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New Game Idea--Vampire Themed Area Control/Euro (but mostly Area Control)

14 replies [Last post]
Joined: 08/18/2015

This is my first time really putting an idea together with a prospective board/rules. I've attached the rules and map below in case anyone wants to take a look (Warning: Rules/Map were done by me and my non-existent art skills with a pencil. This is really the first draft of the game, so don't expect anything amazing) If anyone can take the time to look it over and let me know what you think, I would greatly appreciate it!

Players take the part of a vampire in a small kingdom, determined to gather enough minions and power to find and claim the legendary and return it to their initial lair so that they can rule the kingdom as the Vampire Overlord before any of the other vampires manage to do the same.

Each vampire has command of Bats--worker/messengers who allow the vampire to claim resources and communicate with his subject Minions, however, the vampire is only able to issue these orders while standing in a Fortress. As a result, in order to move closer to the Victory Item (VI) a vampire must sacrifice the efficiency of his subjects, forcing the player to make tactical decisions between moving his vampire closer to victory and moving his subjects in order to gather resources.

A single player turn will follow the following general format:
1. Move Vampire or Issue Orders to Bats
2. Transform Vampire between Vampire (can issue orders to Bats) and Vampire Bat (greater movement speed, but cannot order Bats or carry the VI) if desired.
3. Move Vampire or Issue Orders to Bats
4. Transform Vampire between Vampire and Vampire Bat, if desired.

Combat is deterministic (can be modified by item cards, but is still mostly deterministic--works a little similar to Diplomacy or Small World) and occurs whenever multiple players have non-Bat units in the same square. Minions are used for combat, and to block enemy Bats from moving through a given space. The loser must retreat his units (transforming Vampire into Vampire Bat if the Vampire lost the combat--this is not optional), and pay a small penalty (lose a Minion, give 2 gold to victor, or give the victor a random item).

Minions (soldier units) cannot move on an Issue Orders action (this action only affects Bats). However, using Issue Orders to move a bat into the same space as a minion enables the bat to communicate with the minion--letting the player choose to move or perform an action with the minion instead of having the bat perform an action on the space.

TL;DR: Players are trying to claim and retrieve the VI and return it to their initial fortress in order to win the game. Players make use of warrior Minions as well as worker Bats in order to move their Vampire to the VI and return with it to their starting fortress, all while surviving the assaults of the other players on the VI.

ElKobold's picture
Joined: 04/10/2015
Thematically multiple

Thematically multiple vampires fighting each other seem a bit odd though.

Have you considered alternating players powers?

As in one player plays as a vampire, another as a Frankenstein and his creation(s), another as a team of hunters etc?

Joined: 08/18/2015
An interesting thought. I

An interesting thought. I just settled on the vampire idea as a launching point which kinda fit the mechanic I wanted though. That's a great idea--will look into that. Thanks a lot!

Gabe's picture
Joined: 09/11/2014
While I think you have an

While I think you have an interesting premise of vampires fighting for supremacy, I also agree with EIKobold that having other factions would be better. And I think it would give the game a wider appeal.

Vampires vs. werewolves vs. Frankenstein's monsters vs. humans could make for an awesome game as each faction tries to retrieve the legendary artifact.

Each faction could be similar but with a few specific key differences that made them unique. Maybe the humans are easy to kill but they also have powerful weapons. Vampires turn into bats and retreat when they lose instead of dying. Frankenstein's monsters are numerous but not powerful. Werewolves are strong but can only attack in groups. Etc...

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Jyhad (AKA Vampire: The Eternal Struggle)

It was created by Richard Garfield and is one of the oldest CCGs ever...

polyobsessive's picture
Joined: 12/11/2015
Eternal struggles

Yep, V:TES shows that vampire-on-vampire battle can work really well. I used to play it quite a lot, back in the day.

It was based on White Wolf's World of Darkness roleplaying games (specifically Vampire: The Masquerade) and relied heavily on the clan system from the RPG, where groups of vampires largely aligned along political lines and with different sets of powers within each group. So there was the asymmetric element there: one player has sneaky vampires that keep turning to mist, another has charismatic mind-controlling vampires, and another has bestial vampires who live in the sewers and talk to rats.

If you want to do a contest between different factions of vampires then the asymmetry shown in V:TES is a good way to go, but it may seem derivative of the World of Darkness. Though I think there is probably a heap more vampire literature out there now that does something similar, so the idea is more "spread out" now.

