit of replayability (again my opionion)

You could make a chart or 2 or 3 dunno.
1 Flies
2 Cold Ray
3 Freeze
....

Something of this sort.

The second method that I can think of atm; you can have your players generate one character and have them level up as they fight. Sort of like an arena style combat between super heroes. I see Roleplaying as your character has roleplaying statistics like; "Falls in love" and stuff of this sort. So my defination may be far differnt from what yours is.

-Playing the game...

Have players move on the board, maybe you can have them randomly generate how far they can move in one turn. The gameplay machics of super hero games always seem to be based around what kind of powers you put in to the game. So alot of it will be writing the super hero powers and the such. (If you want it to be arcadish figure out a quick dice system or how ever u want to figure it out (OR maybe a spinner! :-p))

-Inspiration
Its not a board game, but if u want take a look at the best super hero game that I know of; "Freedom Force"

Hope it helps a little!
-Evilnames

Anonymous
Right up my alley

Well superhero games are right up my alley as it turns out.
Just got done making my first game of this sort.
Much like Evilnames I've been at paperworlds a lot and my concept evolved into more RPG-like where you have portability between games and the player designed the powers and abilities..

Looking at what you want I was reminded of the game of "Life".

You might be able to do a racetrack through city streets style game and spaces along the board force a draw from a foe or event deck or collect super powers to use etc.

Your heros collect good deeds along the way and maybe lose points for failing missions.
You race along to a finish line of some sort (the Hall of the Super Best Friends) and the one with the most deeds wins.

Ed

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