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Let's go to hell!

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chris_mancini's picture
Joined: 05/01/2015

I have a rather ambitious new game idea which is just a few pages of notes at the moment. I thought it might be a perfect idea to bring to the community, as it offers a ton of ways to take it and interpret the base literature.

The game is called Inferno.

Yes, that Inferno...the one Dante so vividly brought to life. It's been a favorite piece of mine since grade school (Catholic school...yeah) and my latest goal is to design a gaming experience which places the players in Limbo, then has them progress through the 9 circles of hell to meet Ol' Scratch, defeat him and make it out before the infernal gates close forever!

The game should probably be a brutal experience and very difficult to Ghost Stories. When players do win, I want them to feel like they just made it through hell to do so!

Each circle can be it's own sub-experience, woven together through the tapestry of story. I thought that each level could feature a unique mechanic:

1 - Limbo - ??
2 - Lust - Trick-taking
3 - Gluttony - Area control
4 - Greed - Push your luck
5 - Anger - ??
6 - Heresy - ??
7 - Violence - Player elimination
8 - Fraud - Bluffing
9 - Treachery - Take that

This could get really messy if not done with care and attention to the game in its entirety, but as I'm just at the brain-dump stage of design, it feels interesting to explore.

Other ideas I had were:
Role-based play like Pandemic: Dante, Virgil, Beatrice, Nessus, Farinata, Lucifer, etc. (one player plays against the others, controlling the minions of hell).

Shadows Over Camelot role selection and traitor play. Actually, there's a lot in SOC that could be derived for a game like this...

Rondel wheel of sins mechanic; each sin gives players different abilities/powers, and using them within the circle in which the party currently stands give a boost to that power. Players track sins and must "repent" to prevent taking too much "sin," to some negative effect.

Board of concentric circles/levels.

Concentric board with rotating circles; hell is always shifting against the players (HUGE board!)

Sin deck and virtue deck...players can choose which to draw from. Sins strengthen you in the short term, but virtues will speed your travel and help the group at large. Players can't take too much sin or they'll have a tougher time making it out of the Inferno!

Meet characters along the way and damn or absolve them; damning gives the party more power, absolving gives the party more virtue and eases the number of demons they must battle (or some such balancing mechanic).

I've got more thoughts, but I'd like to toss it to you guys to see if anything sparks. This is definitely my next project, as the passion for the source material is there and it's something I'm looking forward to "living" with for a good while as I develop the game.

What do you guys think???

Soulfinger's picture
Joined: 01/06/2015
Not my cup of tea, but as far

Not my cup of tea, but as far as the title goes, Inferno was a fairly recognizable game back in the '90s, there's a Dante's Inferno board game, and then just the term "Inferno" is used ceaselessly in gaming products, most recently with an Arcadia Quest expansion.

chris_mancini's picture
Joined: 05/01/2015
I found a copy of Dante's

I found a copy of Dante's Inferno online, and the game is truly terrible. How they managed to take such a rich story and reduce it to "battle a demon by rolling a d6 number higher than the monster's value" is beyond me. Leaves much to be desired, as if there were a truly great game based on Dante's Inferno out there, I'd not pursue my own. This game is so terrible it's actually inspiring!

Seeing the Arcadia Quest expansion was kind of cool, as it's the cutest trip through hell I've ever seen. While "Inferno" is widely used, considering the root literature, it could still be fine. But that's getting way ahead of myself, as the game's name is the least of my concerns at this early stage.

I love the look of the "3D" Inferno game, with the towers you build and play on. I haven't been able to find a copy of that though...the towers may be an expansion as I can only find what looks to be the base game.

ren's picture
Joined: 03/27/2015
Fascinating idea...

I really like this idea, however I wonder about how compressed/rushed/thin it may seem if trying to fit it into a board game. Actually, now that I type that and imagine a couple hours, I think it could work. But as you said, there is such a rich story to work with. The big question would be how to convey that while still creating a challenging romp through hell, and within an amount of time that would be enjoyable to play. Or make it serial.

The possibilities are pretty exciting, though. I really find the idea of varying types of challenges fascinating. I enjoy not being allowed to get comfortable in a game, where I'm kept on my toes and things change.

