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Love dungeon keeper 2? You're smart and have time?

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roger's picture
Joined: 02/12/2017

Hi fellow game designers,

I designed a monstrous board game based on dungeon keeper 2. At least 600 page long. Tested in my basement, it works quite well at 3 players but is slow and quite complex. And it is fine because it does all i dreamt it to do.

I need a smarter brain than mine to evaluate and rebalance victory paths. Another point of view. Creative writing is my forte but everything else could be improved. A board game designer would reshuffle the thingy in shape, keeping all good things, just reorganized in order for it to flow better.

Since it is my baby, I will not give up anything i feel is impoverishing the game. I am quite attached to it. I realise the game needs to grow without me but it will be on my terms. Also I have no clue how the game would behave at 16 players. The kind of help i am humbly asking for, on this forum, is not a quick and dirty short feedback. I am looking for a motivated person sharing the same love than me about dungeon crawls and dungeon keeper concepts. Currently, my son (11y.o.) is my helper but he cannot spend too much time on it and is still immature. I need a partner, a smart person willing to throw her/his might, soul and heart, skills and imagination into this project. My long term goal is to have all the mechanics, balance, fun factor, etc. sorted out so that I could make it into my own home hosted website or sell the package to a video game company.

The game is heroic-fantasy but surfs over science-fiction, metaphysics, alchemy, esoterism, astrology, geology, religion, periodic element table, tunnel life, astrophysics, civilisations, optics, mathematics, mechanics, 3-D geometry, Hollow Earth, tech tree, vampirism, dragons, auction, rare earth, radioactivity, traps, A.I....
You recruit underground minion creatures, send them mining, exploring, fighting. They need stuff from time to time. There are quests. There are good guys on the surface. Hundred of Gear cards. Very thematic creatures with original talents, highly creative content.
It is an all-out romp on dungeon crawl "a la Descent" board game type. I think it is a "baroque" style of development needing tweaks. It is emcompassing so many things that I think only genius could play it. I think it should be marketed like that. It seems to end around the turn 80. I am slowly making tutorials. Overwhelmed...


Rick L
Rick L's picture
Joined: 08/22/2016
Sounds like something I

Sounds like something I might've tried out in my single years lol.

So 600 pages of what, rules? Story, or adventure scenarios?

roger's picture
Joined: 02/12/2017
600 p is only the rules, gear

600 p is only the rules, gear cards. There is no story or scenario. It is somewhat free form. But there are 25 good and 25 evil quests, like:
Evil Quest card: Joke . 05
Rob the fur bear skin carpet from the trapper. Replace it with a drawing in chalk of a laughing bear. It is worn as a coat on a burglar. Once dropped on the ground of a flagged Dungeon Tunnel, it can be fixed to act as a Lair of any furry creature (i.e. no Slime, Golem, Mummy…).
Evil Quest card: Barn Burger . 06
Capture from 1 to 5 cow(s). They must be pulled with rope by a walking burglar. Accompany them to your Larder to get 50 chosen food a piece anytime, in one food drop (it will probably overlap the limit of 1 layer, so bring an Imp to keep the left-over).
Evil Quest card: Unholy Water . 08
Send Evil Creatures to spit in the Holy water tank of the village temple. It cancels the healing and bless token effect of the temple, except for the Adventurers you control. It can only be cleant like a Desecretion mark (Holy Water, Holy Glyph…).
Evil Quest card: Jail Break . 09
Release the 3 prisoners (3 Rogues) with an amorphous or gaseous creature of yours. They join you but start Lairless.
Summoning Lab
Evil Quest card: Scrolls . 10
Send non-amorphous non-gaseous creatures to rob up to 3 scrolls, each occupying a Belt slot. Each scroll requires 1 turn to pack. Bring them back to your Magic Circle. Each grants the 3 Spell track markers to move up by 1 more Level of magic research on the Spell track. For each scroll, move the 3 pins at the first space of the next level.
Evil Quest card: Portal . 13
Send 3 dungeon researchers, like Warlocks, one on each blue circle. They cast a collective spell and lose 1 LP each: open a permanent two-way teleportation gate to your magic circles. Only your controlled creatures can go through. Every t10, pay 3 Mana to maintain open the portal.
House Alice
Evil Quest card: apple pie . 14
Send an Evil creature or a Rogue to poison the freshly cooked apple pie of Aunty Alice. Once done, in the next Intruder Adventurer invasion raid, choose a newcomer Intruder who dies of poison. The poisoner gets the XP.

ElKobold's picture
Joined: 04/10/2015
20 years too late, 585 pages

20 years too late, 585 pages too long.

Finding a qualified person online who would be willing to work on another person's project (I imagine for free, right?) would be near impossible even without the "Since it is my baby, I will not give up anything i feel is impoverishing the game" part.

Not sure if this is genuine post or trolling.

roger's picture
Joined: 02/12/2017
This is a genuine post from a

This is a genuine post from a non-mercantile board game lover. Not all is money, in life. Gaming is a hobby first, at least for me. Some people like intellectual challenge and think long term. Think PhD writing stuff. Think KDM kind-of-game. Some like taking risk in difficult game design. Some enjoy putting some structure into an apparent mess. Some feel "dungeon keeper" never really went to its fullest potential, as board game world. There is more to dungeon life than what has been revealed to the world of gamers, up to now. On bgdf, it seems appropriate to just propose that.

Joined: 02/17/2017
Critique on approach to getting help

600 pages is too much. Far too much. Any kind of designer, regardless of whether it's in board games, application programming, or mechanical application, strive to move towards a leaner, stronger, modular design.

Do not be attached to your creation if you are truly seeking help refining it. As a creative writer, if you have ever dealt with an editor (who is good at their job) or a publishing house, you know that the end product is (thankfully) different than what you provide.

