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Board Game based on the Novel Frankenstein

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Joined: 01/06/2011

I believe this site is mainly for professional/enthusiast game designers, but I'm doing this for a school assignment (Gr.11). Our group has to make a board game based on the novel Frankenstein. I thought about doing something similar to Life. Since the characters in book change from good to bad according to their past decisions, it might involve multiple routes of different levels of evilness. It doesn't have to be as complex as many of the games I've read on this forum but something fun and attractive. We'll be making by hand using different materials from the art department. Any suggestions would be extremely helpful. Thanks!

rcjames14's picture
Joined: 09/17/2010
Body Parts

Here are some examples of games which have been publish about Frankenstein:

Frankenstein (2005)
Frankenstein's Children (2005)
Escape from Frankenstein (1991)

None of them appear to have sold very well on the market... so there is probably still room for a GOOD game about Frankenstein. However, you are probably going to run into resistance from any layman if you try to design a game about the story of Frankenstein. Some people understand the story as a much larger metaphor of the conflict between man and man's creations, and a steady progression towards 'evil' as a result of 'good' intentions. But, almost everyone associates the story with the creature that is created.

As a result, I would push you towards a design in which the accumulation of body parts is a key element of the game. Depending upon the message you want to send, the players could take on the role of Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory assistances or his enemies.

(Version 1) In the assistant version, everyone plays a version of Igor in a scramble with each other to accumulate body parts for the favor of Dr. Frankenstein. In this case, different body parts may have different point values and the game ends once he is assembled. But, the difficulty of the game comes from the process of accumulation and the various different (unsavory) tasks that Frankenstain's assistants have to perform in order to realize his vision.

(Version 2) On the other hand, the players could instead play on the side of 'good,' cooperating to try stop Frankenstein before he completes his monstrosity. In this case, there may be one 'traitor' who is secretly working for Frankenstein, but everyone else would collectively win if the players manage to rise the townspeople to action before the monster comes to life. In this design, players are tracking the evidence of seemingly random crimes in order to piece together a picture of who is behind it. If the player's can discover the culprit before the monster is created they win.

(Version 3) You can also imagine a hybrid of the two models where the majority of the players are working for Frankenstein and one player plays the 'detective'. This would be similar to version 2 insofar as it is basically a cooperative game, but in this case the burden of difficulty would shift over to the assistants. They would have to figure out a way to keep their plans secret from the detective and yet work together before the townspeople rise. So... time would be on the side of the solitary player and everyone would know who the solitary player is. Perhaps, in this version, each assistance might be able to be stopped by the detective if his identity is discovered and there are a variety of 'evil' actions which leave behind clues.

As I see, Version 1 could be constructed with or without a board, cards and a variety of unique tokens which are either flat cardboard or sculpted. It might actually be cool if the body parts had a 3D component to them. Versions 2 and 3 would not need any original 3D elements. If there are tokens in the game, they would probably be all similar (to represent the townsfolk), so you could use any similar object like small wooden cubes, dice, glass beads, coffee beans, whatever. Version 2 and version 3 would likely use a lot of cards (for triggered events) and involve a somewhat complicated board.

In all these versions, I believe games like Scotland Yard, Clue and Shadows Over Camelot are a better inspiration than Life.

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