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Path-building game with dungeon corridors, rooms and scenarios

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Drahcir
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Joined: 03/16/2017

Hi,

I've only recently joined here so I apologise for any naive questions! I'm also not as clued-up on modern board games as I probably should be, so if people read what's below and say I should look at games X, Y and Z then that's fine with me!

A summary first of where I am at the moment:

I'm currently working on a board game idea which involves what I believe is generally called a 'path-building' mechanic, where you lay down (what I'm calling) square location tiles that have simple N, S, E or W exits (or combinations of...). The overall game concept is a cooperative rather than competitive experience, set in a dungeon with potentially multiple dungeon levels per game. The overriding theme is one of 'team building' and the design is aimed at early teens.

I'm not anticipating the game will feature much combat. The players will have various statistics and their strength can be reduced if they get hurt by traps and so on, but they aren't likely to have any direct combat with other creatures or characters, but if they do it will not be a frequent event. The main aim of the game is logic and puzzle solving. In that respect, it's more like a board game version of a text adventure, where brains are preferred to brawn most of the time.

I'm planning on having various cards for different things - Characters, Items, Treasures, Traps, Spells and so on. How many moves each player can perform in their turn will be based upon a stat rather than a dice roll. I'm torn between going with an empty game board 'grid' (to lay the location tiles on) or not going with a board at all. I'd also like the player's starting positions to be flexible, so sometimes they start together and sometimes they are split into different areas. In the latter, I'm assuming you'd need a board to define the outer boundaries of the 'level' so you could place the starting positions in each corner of the board's grid if those starting locations were movable tiles themselves.

That's enough of my brain-dump for now. Here's my current dilemma; how to populate the game with adventure-like puzzles, traps and so on for (most) locations but achieve this through card decks that allow the game to be different each time you play. In text adventures, a puzzle is solved by using an item collected many locations away. What type of mechanic in a board game would cater for that, where neither the puzzle nor the item(s) needed to solve it are guaranteed to be available during play?

I'm aware that some games use 'scenarios' (where you look up on a matrix of some kind) but that feels more like a 'choose your own path' type experience than a board game. I'd really like the game to use random cards as much as possible to assemble the traps, puzzles and encounters. How do other games achieve this?

Thanks in advance!

mcobb83
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Joined: 06/07/2016
Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill would be a good game for you to look into. It does a lot of what you are talking about.

Drahcir
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Joined: 03/16/2017
Betrayal at House on the Hill

Ok, thanks for the idea. I'll have a peek at that and see how they do things. Are there any others?

mcobb83
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Joined: 06/07/2016
Probably, but I can't think

Probably, but I can't think of any. You may want to look into things like tile laying games, as it seems that tile laying is a key mechanic in your concept.

Gabe
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Joined: 09/11/2014
I think "Dungeon Run" does

I think "Dungeon Run" does pretty much exactly what you're talking about:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsFOHKkWkL8

Drahcir
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Joined: 03/16/2017
Dungeon Run

Hi,

Thanks for that. Yes, there are certainly parts of that game that hit the spot. I'm looking at less combat, but elements of the game mechanics are indeed quite similar to what I'm planning to do! :-)

Willem Verheij
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Joined: 06/08/2016
Maybe you could present it

Maybe you could present it more like a maze for rogues and such? the ultimate test of their skills? That way it would also mean people would not expect much combat from it.

It could still allow for many characters to head in, but might straight away allow for a little different characters than usual.

No noble paladin, brute barbarian or heroic warriors, but there could still be a burly thug or such to serve as the muscle. But it would make for a very different character.

You could give it more of a criminal underworld vibe, with all kinds of shady people drawn to the grant rewards that running through this gauntlet might bring.

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
Rogues

Willem's idea of a rogue-centric game sounds like a good differentiator. And the dungeon is randomly generated, so it's "rogue-like" as well.

One advantage of this style is that roguish sorts are well-adapted to getting around how things are supposed to work. That is, it makes perfect sense for a puzzle to have a "right" way and a "rogue" way to solve it (Do you have the Ring of Keys item, or a skill roll with a Lockpick item? Do you have a Ladder item, or a pure skill roll to scale the wall?)

Drahcir
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Joined: 03/16/2017
Rogues

Ah, now that does sound like an interesting idea. I will indeed do a little more research into the world of the rogue. That could help me to give the game something to wrap around.

Willem Verheij
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In case you need some ideas

In case you need some ideas for character classes in this theme:

-Thief.
Good at lockpicking and getting items through pickpocketing, descent at agility tests too.

-Gypsy.
Exellent at agility tests, and could have small magic ability as well which could be whatever would allow the gypsy to do something that other's can't do.

-Assasin.
Pretty much good at stealth and murder. Would be very cunning too and might know something about poisons too.

-Thug.
As mentioned earlier, a tough guy who could be good at anything that requires physical strenght. They can smash stuff and are tough. Great meatshield but not very smart.

-Rogue.
Could be a bit of a jack of all trades. descent at sneaking and combat, maybe some persuasion or bluffing abilities too.
Could be a good beginner's character with no real weaknesses or strenghts.

-Smuggler.
While others might be good at hiding themselves, the smuggler is great at hiding and transporting objects around. If there's a store or such in the gameplay the smuggler could be able to sell items for extra profit.

-con artist.
This one would be great at bluffing, persuasion, charming and anything else with talking. It's a smooth talker.

-Graverobber.
This one would be going into that dungeon with a shovel and does not fear the (un)dead. They could get additional rewards from corpse looting possibly.

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
More ideas

Willem Verheij wrote:

-Thief...

-Gypsy...

-Assasin...

-Thug...

-Rogue...

-Smuggler...

-Con Artist...

-Graverobber...


Good suggestions, though I would nix the Gypsy since it is a real-world ethnic group. I would also add:

Cat-Burglar.
The expert at getting over, under, around and through obstacles. Not as good a lockpicker as a Thief, but excels at climbing over things, contorting through tight openings, avoiding traps, and escaping the traps not quite avoided. (Takes the acrobat role from the original Gypsy.)

Charlatan.
Has no magical powers whatsoever, though you wouldn't know it to watch him/her drive off a beast with flash-paper or sell cure-all potions to rubes at the town square. Where the Con Artist makes the victim think they're in control, the Charlatan tricks the victim into feeling helpless.

Knave.
A wealthy person who deals with the shadier elements of society by choice rather than necessity. Better in a stand-up fight (swordplay for dueling) and probably better equipped to start, but accustomed to hiring thieving skills rather than performing them.

Soothsayer.
A practitioner in the low end of magic who is an expert in charms and talismans and herbs and divination. Formidable when properly prepared, virtually helpless when caught flat-footed. Might be allowed to peek at the next card in the deck, reshuffling if he/she decides not to take that action. (Takes the magic role from the original Gypsy.)

ssm
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Joined: 04/06/2017
Limit size

If you are going with tile laying, you may still want a board or play field, or really put a lot of time into how the tiles will lay. If you don't limit the size of the play area it could spin out of control. I grabbed a random tile laying game at the local shop awhile back and started to run through it alone; it quickly grew out of control and I ran out of tiles to place.

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