16 players is gargantuan and will more likely than not result in one of two possibilities: a boring waiting game or a chaotic mess. A point to note that even if your game is (in its current state) a blast to play, you will rarely find 16 people all wanting to play the same game with the same people all at once. Even the most avid tabletop rpg and board game players will be kept a distance from considering any game with a 16 player roster as an investment for their game group.

I don't know if it's necessary to point out but video game design is different from board game design primarily in the way numbers and stats are handled. A board game that tries to mimic the mathematics involved in really involved computer games will largely feel too laborious to manage for both the players and hosts. Especially for the player in a variable powers or variable team size game. Unless the numbers are easily felt or seen in one glance, it robs the players unnecessarily (and often without reward) from their time and entertainment value.

Perusing your game description feels more like it's meant to be a tabletop roleplaying game (which usually employ character sheets and gaming screens) and not a kick-in-the-door miniatures board game. While board game design can help that medium of entertainment, with your creative writing background, it's probably a better effort for your time in exploring that avenue first. It's a medium where storytelling is first and mechanics are often (for the sake of play) modified, fudged or completely tossed out.

The main thing that is likely going to keep you from getting someone to look at it seriously is by failing to admit that the design process may include completely removing or changing elements that you absolutely love for the sake of flow and overall game design. Take the elements you love and put it away in the "maybe later" part and continue on.

Don't be discouraged! But be prepared. I hope this helps.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011

I don't get this thread... It all seems like a "joke". 600 pages of rules?! Are you writing a book or designing a game?

You refer to "Dungeon Keeper 2" - but from what you have been explaining it sounds more like "Choose Your Own Adventure" - but for Adults...

I know we had one designer that was writing an adventure book basing it on "Alone in the Dark". He had some real complicated game maps for the book...

But you keep referring this to a DESIGN.

Sorry ... you lost me at 600 pages.

Daggaz's picture
Joined: 12/19/2016
roger wrote: it works quite

roger wrote:

it works quite well
but is slow and quite complex.

Does not compute.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Good Luck

I am wishing you nothing but success and progress on this venture. Sounds like a fantastic way to spend your free time. And good luck in finding (a) design partner(s). :)

roger's picture
Joined: 02/12/2017
@seanvwolf, thank you for

@seanvwolf, thank you for your detailed answer. It helps me. I don't see why 600 pages is turning off anybody. This is not a regular kind type of board game like Duel of ages 2 or Descent, although these are the closest. This project is what a God dungeon management should be. I already saw functional specifications of way over 1000 pages and it still went to fruition. Quantity is irrelevant, especially if a computer runs the grunt work in the back. This game will not be mainstream amongst tabletop gamers. So what. Think what kind of specifications "world of warcraft" had to work from. My project is a dwarf in the world of gaming at grand scale. I nearly designed a world, consistent, stimulating, 3-D. At its lowest level, there are quick skirmishes and at its deepest a year long campaign.
The design is still rough on the corners and I agree it needs polishing. It is already largely modular and there is a sequence to introduce all modules I am working on. For example, at first your miners just dig shiny stuff. Then a difference appears in that the ore is Copper 50%, Silver 33% and Gold 17% of the time. Then another level appears, that is Gold result can be either worth 3G, either you draw a "coin" from the Rare Earth metal box, which averages on 22G worth per pick but 40% are dangerous materials, explosive, noxious, even radioactive. Some are gaseous or liquid, which are wasted if the miner is not equipped to collect the ore (think "Mercury"). The tension when you open the metal box is palpable. Sometimes you scream, sometimes you keep your spoil secret, sometimes you bluff. Nobody knows what you really mined. Everybody is jealous that it seemed you survived. Everybody wants to draw an "Oxygen" coin of 35G, nobody wants any radioactive thingy in its backpack or a tornado inside its dungeon. This is modular architecture I believe.
Since play is simultaneous, like the video game Civilization IV, down time should not be too much crippling. There is often interaction because of auctions and trade, bottlenecks and many currencies, encounters and quests race.
This is not a game you can carry and bring to a friend place. This is currently in my basement, a prototype designed to be played on-site, like 4 hours a week. I think, with enough play testing, it can be formalized into a website video game.
The game is a blast because, years after, we still talk about situations and events, what-if.
The game does not feel laborious, even if it is slow and complex. This is because you care for your creatures. There are many things to do. You cannot do it all. The sheer amount of choice is an auto-balancing mechanism, like an ecosystem. You must decide which path to take, geographically as well as on a management level. I still have not figured which strategy is the best. For example, i have one player consistently trying to maximize his income and resources but still he does not win against another who got better creatures and board position. You feel you control your Dungeon but everything around is uncertain. This is a great feeling.
This is not a RPG. There is storytelling, but it is a consequence of mechanisms. I had a Ghost steed galloping to the surface to rob the fur carpet of the trapper of the village of the Sunland. On the way back, heroes tried to stop him and he got Sun burnt thrice (3 more needs activated). He had to hide in the sewers, which happened to be connected with the dungeon of my left player. Depressed, tired, the Steed needed to satisfy a need (running at max speed in straight line), and negotiated the right of passage to run there, but then a spell from another player brought an arch-demon around. The steed had to drop the fur for an allied cricket to bring it back to treasury room, so that a Vampire could ride the Steed in order to slow down the demon. Etc.
All this is based on squares travelled through, player interaction, Resource management, dice result, geo strategy.
I understand your advice but I think the game is fun just like that and just needs a few tweaks. It flows well and there are very few doubts about the rules. It just needs a big brain to manage all the factors. This is typically that kind of genius gamers this game is aiming at.

roger's picture
Joined: 02/12/2017
This is not "magic the

This is not "magic the gathering" at all. Impatient gamers cannot play this game. You need to be smart, patient and deep. Being slow and working smoothly is not incompatible. As long as you have fun, game speed is irrelevant.

roger's picture
Joined: 02/12/2017
There is a design behind this

There is a design behind this game, but it is too big for my meager brain to encompass it all. This is why it qualifies as monstrous. There is storytelling potential but it is still basically a "wargame" in the sense there are units (creature) wandering from a base into the subterranean wild, mining resources, encountering other creatures from other players and even going to the surface land (king Arthur-style human village). They fight, or not, they die, cooperate or escape.
This is borderline a book but it is still a design. Everything is explained and described, mechanisms, contents, structures. Very few stories.

