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Boardgame based on DotA

13 replies [Last post]
Joined: 02/22/2010

Hi guys

I setup a goal of creating a boardgame based on DotA, popular Warcraft III mod. Looking for some feedback and thoughts.

Some challenges to tackle
- game board (hexes?)
- controlling creeps
- fog of war
- turn dynamics (movement and combat)

Joined: 07/24/2009
Creep rules

What kind of movement rules will you have for the creeps? You'll have to watch out and make sure the players aren't doing too much "automated" stuff between their turns.

A hex grid seems ideal for this, and have special tower "zones" that the creeps have to go through. The creep paths should probably be printed directly on the board, also. The creeps don't have to follow it exactly, but travel along the path within one or two tiles, heading directly towards whatever their next tower zone is. Then, they stop to fight anything that is on the path, including towers.

Nix_'s picture
Joined: 09/23/2009
As I remember Warcraft 3 the

As I remember Warcraft 3 the creeps don't really move much at all, they just kind of venture out from theri hang out spot when you get too close. Building and the like should be intersting, but either you will have a lot of hexes or multiple buildings will be built on each spot. How do you plan on implementing resources like gold or wood?

Joined: 07/24/2009

Defense of the Ancients is a team-based mod to Warcraft 3 where regular groups of creeps spawn and immediately path towards the other team's home base. There are three paths the creeps take, each with mini-bases filled with towers.

Each of the players controls a single hero and has to fight opposing creeps for money and experience, and they help their creeps get to the opposing towers to defeat them, and finally, their home base. You also fight the opposing heroes, especially once you are stronger from fighting enough creeps to gain levels.

You don't harvest resources or make buildings like in traditional Warcraft - it's all about hero management and making sure opposing creeps don't make it into your base.

hoywolf's picture
Joined: 01/27/2009

I'm, very familiar with DotA, I actually tried to play it competitively in college.

The idea is pretty good, have you seen the wow-mini game? Its got a hex based board, you could sometime like that for your main map, as the map is always the same. Your map can have a path for the creeps to walk on.

then i guess you have a deck of cards, which represent the heroes each with their own abilities. You can then have a deck with equipment which you can buy from. I'd probably put exp and gold as the same resource to simplify things, you can go to the base and buy a lvl or more items.

The only hard part is the fog-of-war... You might not be able to simulate, but if you have any ideas Id like to here it.

Overall i feel the concept is good, hope to here more about this. :)

Jpwoo's picture
Joined: 03/26/2009
never played dota, but LoL is

never played dota, but LoL is freaking awesome.

If I were going to make a board game based on it I think I might eliminate creeps all together. Or make very very few of them, like say 1 or 2 in a lane at a time.

I'm not sure I would go hex based either, maybe area movement, so that you could make moving up and down a lane quick, but moving from lane to lane a little slower.

Joined: 02/22/2010
Dota sample game mechanics

It is very difficult to try to achieve dynamics of Dota which is a fast paced action game but some key elements can be captured.

What is so addicting about Dota is team play opportunities, leveling up heroes and feeling the hero grow and chance to turn the tide and win a nearly lost game.

My current design consists of having just one lane along which the towers are laid. Each tower position is a place where action takes place, and also between every two towers we have one more action space.

. (start)

Game mechanics:

- Heroes on both sides start in the center place, between the two middle towers. They are accompanied with their 5 creeps on each side

- Each turn players play their action facedown which can be to hit enemy hero, creeps or tower, fall back, or return to base

- Creeps always hit enemy creeps, then tower then heroes. Tower always hits creeps then heroes.

- Dice is used to determine hits. Creeps are hit on dice roll of 4+, tower on 5+, heroes on 6+. Creeps 'have' one combat dice, towers two and heroes depending on abilities (by default two).

- Each hero has 4 wounds, tower has 5, creeps 1

- One round lasts until creeps are dead, in that case if there are no enemy heroes or tower the action progresses to next step toward the enemy. If there are enemy heroes/tower present and neither side choses to fall back then they exchange hits for one more round after which 5 new creeps are summoned. If there is a tower players need to destroy it before moving on.

- Players can chose to fall back and wait for enemy advancement or retreat to base to heal up/buy improvements in which case they lose two rounds. When a player dies he misses two combat rounds of action.

- Heroes: can be ranged, melee and spellcaster and based on that default skills are given (number of dices to throw and modifiers).

- Heroes can buy improvements (these are equivalent of weapons and skills). For example splash damage (hit other creeps on 6+)

- Heroes earn improvements if present in the round when a tower or hero has been killed

This is what I've been toying around in my head so far.

Joined: 02/16/2010
how fun

So then, lets make this wonderfully easy.

The warcraft three AI is based on a simple command. All units spawning in area X or ordered to Attack-Move to player base.

Board game translation, Creep move either a set value or Rand value such as D6. I recommend a set value as this cuts down your players haveing to roll a crack ton. Second you can establish an aggro range pretty simply and most likely just exactly the way your thinking.

Creep comes within 3 of target, creep pursues or charges target, if creep engages target, creep will not break from target. If creep is attacked before it has engaged target (its on pursue target at this point) creep will persue attacker as though it was successfully engaged.