Squinshee's picture
Joined: 10/17/2012
This could be an interesting

This could be an interesting Legacy game...

The Professor
The Professor's picture
Joined: 10/25/2014
Just curious...

Have you seen The Others: 7 Sins by CoolMiniOrNot Games?

chris_mancini's picture
Joined: 05/01/2015
I have seen this...I like how

I have seen this...I like how it takes the concept of the 7 deadly sins and anthropomorphizes them, and the art is beyond amazing. Plus it's by Eric, yeah. While I have yet to play it, it certainly looks like an epic game.

The Corruption mechanic is particularly interesting, as I've been playing with a similar struggle of balancing sin and virtue, granting advantage to both, and requiring both to play successfully.

I want to get my hands on this one!!

Joined: 03/02/2016
I really enjoyed the concept,

I really enjoyed the concept, and I have to agree with Squinshee, it could be an interesting Legacy game. Mainly because I like the idea of changing the mechanics according to the circle of hell. I don't know if it would not become quite confusing in a single session. Also, I cannot think of a board that is not concentric circles at this point, with Limbo in the edge and Beelzeboss at center.

There's a topic somewhere about Corruption mechanisms, you could drag something from there. But since you're thinking about characters having to enter and leave, you could work with being corrupt making it easier to access the inner circles, but making it harder to fight the boss and to leave. The most corrupt, the most adapted you are to the environment, but you can't be more corrupt than the Devil itself, and you'll have a hard time to get back on Limbo. So, if a character wants to remain pure, it would be harder for him to reach the center, but he would have advantages on the last combat and when trying to exit. A early-game x late-game strategies conflict.

If you change your mind about different mechanics for each circle, you could think about different abilities being more or less useful on each of them. Willpower could be more useful on the greed/lust/gluttony circles, but it can't save you on the Anger/Violence circles. With nine circles, maybe 3 abilities (each one being strong against 3 circles) could work. Maybe Faith as a fourth ability, to protect you all the time. Idk man, just brainstorming too.

chris_mancini's picture
Joined: 05/01/2015
Corruption is a fascinating

Corruption is a fascinating mechanic, and can really pull the player emotionally into the game.

I'm the same way on the board...I just see a group of concentric circles! I really like the idea of them moving, similar to the Daedalus Sentence board.
If we really dig into the lore however, the last 3 circles are comprised of sub-levels:

Circle 7 contains 3 "rings;" circle 8 contains 10 "bolgia;" circle 9 contains 4 "rounds." Could just be how these larger rings are divided, but it's kind of crazy how deep and expansive the lore goes.

The board could also be a "book," with pages you flip to change the levels as you go. Makes for a smaller play area, and really lets players focus on the level at hand rather than having eyes wander all over the entirety of the Inferno.

As far as the "escape," I'm not sure how this will manifest; having the players go back through each level...seems like a chore after defeating "the boss." Perhaps it's a racing game; a timed event, and the amount of "sin" which players have will determine the time they have to get out? Works well with the notion that each level features its own mechanic...

I like your notion of the early game vs. late game strategy...this could be an incredible mechanic which players must be mindful of the entire length of the game.

Your idea of standard attributes which have different levels of efficacy depending on the circle is also interesting, and could help make the game overall a bit tighter. I'll definitely consider this...

Awesome feedback Opinioso thank very much!

Willem Verheij
Willem Verheij's picture
Joined: 06/08/2016
Limbo could maybe be quite

Limbo could maybe be quite random, very heavy on luck? Maybe it could give a chance of teleporting or such, appearing at an unexpected place?

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
hmmm, if players are given

hmmm, if players are given the chance to get out. Then there should be a way to get out, without a time limit?

Players should be needing to work very very hard to get 1 step further (frustrating mechanics)
Then, it should just be a race perhaps?
Also one, where you need to help the others. But if you get ahead, you can't really be helped for a while.

A "push each other" game. Would better fit the them than a "pull each other" game.

If players don't help others, they should get the impression that they get ahead. But in the end, these players should stay behind instead. (they really belong in hell)

Did that make sense?

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