Joined: 03/26/2015

roger, thanks for sharing with us about your personal project. You've obviously put a lot of time and effort into your creation. I know I'm curious to see some images of this game down in your basement, and I bet there are others on this site who would be interested in getting a visual of this behemoth you call... what was it's name again?

Mosker's picture
Joined: 03/30/2014
Conventions, protospiels and unpubs?

Maybe the question is, How easily can I take this on the road? How, where can you find others to playtest, network with? How much space does it take on a table and how long to set up? Might be worth the expense to rent a full table, a booth at an appropriate gathering.

You may also consider splitting something off into a small side game, perhaps something very different in its own way but still connected as you've said, "Since it is my baby, I will not give up anything i feel is impoverishing the game. I am quite attached to it. I realise the game needs to grow without me but it will be on my terms." (the way you've mixed themes, I wonder how the setting might work as an Apocalypse World or d20/OGL brew as an RPG...)

Joined: 01/28/2017
maybe it might help to split

maybe it might help to split the game into the various subgames - for sake of discussion on here (not necessarily to break up the game itself)

each sub game can then be pulled apart/reviewed, and you can keep the puppet master role of how it all fits together - I think you will get more useful responses like that.

Otherwise its a huge investment of someone's time, into someone else's idea, to even understand how it works before being able to comment. Personally I'd rather invest that time into my own ideas BUT I'd happily comment on smaller pieces (not 600 pages tho! I'm already despairing at my own 25 page rulebook being too long)

I'd also advise that the act of breaking it up in itself would help architecturally with how it all fits together - particularly if you're thinking about turning this into software. Assuming you won't code it yourself, it would need breaking into manageable chunks so different teams could build it - so this isn't a bad process to get into from that perspective.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Video or Board Game, which is it???

krone9 wrote:
...I'd also advise that the act of breaking it up in itself would help architecturally with how it all fits together - particularly if you're thinking about turning this into software. Assuming you won't code it yourself, it would need breaking into manageable chunks so different teams could build it - so this isn't a bad process to get into from that perspective.

From someone who has a background in development, nowadays people use Agile Practices in most sectors of development. Agile means storyboarding and that means very small units of work. If a task is too complex, it is divided into several smaller ones that can take a more manageable amount of time like 1 day, 2 days or 5 days. Anything else needs refactoring into smaller sprints.

Now if you think in reality why the minimum is 1 day is because there is more going on that just implementing the story. You also need to unit test it and most probably need to push the code into another environment and test it there with the help of an Analyst. So maybe it takes you 1-2 hours to code, migrate it between environments another couple hours and then waiting for a QA Analyst to test it (as per his schedule) another 1/2 day (or 4 hours) and you see that the task takes 1 day.

600 pages worth of content is questionable that it can be transformed into smaller sprints. Depends how clearly the content is written. But basically you need small REALIZABLE chunks of work that can be implemented if you expect to create a Video Game from such a voluminous document.

Personally I've written 20 page documents which outline how to create a game based on someone else IP (In this case Star Wars). It took me 1 entire month to research everything that the IP had to offer and put together a preliminary analysis with regards to the game.

As others are suggestion, perhaps it might be possible to "break" it up into smaller chunks like maybe 100 page, so 6 volumes. And then take those 6 volumes and divide by 4 volumes of 25 pages each. Maybe at 25 pages it might be possible to tackle such a project. IDK. I haven't seen what exactly you have that is 600 pages.

Best of luck(?!) with your project.

Midnight_Carnival's picture
Joined: 06/17/2015
I am quite shocked

Your game sounds amazing and it seems that you are mainly receiving negative comments from everyone, at the very least unhelpful.

You know, a while ago there was probably a guy who said

"I've written a sort of fantasy story about 3 short people and an old man who go to throw a ring they don't want into a volcano... Actually it's more like 3 books over 600 pages each, and there are some other books set in the same world... anyway, I was wondering if there was anyone out there who'd be willing to proof-read it?"
and he probably got a similar response to you.

So out of respect for the amount of time and effort you've put into your game, I would ask that you send me a copy of your 600 page dark grimoire. Do not worry, I am not in a position to steal your work right now: sadly this also means I'm not in any position to contribute meaningfully in terms of game development either. I won't be able to play test the game for the foreseeable future, but I would love to read your 600 pages and if any insights or inspiration come to me, I'll be sure to get back to you some point.

This is the sort of project I'd be interested in actively helping out on, just a pity I need to eat and other such matters.

Daggaz's picture
Joined: 12/19/2016
I think for me at least, the

I think for me at least, the turn off is the way the 600 pages are presented, more so than the sheer length (which is in itself also daunting).

"Hey, I put together a HUGE game, 600 pages" : yellow flag on design principal

"It's super complex, and very slow, but it works great" : yellow flag, contradictory statement

"I don't understand my own game, it is too complex for my brain" : red flag

"I need somebody else to balance this monster, I'm just a creative writer": giant red flag, given the 600 page context

"..but I refuse to relinquish creative control despite the fact that I have already admitted that I dont have control and need help" : the red flag is as big as they get

"Does anybody now want to donate all of their precious time to do this considerably large amount of work equivalent to a full time job for free, under my thumb, after hearing this pretty awful sales pitch?" : meta-level hyper red-flag

At this point, I can only imagine all the problems this system has regarding balance and frankly, total brokenness. It doesnt sound at all like the OP has any idea of how robust his own system is, it doesnt seem like he has even tested it fully himself.

