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Brainstorming stage: Archaeology game (in the Indiana Jones or Sims 3 World Adventures sense)

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Yenreb's picture
Joined: 06/01/2012

I am brainstorming a game themed around exploring/excavating ruins, catacombs, etc. for lost treasure, and I'm not sure which direction to take it. Here's what I'm thinking about:

Several mechanics are on my mind. The most obvious is a tile-laying "exploration" aspect, similar to Betrayal at House on the Hill, except perhaps with multiple sites. Next, it occurred to me to have "challenges" (i.e. traps) in the exploration — this mechanic would be similar to the pet needs mechanic of Dungeon Petz. If both of these mechanics were used together, the challenges would likely be marked on the tiles (but see below?).

Third, I enjoy worker placement/management, and I wonder if this could be used here. Perhaps exploration itself is performed by workers, but there would need to be other things for workers to do — collecting resources needed to deal with challenges, perhaps, or should there be a trading system? I like dynamic scoring, like Science in 7 Wonders or the cards in Stone Age — perhaps there are treasures that compound for scoring — hence the incentive to trade. But trading may introduce a political element to the game, and I'm not sure if I want that.

Finally, I have recently become immersed in deck-building games — I might wish to incorporate a deck-building component to the game. Perhaps treasures and some solutions to challenges are held in the deck — or perhaps, whereas needs are held in a hand of constant size in Dungeon Petz, the challenges in this game could themselves be the deck of cards players deal with. Acquiring cards would certainly be a possible use of workers.

Obviously, this game is still very much in the planning stage. Any ideas others have would be appreciated (mechanics I have overlooked, mechanics that obviously shouldn't be used together, other directions the game could go, etc.).

Yenreb's picture
Joined: 06/01/2012

I've decided to make the each player's deck the methods they can use to surmount various challenges, together with the tools necessary to execute these methods. For example, a fire trap could be disarmed, doused with water, leaped through, dug under or around, etc. Not every fire trap will be conducive to each of these methods (a fire trap at the base of a wall needing to be climbed will be difficult to leap through, and a fire trap blocking access to a bridge can't really be dug around) — hence the variance in the methods available in a player's hand at any given time.

When encountering a challenge, a player will gain a card of that type — a method of dealing with that type of challenge — and then be able to play a method from hand. Depending on the method, the player will also need the tools, resources, etc. to execute the method. Gaining a new card gives more options for dealing with that type of challenge in the future, which represents the archaeologist's experience with that type of challenge.

(If a player encounters a challenge for which they have no methods in hand, this represents the character being at a loss for how to pass the room.)


Joined: 10/13/2011
First Thoughts

Hi Yenreb,

This sounds like an ambitious design! I like your exploration / challenge idea and was thinking you might have some luck by keeping them separate.

Perhaps each player could control 2 teams; an exploration team of expendable workers and a challenge team that has the tools and equipment to overcome traps and loot treasure. The exploration team is somehow uncovering new tiles, rooms, locations, etc. and will occasionally encounter a challenge; in some cases these challenges might kill your workers (oops! so that's how the fire trap works!) or perhaps they will make a sudden breakthrough an uncover multiple rooms at once. Workers aren't equipped to handle challenges so the "challenge team" moves in behind the workers and works to overcome the challenges with the equipment. This would allow your challenge team to build a deck designed to deal with different traps, etc. and would also give you the chance to have worker placement and resource management.

Just some bare bones thoughts here - good luck with your design!

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