So creep bob runs around a corner...he sees fred and gives chase. Freds friend Neil shoots creep bob in the back. To protect the system from aggro abuse Neil is now his permanent target.

My only concern would would be ensureing that targets of creeps and the creeps themselves could be marked to show aggro. IE marking Neil to show that one of potentially hundreds of creeps is fully engaged to him.

Thiers lots of interesting ways to solve this of course!

Anywho, goodluck


Joined: 02/07/2009
Heavy or light strategy?

Well, if you don't mind reducing the pure heavy strategy aspect down a notch, you could make the game board consist of divided areas. Heroes in the same area can interact with each other and the consecuenses would be resolved by some sort of simple mechanic. My suggestion would be: Every hero has a set of cards, all players use action points to play cards on their turn and theyre resolved at the same time. Cards could be skills, attacks, last hits denies or other important aspects of DotA gameplay.

Making creeps physically into the game would dramatically increase the downtime between turns and also add a huge cost to the game especially if the components we're plastic, and cardboard is just plain boring. Id suggest that since creeps spawn all the time you'd simply create a indicator for the creep line, i.e. where the creeps fight each other. Creep aggro could be simulated with a simple set damage you take if you aggro the creeps. Last hitting and denying could move the creep wave backwards and forwards in the lane and naturally when a creep line reaches a tower it is pushed back. This could also deal a little damage on the furthermost towers that sometimes are pushed down by creeps alone.

Fog of War is a tough one, but it could be generated with a simple turn order mechanic. Team who starts the turn can take actions as long as those actions are not seen by any enemy heroes (thus they cannot react to them), if an enemy hero spots your action such as movement or teleport or useage of spell, they get to react with their action and then the turn returns to the other team. This would go on until all the action points of the starting team are used and then the other team gets the starting turn. Get the idea? Wards could be really effective in this kind of mechanic as you would almost always be able to react when an enemy does movement.

Just an example to make this more understandible:

Sentinel begins

Zeus in middle starts by playing a card face down, while in the LOS of Nevermore. Nevermore reacts by playing a card face down. Cards are revealed, players pay the action points required and the cards are resolved. Zeus played Lightning Bolt while Nevermore played Last Hit. Nevermore takes X amount of damage and recieves gold and exp.

In the top lane Vengeful Spirit plays down a card, Lina responses by playing down one of her own. Cards revealed, Vengeful played Movement and Lina played Dragon Spirit. Vengedul Spirits card has smaller number so it happens first and Linas spell misses. Vengeful moves down the river, this spotted by a ward, Nevermore responses by playing movement and backs behind his tower.

At least this would be FOW-like mechanic but lets face it, its a board game, and board games tend to be a bit more simple than computer games. Anyways I'd be more than delighted to help with the ideas or prototypes and such.

R1773R's picture
Joined: 03/18/2010
Why a board?

If I was making a game based on DotA, I would consider making it a card game with possibly some pieces...

Just a thought :)

Joined: 10/03/2008
wow. just hopped on after

wow. just hopped on after months of not browsing and was interested to see this. we actually just made a dota based boardgame. im interested to see what you do though.

one of the biggest things we had to overcome was stealth units, ganking, and fog of war.

Joined: 02/07/2009
had to? So you managed to

had to? So you managed to come up with a mechanic? Could u share it, Im not making a DotA game but just interesd in FOW mechanics in boardgames in general

Joined: 01/27/2011
This seems like a popular

This seems like a popular concept, it's one that I'm also very interested in designing for. I think you'd really have to drop stealth and fog of war though, they don't exactly translate to board.

Perhaps we could help each other out (those developing DOTA styled games) and play test for each other etc.

Jonas Solberg
Joined: 08/29/2011
Creating Dota /MOBA Board Game


I really love a lot of your ideas heppu.

I want to design a dota board game too.

Some of the Goals I want to achieve in the game:

1. The game is Very interactive
2. The game does not have much randomness to it.
3. Highly customisable heros
4. Each Hero has a distintivly different play style.
5. The combat mechanic is the main focus of the game.

It is a hexed based board game, with areas for the base, lanes, jungle, river and towers.

Heros are represented by game pieces.

I really like the idead of cards are played to perform all the actions in the game like moving, attacking, using skills.

Cards will be played simultanously and have a rock paper sissors effect. possibly a "WAR" mechanic in the game

Experience is gained from killing heroes, and being in the same area as the creepwave.

Keep track of experience and gold with tokens, and buy the item cards with gold and the skill cards with experience.

The creep wave is a single game piece in the middle of the lane that moves towards the other teams tower if you attack it.
If the creep wave is in the game square as a tower, the tower takes damage and the creep wave moves away from the tower.

I am willing to help out with other peoples Dota boardgames, send me a message and we can collaborate.

I was thinking that FOG of War and Ganking and stealth could be done by, Playing your actions cards face down and not revealing them to the other players untill a time as you choose to reveal them or when your are requiered to reveal them visible to enemy hero or attack a hero, the location of your hero and that of stealth heroes could be kept track of by writing secretly on a pad of paper/private map.

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