As a programmer, I know how easy it is to implement game-breaking bugs in a short algorithm of only a few pages, even with constant and careful attention to detail. Those bugs can be unbelievably hard to find, even though you are intimately involved in the design process and know where to look. I can only imagine how a 600 page document would turn out, more so when it comes off like it hasn't been carefully designed in the first place.

If Roger turns out to be the next Tolkien, I'll eat my hat. As I understand it, Tolkien never went to anybody to redesign the grammatical structure of the six+ languages he invented while building the backstory to his novels.

Joined: 01/27/2017
Daggaz wrote:As I understand

Daggaz wrote:
As I understand it, Tolkien never went to anybody to redesign the grammatical structure of the six+ languages he invented while building the backstory to his novels.

My recollection is that his battles with his editors were over the titles of the books and the cover art. These are things that it can be easy to get emotional about, but actually peripheral to the real work.

Something along the lines of:
"The cover looks nice, but it's too many colors. If we make the dragon the same color as the title..."
"The dragon must be green."
"But nothing else really needs to be green. How about we make it..."

Daggaz's picture
Joined: 12/19/2016
LoL. Of course, in the

LoL. Of course, in the Tolkienverse, the color of the dragon would have intimate connections as to its placement in the hierarchy of higher beings and its historical significance for the creation of middle-earth, and obviously the Dragon's name would no longer make any sense at all and you would pretty much have to rewrite the entire Ainulindalë.

It's gotta be green.

Midnight_Carnival's picture
Joined: 06/17/2015

Yeah, while I respect that you might not want to join in, especially after all the fun has been had (coming up with crazy new ideas and generally frobbing [I love frobbing!]) I'm sorry, but in my book
"you've done too much work, you've put in too much detail..."
does not constitute a valid criticism.

Did you try trawling through the super dense, not particularly intersting thousand-whatever pages of D&D player guides, etc? and yet there are so many people out there who eat that stuff up.

Also, to prevent the Tolkien analogy from getting out of hand ("you shall not pass!") - I was equating this game to fantasy literature because someone might say "sorry, I'm not proof-reading your 900 page novel based on the Chinese pirate queen lady set in an alternate reality, but my point is that we DO, read far worse every day. I mean I read I don't know how many of the Game of Thrones, think I even ploughed through part of the Wheel of Time, don't even get me started on David Eddings, I read a few of those and can't remeber the faintest detail of one of them... So to come back to the Tolkien analogy: once they're published everyone will read them (and wouldn't you like to have your name acknowledged in the first few pages?) but before they are published "no, it's too long, you've put in too many details..."
Same with games...

so this guy says he's got this game brewing which is like a board game version of Dungeon Keeper (I personally can't see how that works and would likely have scrapped the idea ages ago) - and not only did he not give up on it, but he wrote 600 pages and developed it to the point where he can playtest it or something. Then yes, that is something I will take seriously and I will read his 600 page arcane tome, even if I can't promise much more at this stage.

Daggaz's picture
Joined: 12/19/2016
It's impressive for anybody

It's impressive for anybody to put 600 pages of anything together.

That doesn't necessarily make it a good thing, can you even imagine how a blind test of a board game with 600 pages of rules is going to play out?

There are plenty of other problems that are apparent with this specific situation, and while people may have their own reasons, the criticism is fairly wide spread for good reason.

That said, looking forward to hearing your informed opinion and experiences on this game. It's certainly an interesting situation.

As we say in Scandinavia, "good reading desire (to you)".

Rick L
Rick L's picture
Joined: 08/22/2016
As I mentioned in an earlier

As I mentioned in an earlier response on this thread, I really would've been into this idea at another time in my life. Not only have I written a 500+ page novel (so I understand the dedication!) But I used to play EverQuest online - would leave work early for it! Not just for adventures, but to practice for hours crafting arrows until my craft skills were good enough to make decent arrows for my ranger, and to sell for game money. And I was paying a subscription to do it!

So there is a place for these games, and I am impressed and intrigued by the endeavor, and if it weren't for the time restraints of my life as it is now, it would certainly be something I'd look through and maybe even get involved in.

As it is, I can only wish you the best of luck!

Joined: 04/08/2012
Here is what I see

From the information you have told us and what I have read about the fur trapper in the village upon your steed went to gather but then a player tried to stop your steed and then you had to stop and wait for the steed to gather up more resources etc.

The way you described it as all of this detail is good and dandy. Nothing wrong with that, but I think you have to many cards to think of during the chase and gather and wait for resources to do some one thing just to get the fur trapper to bring back down. My suggestion is to drop some of those cards to extend the out come for your players to do at least two or three things of strategy or tactics by drawing and discarding some cards or have the players hopefully have the cards in hand to stop that runaway character fullfilling his or task. Basically limit the cards or choices or tasks to do these things.

Another thing it reminds me of the app games that tell you that when you use up your time and resources to build up your camp , city or village with the utmost armor you can purchase or resource from other materials and the app says,"You must wait 1 hour until you can resource again" for an example.

My other suggestion is to get rid of the auction mechanic. If it's a tactic /strategy game and dungeon crawler. I don't see a need for an auction system in your game. What are the reasons for an auction system/mechanic in maintaining in a dungeon game?

