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"The Desperate Struggle"

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Joined: 09/07/2012

Hi all,

I thought I'll share some ideas I have been toying with in "The Desperate Struggle" (working title) - my first game design attempt.

The game is set in scifi-fantasy world, where different races (humans, orcs, etc.) co-exist in a scifi setting. The integration of machinery and flesh is taken to a high level - in effect everyone is a cyborg. However, some magic still remains in the world.

The main bad guy has released a virus that has turned all the poor humans, orcs, etc. into mindless pawns. The heroes have to fight through enemy hordes to stop the main villain before it is too late.

The inspiration for the design comes from a couple of things:
- We (my fiancee and I) really like co-operative games - hence, this game is also co-operative (altought I think some rule variants would allow competitive play)
- We liked Gears of War boardgame a lot. However, it lacked character progression, which is one of our favorite mechanics in other games (such as Mage Knight). Also, it didn't really have tie-in between different scenarios (no campaing play).
- The fact that there can only be so many predefined enemies in this kind of game decreases replay value over time
- I wanted that the players feel a kind of pressure to constantly move forward, as in Pandemia

The current design tries to tackle these issues mentioned above by using the following mechanics:
- Hero stats presented as cards. Heroes are presented as 5 cards (head, torso, arms, legs and weapon) called "parts". Each card type has 2 different stats.
- Enemies presented as cards. The enemies are presented by the same cards as the Heroes, but to keep things simple, they use only 1 stat per card type. This allows for variability in the enemies.
- Enemies = Loot. Because enemies are presented by the same cards as the Heroes, enemies become loot that upgrade the Heroes. For example, when you kill an enemy you may salvage its "arms" part and use it to replace the arms of your Hero (you can do this because both Heroes and enemies are cybernetic, remember :).
- Loot = Levelling. There isn't traditional levelling up. Instead, your Hero becomes stronger by using new parts salvaged from the defeated enemies.
- Enemy-driven advancement. Instead of levelling up the Heroes and changing the enemies accordingly, the enemies "level up" (ie. they are constructed from more advanced parts). The Heroes try to keep up by killing the enemies and salvaging new parts for use.
- Dice- and card-based combat. The dice is used to determine hits, while damage is dictated by used weapon. The cards (called "programs") are used to alter damage, to-hit probabilities etc. The use of programs is limited, so their use has some tactical weight. The programs are actually same cards as the parts, so they also are gained by looting.

Current state
I have done a few playtests already. The combat mechanics need to be streamlined a bit, as well as enemy AI. However, I feel that the aforementioned aspects are ones that I would like to keep for now.

Any toughts?

Joined: 11/13/2012
I've been thinking about

I've been thinking about this.

Have you thought about adding a humanity rating to this game?
Give it an over-all feel like, even though you are required to upgrade and such to survive and perform, you pick away at your own humanity making yourself more robotic. So there could be things that you could only do or such when you're at a level of humanity and others that you could only have with the robotics.

It could add an, im just trying to hold on to my human side.

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