If you still want the auction mechanic bidding system in your game, allow your players to bid for units or how much resources that are allowed in one or two or the entire levels that are split up into those area / levels allow for your mining units to resource from. I think this is where your game building is slowing you down, or at least part of it. The auction should be at the start of the game in the setup section not during your dungeon crawler. It doesn't make sense upon how I read it. I hope these suggestions help you in some way.


Adam Leamey
Joined: 02/23/2017
I am by no means an

I am by no means an experienced designer however as I am in the process of designing my own game I know the feeling of wanting a second person to come in and help you Heck I would love to have someone to help and bounce ideas off with so its not all me.

So knowing what your going through I will offer you advice coming from someone who started with an idea and has done many playtest with a wide group of people.

Do not get attached to anything in your game while this may sound mean game design is about iteration it takes many tries with lots of people to find what aspects of the game work and which don't.

While large games are all well and good players will get bored if they have to read through a textbook to play a game so you need to split your book up into the following.

A player book that is designed to quickly get the players into the game and covers the basics of what they need to know.

A scenario book to cover each individual quest rather than have it all together with the rules even descents has separate books.

In regards to your game taking to long have you play tested this with others? are the players engaged at all times or getting bored and getting out there phones? if its the latter then you need to reconsider how your game works.

Next whats your budget if you want this done image how much it would take to create this kind of game?

Without seeing your rules I can't give any specific advice but would be happy to help you as I understand wanting someone to co design with.

Willem Verheij
Willem Verheij's picture
Joined: 06/08/2016
My thoughts on it.

I really like the idea of a dungeon keeper style board game, but I feel that you are all over the place not only with the gameplay but also with the theme. I get the idea of wanting to put everything in it that seems great to you, but it can work against the experience and will cause you to lose the oversight, as appearantly happened.

My advice is to just stick to a dungeon keeper board game and nothing else. Start small, and if that dungeon keeper style game is succesfull, make it bigger with perhaps a more expanded sequel to the game, or a deluxe version. That first version would allow you to draw in your audience, and you could learn a lot from the experience. Which you can use for your bigger project.

Start small. Learn. Grow. That way you can obtain all you need to fulfill your ambitions.

Now, about a dungeon keeper style board game and how I personally feel it could be done.

-The board.
A pretty huge square board, grid based of squares. Completely brown by default, which represents undigged earth. Some lines of the grid are a bit thicker to help with proper placement of tiles during the setup.

-Setting up the enviroment tiles.
In the manual, or better yet as a seperate booklet, you get various skirmish maps. These show you where to place gold which comes in single square tiles. The other side of the tile is gems. You put them over the indicated earth tiles.
They also show you where to put water, which does not come in single square tiles but in various larger shapes, covering multible tiles.
These water tiles have lava on the other side.
The skirmish maps also show you where the starting positions are. There are multible skirmish maps for 2 players, 3 players and 4 players.

-Claimed land.
There are a lot of floor tiles for each player color to use, these take up a single tile and are put over tiles where earth has been digged up.
The backside of the tiles show the hero version of the floor tile, in the same player color.

Rooms do not have player colors attached to them, and come in stock sizes, usually 3x3. Some rooms might be larger depending on their purpose. On the backside there is a hero version of the same room, in some rare cases it shows a different room unique to heroes.

-Room ownership.
Player colored tokens are put on rooms to show their ownership. The flip side of the token shows the hero version.

-Available rooms.

Throne room. (3x5)
The starting room, which serves similar to the dungeon heart but has another purpose. On the throne you can put a creature or hero, assigning them as leader. When on the throne they provide a passive benefit that is different for each creature or hero type.
A crown token is put on the creature or hero's card to keep track of them when you assign them elsewhere.
The leader also gains the unique ability to teleport back to the safety of the throneroom from anywhere on the map, and can take allies in adjacent squares with them if they choose to do so.
Capturing enemy throne rooms is how players are eliminated.
A small amount of gold can also be stored in the throneroom.

-Lair. (3X3)
Creatures/heroes can be put here to recover health for free.

-Treasury. (3x3)
Any gold you gather is stored here. It can hold an infinite amount of gold.
Gold is represented by three token or miniature types: bag of gold, small chest and large chest.
Small chest is worth five bags, and large chest is worth five small chests.
Costs of anything in the game is indicated by icons of these three quantities.
Some specific heroes and creatures can steal gold. It's put on their card in that case to indicate they carry it, they can bring it back to their player's treasury. If killed the gold is moved to the treasury of the player who owns the terrain where the thief died.

-training room. (3x3)
Creatures and heroes can be put in here to level up at the cost of gold. How much it costs can be found on the creature and hero cards.
Through training they can learn new abilities and get increased hitpoints, movement and defense rating all displayed on their cards.

-Dining hall. (3x3)
Workers, creatures and heroes can be assigned here to provide food during your turn. Workers don't need food. The amount of food each creature and hero needs differs. Produced food is stored in the dining hall and is represented by tokens in a shape of food. Maybe chicken legs or such.
Some specific heroes and creatures can't be put to work here even though they might still require food.
Failing to feed a creature or hero means they lose a hitpoint and their happiness is lowered. (going from happy to unhappy, to angry.)

-Prison. (3x3)
Defeated creatures and heroes can be put in prison.
They can be kept out of the game here, or the player owning the prison can try to convert a specific prisoner, only one per player turn.
A D6 is used for this that can result in:
-succesfull conversion. (2 out of 6 chance)
-death of prisoner. (2 out of 6 chance)
-ineffective. (1 out of 6 chance)
-prison break. (1 out of 6 chance)
For some creatures and heroes the results might be slightly different which would be displayed on their card, making some harder or easier to convert.
Prisoners also cost food to the player who captured them.

For now that's all the rooms, I feel these are the most vital. Any other rooms like the workshop, library and temple could be added in expansions.

-Creatures and heroes.

During the player turn they can be assigned anywhere on the player owned territory. They can't fight but can be killed. Workers can be bought with gold, they don't cost food and are always happy.
They dig through earth allowing claimed tile cards to be placed and gather gold. They can also be assigned to bring knocked out enemies to your prison or drag knocked out allies to your lair for recovery.
The worker looks neutral, possibly like a human peasant to allow them to work equally well for the creature and hero side.

Evil creatures.

Stalwart creature, you can have many of them but they are rather weak.
They can work in the dining hall and only cost 1 food each player turn.

Starts weak but becomes powerfull when leveled up due to spells. Too arrogant to prepare food, but only costs 1 food.

Powerfull brute, slower movement than others but very strong in melee.
Can work in the dining hall, but costs 2 food each turn.

Dark elf.
These fast moving ladies can cover more ground each turn, have a ranged attack and do have some melee abilities but have low hit points.
They can work in the dining hall and cost 1 food each turn.
They can also steal two bags or a small chest from an enemy treasury.

Good heroes.

Compareable to the goblin, slightly stronger but a little slower.
Can work in the dining hall, costs 1 food.

Counterpart of the sorcerer, they start a little stronger but are a little weaker at maximum level. They also won't produce food and cost 1 food.

Defensive and strong hero, has some protection and healing spells. Has a good defence value but moves slightly slower than the average unit. More defensive than the ogre and less offensive. Can prepare food and costs 1 food each turn. Downside is their happiness decreases fast when forced to work with (formerly) evil creatures. They are also harder to convert.

Female hero who make for good scouts. They move as fast as a dark elf, are a little weaker at range but stronger in melee, making them more allround regardless of distance. They can't steal gold however, but can work in the dinging hall and cost 1 food.

More creatures and heroes could be added in expansions, have to take the cost of miniatures in account after all. I feel there should be miniatures for this.
Expansions could be themed, typically each could add two creatures and two heroes along with a new room.

-creature and hero ownership.
Creature cards are not tied to player colors. They are put next to the player's dashboard which clearly shows the ownership. When converted, the card of the converted creature is transfered along with the creature.
Creatures and hero miniatures also do not have player colors, instead player colored rings are used around their base to indicate ownership. The color of ring is also changed with a conversion.
Workers are the exeption, they do come in the players their color since they can't be converted and have no cards since they don't level and are killed in one hit.

To tell different heroes and creatures of the same type apart for their owner, their bases are numbered and so are their cards.
And they can be painted differently to change it up further.
Aside from the different number on the creature and hero cards, they also have their own unique name displayed here, both for immersion and easy reference. (instead of moving soldier 1 around, you move Jacob the soldier around.)
Possibly the cards could even show different hair and skin colors and other minor details like scars, an eyepatch or such. Stuff that could be expressed through a paint job.

I mentioned it earlier, here I'll go in a little more detail.
When happy, nothing is wrong. When unhappy, generally nothing happens yet and it serves more as a warning to the player. Possibly some hero or creature might already have a negative effect which would be mentioned on their card when unhappy.
When angry, each creature and hero will do something different but what they do may not always be unique.
Depending on the hero or creature, when angry they might:
-Simply leave, returning to the pool of unused units.
-Steal a set amount of gold and leave.
-Attack creatures or heroes of a specific type who they hate.
-Join the enemy. The other players offer money. The one who offers the most gets the creature/hero. The paid gold does not go to any player.
-Go berserk, which means they become neutral and will fight anything in range to the death.

-before the game starts.
Players choose to either play as heroes or creatures. This will determine what side of the tiles they use, and who they can recruit. Some creatures and heroes have abilities that make them extra effective against the opposite allignment or against specific enemies, which can make them less effective when fighting against a player who uses the same side.
Conversion allows any hero or creature to join your dungeon however.
Even with expansions, there will always just be two sides, good and evil. With enough expansions, you might be able to go for a theme through what you recruit and build however.
Players also decide on a creature limit, the total number of creatures any player can recruit. When the limit is reached, they can convert enemies to go past that limit.

-The steps of a game round.

1. Assign workers.
Each worker can take one of the following actions:
-Dig out and claim 3 tiles.
Stacks with more workers, who can continue where the previous one stopped.
-Mine gold.
They are put on a tile of your claimed land that is adjacent to a gold tile. The gold is collected next turn. Each gold tile is worth a small chest. If you assign two workers, you claim the gold and the tile in the same turn.
-Mine gems.
Gem tiles work slightly different. One assigned worker will claim one small chest of gold the next turn, but the gems are infinite and won't disappear.
Unlike gold, gems can't be rushed with a second worker. Up to three workers can be assigned, each yields a small chest worth of gold next turn.
-claim three enemy tiles.
Replaces tiles of an enemy's dungeon with your own. Unlike unclaimed earth, you can't let other workers continue down the same path that the first worker took. Otherwise this goes too fast.
-Capture knocked out enemy.
If a knocked down enemy is on your terrain, you can capture them. However, each enemy that is in range of their knocked down ally will automatically kill a worker when they try to capture their ally.
So if the knocked down enemy has two allies with range on him, it costs you three workers to claim that enemy as your prisoner, the prisoner is then instantly moved to your prison.
You also require a prison to be able to capture enemies.
-Recover knocked out ally.
It has the same rules as capture an enemy. You can only do this on your own terrain, and each enemy within range will kill an imp when trying to recover the fallen ally.
-Claim enemy room.
Unlike tiles, this requires a turn. So you might need some protection for the worker.
-Prepare food.
Each worker placed in the dining hall produces two food.

Now the next player gets to assign their workers, moving clockwise untill all players did so.

2. Building and recruiting.
You can build rooms and doors during this turn, and recruit units.

A reference sheet on the back of the manual shows the cost of doors and buildings. You pay the required gold and place the buildings and doors anywhere on your terrain where there is room for it. Doors can only be put in corridors and rooms require the indicated dimensions of claimed land. The claimed land tiles are removed to be replaced with the room.
You may not buy more than one of any type of room, but can gain more through claiming an enemy room.

The earlier mentioned creature cards and hero cards are placed next to the board, each on their own properly shuffled pile.
The following combinations of actions are possible for recruitment each round.
-Draw two cards of your faction's pile. This costs no money.
-Recruit workers, each costs a small chest of gold.
-Search the deck for a creature or hero of a type you already own.
You only get one card this way instead of two, and this only applies to trash tier and mid tier creatures and heroes.

The amount of figures in the game scales with strenght. There are more of weaker creatures and heroes, thus a larger chance to draw them from the deck. There are three tiers: trash tier, mid tier and top tier.
Trash tier make up the cannon fodder, still usefull in numbers. They don't get much abilities, but enough to stay usefull later on.
Mid tier consists of very usefull creatures and heroes that can get pretty powerfull later on and they have multible abilities but also tend to be higher maintenance.
Top tier consists out of the very best, and there might only be two or three in total of such creatures and heroes. This is not included in the basegame yet. Units like dragons belong in this tier.
Their training is expensive and are higher maintenance, but they are quite powerfull yet not unstoppable.
Possibly unique legendary heroes and creatures could also be added that only have one figure, but that would be for an expansion.

After the first player performed this turn, the others take their turns going clockwise.

3. Move and assign creatures and heroes.
Unlike workers, creatures and heroes have limited movement. The amount of tiles they can move each turn is displayed on their card. Unless enemies are in a room, a room counts as one tile so they can be placed anywhere in the room. If an enemy is in the room, the normal count of squares is used.
Creatures and heroes can pass through doors located on their player's claimed land but doors on enemy land blocks their passage. Enemy creatures and heroes also block passage.
Creatures and heroes can walk over enemy terrain.

Assigning creatures.
After moving the creatures, you interact with the rooms they are located in.
If located in the dining hall, they produce one food unless their card says otherwise.
If located in the training room, you can advance them one level for the amount of gold indicated on their card. You can't advance them more than one level in a turn, and you can only level up up to three creatures in a turn.
If located on the throne, you resolve the effect that the leader has. If it is an effect that comes into play in other parts of the game, it only kicks in during that part of the game if the leader is on the throne at that moment it's supposed to kick in.
When located in the lair, they recover two hitpoints.
Angry creatures cannot be assigned, instead you resolve their angry effect as listed on their card.

As usual, all players resolve this phase clockwise in turns.

4. Combat.
All creatures and heroes in range of enemies may engage in combat this round. Each of them may only attack once during this phase unless their card says otherwise, but they may defend against anyone who attacks them.
The first player gets to declare his attacks first, for each of his heroes and creatures one at a time and they name their target.
A D6 is used for initiative between the attacker and defender, to decide who goes first. Some creatures and heroes might have a modifier to this or might always attack first or last if their card says so.

How the actual fight is resolved should not be too complicated, could maybe be a bit similar to imperial assault with the defence dice and such, maybe a little simpler still so it won't take too long with four players.

After the first player made all the attacks they wished to make with the available choices, the next player gets to declare their attacks and so forth. And always in every fight there is a roll for initiative that allows the defender to strike first.
Some creatures and heroes do have abilities that allow them to move in combat, like through a charge, teleportation or other means. Through this they can also join in a combat round even if they initially are not within range.
While enemies are knocked out when defeated in combat, you can let another of your creatures or heroes kill the knocked out enemy if you still have one available for an attack. This succeeds automatically unless a nearby ally of them has an ability that prevents it.
Some special attacks also kill enemies and can't knock them out.

During combat, creatures and heroes may also level and there is a formula for this.
-Creatures and heroes gain a level if they defeat an enemy or hero of the same tier or higher than themselves.
-Creatures and heroes gain a level if they defeat someone of a higher level than themselves. This does not stack.
Through this I imagine it might stay somewhat balanced and also seems realistic.

5. Pay upkeep.
The final and shortest phase, you spend the required food on your creatures and heroes. Anyone who does not get the required food, has their mood lowered.
You also have to pay upkeep to units, but for many this only kicks in at higher levels. Only top tier units require upkeep on level 1, but even the trash tier units require upkeep at their highest level. Failing to pay their upkeep also causes mood to be lowered.
By paying double the upkeep of a hero or creature, their mood is returned to happy if they are unhappy or angry. For some creatures and heroes that are particulary hard to please it only moves them to unhappy, so you'd have to pay thrice their upkeep to make them happy in that turn or wait untill the next one and hope they wont get angry.

Players may find themselves making sacrifices here, spending their money and food on their best creatures and heroes to keep them happy if they don't have enough for everyone. They'd also have to check the effects of angry creatures and heroes to see what they are risking.

Initially the game has no way to get rid of unwanted creatures, but an expansion can add that function through a temple or such.

So that's all the phases I had in mind.

To get back to the creature and heroes card, they should be twice the size of standard cards.

-Number in upper right corner.
-Tier symbol in upper left corner.
-Portrait on the upper half of the card in the centre.
-Creature/hero type above the portrait.
-Unique name under the portrait.
-Hitpoints under the name, displaying the maximum hitpoints they have at level 5.
-Improvements of each level increase listed on the lower half of the card. There are 5 levels.
-Each level indicates the hitpoints, defence value, movement speed and range. Special abilities gained are displayed behind this in icons and behind that stands the upkeep cost at that level if there is such. The cost of the level up is displayed before the level number.
-Below the levels, there are additional notes about special conditions of the creature or hero and their unique passive effect as leader.
-And under the notes at the lower right corner of the card, icons are shown of the rooms the hero can interact with, this may include icons for expansions that are planned, like a library icon for the sorcerer and wizard.
Initially there would be an icon for the dining hall that shows they can prepare food and there would be a number on the icon showing how much they produce. For other icons a number is also displayed if it applies.

No icon for training room or throne room, if they can't level up through training there simply is no cost for that displayed before the level number and if they are a rare unit that can't be the leader, no benefit is written down under the notes for if they are leader.

Well that's all I have. I hope it is helpfull, took me longer than I expected to write all this down.

But either way I hope this at least proves that a dungeon keeper style board game is possible even though not everything I wrote down might be ideal.

SuperTooned's picture
Joined: 02/25/2017
You ask for help then you say

You ask for help then you say 'it's my precious baby'. I'm very confused on if you want help or if you want to keep it to your self.

roger's picture
Joined: 02/12/2017
my precious

I love my baby. I think it needs help to grow in a successful manner. Your help is welcome.

roger's picture
Joined: 02/12/2017
game design

Thank you so much for such detailed proposal. This is very close to my thoughts. This is ready for a "print and play" board game or even a commercial title like the recent Dungeon Quest, WizWar. It seems you should propose FFG such a game.
However, my game is another thing. It is not a dungeon crawl romp done in 3 hours top. This is a rpg turned board game. Short skirmishes of 3 hours are possible but the real meat is a campaign, year long type.
First of all, conceptually, I do not want the heroes to be on equal footing with the dungeon denizens. I want the game to be focused on dungeon creatures. Heroes are only a nuisance, and a mystery, from a Dark Lord perspective. There is no ceiling! How weird is that! So, they occupy only around 20% of the game. Players control both factions, the heroes, as a global "white flag" team, officially all good and nice, but secretly anonymously sponsored by Dark lords, the players. They suffer "dungeon-anxiety", need to eat grandma pies, need torches and are crippled in the dark. There is a multi-player party team feel "we are good people, we are all together in this, let's do it" but, depending on which dark Lord control them, it can turn ugly in the depths of the dungeon. There are even some traitors (1 in 20) ready to back stab if left alone with a target. So they must also stay together, in a big group if possible.
Why do they go in the dungeons? Well, aside embarrassing promises uttered in the tavern, daring another team to bring along all the drinkers in the tavern room, this is also a victory path. They can find treasure, wish granting oil lamps, rings, swords and all kind of marvelous items. They also have quests, usually go into the dungeons and write a benevolent mark somewhere or rescue the princess. Of course they can never set foot in the territory of their controller's dark lord, nor interact in any way with the dungeon creatures of the same controller Dark lord. Win 3 quests, good or evil, to win the game.
Your idea of Creature cards is nice and all, but some of my creatures are 5 page long. So I just designed a "creature board", 4cm by 4, to host the happiness/ unhappiness markers, which goes from +6 to -6. It hosts the Talent points, shows the base level, xp, wounds. All else is buried in the 335 pages (yes it seems smaller than I expected). They keep changing because I want the types to be clarified, I want to add a talent, a power as I see fit.
I have to go now. I'll comment again later.

Adam Leamey
Joined: 02/23/2017
I love your concept the

I love your concept the closest game i can think of that matches what your talking about is boss monster. However I will make some comments on what you have proposed.

Campaign based games like descent, mice and mystics etc are huge games in terms of cost, space and time.

Not everyone has time for long epic sprawling quests so you need to decide if your going for a niche or trying to have a broader scope.

But 3 odd hours is a long time for a board game I have played long board-games and they get dull quick you need to get the game time down or your not going to do well.

Most importantly be open to changing your game it takes time to get things right don't be afraid to trim the game down. As long as you streamline the core concept you can keep whats important while making it not feel like a slug to play.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Well then listen to what people are telling you...

roger wrote:
I love my baby. I think it needs help to grow in a successful manner. Your help is welcome.

If you want to "convert" your 600 page document into a "Board Game", you're going to have to ACCEPT that it will need to be REDUCED to 20-30 pages AT MOST.

AND if you have a problem with that... Forget making it into a "Board Game". Britannia made by Dr. Lewis Pulsipher (he's an ACTIVE BGDF Member) has 24 pages. And it's a pretty complex game ...

If you don't want to listen to anybody, "because it's your baby", there is no way a 600 page document will "convert" into a 20-30 page rulebook for a board game.

To be real honest, IF you are OPEN to transforming your 600 pages INTO a game... You're going have to learn where to CUT! Even when we are designing games as designers - we too must CUT stuff from the game so that the end result is PLAYABLE without requiring people to ALWAYS refer to the rules.

BUT be warned: even SIMPLE games can require 20 pages of rules to explain HOW to play the game. My WIP "Tradewars Homeworld" is rather simple to play ("core" game). But it takes 20 pages to fully explain all the mechanics and detail required by the game.

UNLESS you want to create an RPG, well then you might require 600+ pages. Because you'll need to divide this into three (3) volumes:

  • A Dungeon Master Guidebook
  • A Player's Guidebook
  • A Monster Reference Guide

For example. Then maybe your Dungeon Master Guidebook could be 200+ pages and your Player's Guidebook might be 150+ pages and lastly your Monster Reference Guide might be 100+ pages... There again you might need to cut down on the size of your rules.

I'm trying to bring you to reality... 600 pages of rules is not an accomplishment - it's what you transform into a 20-30 page rulebook for a Board Game ... that is the REAL VALUE. And only with your "voluntary" help to reduce the rules to a more reasonable size... Will you ever be able to get it into a format "digestible" by Board Game enthusiasts.

Cheers and don't take it personally. People are trying to REASON with you - and it seems like you don't get it - at all...

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