Mind you, I think the concept of having the game between different types of supernatural beasties that others have suggested would probably work better for many players as it is probably easier to categorise vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. as distinct groups than different vampire factions. I think it depends on whether you want the game to be more political or more overt power struggle.

Good luck with the game.

Joined: 03/02/2014
I like the Vampires-only

I like the Vampires-only theme. With other monsters introduced, it would make less sense that they are fighting over the same artifact. Save that idea for an expansion.

I tried to read your rules, but the combination of them being sideways and trying to read your handwriting made it too much of a challenge. (I don't mind the map being a little scribblish, but type out the text, at least.) However, I do like the basic concept and I think it could be interesting.

I like the idea of using bats to communicate with minions. I'm not sure how you track the movement of the bats, though -- do they basically teleport there? And if not, how do you track the instructions that you told the bat to deliver, a couple of turns ago? (Maybe this is described in the rules, but see above.)

Joined: 08/18/2015
Yeah, really sorry about the

Yeah, really sorry about the rules. That page was me scribbling my thoughts--I've been working on an actual rules document (will put it up when I finish it), but here is essentially how I've been looking at the things you are asking about:

-I'm using wooden cubes to represent Bats and meeples to represent Minions. Both pieces are placed on the game board--and movement is tracked by the number of adjecent spaces, so when I move a Bat, I move a wooden cube up to 2 adjacent spaces on the board, no matter where it started from, and then it can act where it lands. Then on my next turn, this same bat will move from where it ended the last turn and take another action. The only catch is that while the Bat is moving--it cannot enter/pass through a space containing an enemy minion, but must go around.

-You don't have to track the instructions for minions--you essentially just decide when the bat reaches the minion. Thematically, there's something special about vampiric fortresses which enables them to communicate telepathically with bats--but it requires there full attention. This is why you can only order your bats around while standing in a fortress.

I'm also considering about adding a 2nd resource (food) which would be used to recruit new bats (1 food), recruit Minions (1 food, 1 gold), and convey messages to Minions (1 food).

Joined: 07/28/2008
Years ago, I was working on a

Years ago, I was working on a similar idea, except it was an area control type game. I had Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies and Humans.

Each race had unique abilities to create new units. Vampires could turn citizens into Vampires, Zombies increased their strength when people died in combat - forcing you to think about whether the fight was really necessary, if it increased another players strength, Humans could sway the population to their cause and so on, while werewolves increased their pack by placing a puppy token in a region, whihc increased in strength as it got older - and therefore stronger.

The map was to be created with cards with each card representing a city block, which told you how many citizens were in that block and resources to be had.

I never really figured out an end goal though.

Joined: 03/02/2014
Implementor37 wrote:You don't

Implementor37 wrote:
You don't have to track the instructions for minions--you essentially just decide when the bat reaches the minion. Thematically, there's something special about vampiric fortresses which enables them to communicate telepathically with bats--but it requires there full attention. This is why you can only order your bats around while standing in a fortress.

Ok. But how limited are the bats? As a vampire in this situation, I'd never send anybody out without a bat so I could immediately give him instructions. But if you only have a few bats, so you have to move to your different forces, that could make for an interesting challenge.

However, for bats, it seems silly that you wouldn't have lots of them. Bats are cheap, after all. Perhaps as your mobile telepathic link, you have your "children," which explains why there are so few of them. Making an additional one would be a fairly expensive process, and would require a large enough empire in order to support the additional drain on your human chattel (a.k.a. blood supply). The fighting forces could be "the enthralled minions," the humans you have under control.

lewpuls's picture
Joined: 04/04/2009
Not appropriate

Why would you try to make a Euro about undead/vampires? Euros are abstract, by and large, and a major emphasis is on reducing direct conflict and direct competition. Does that have anything to do with the theme you're suggesting? Hell no. And won't people expect an undead game to reflect the fictional "reality"? I think so. It'd be like making a Euro of the invasion of France in WWII (either one). Does not make sense.

It's your time and effort, tho, more power to you.

Joined: 07/26/2015
I think it's not an Euro

I think it's not an Euro game.
The phrase contains many connotations, of which this game only really uses worker placement, and not even like traditional worker placement in Euro games.
The rules are actually pretty hard to classify. I would say grid based, objective focused combat with a message relaying twist.
I sort of wonder if the message relaying thing will work well. I can envision deadlocks or standoffs occurring often.

To be honest, I don't really like Euro games all that much. I wonder if there's research on how well games sell/ kickstart vs terms used

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I think you should "re-think" what you are designing

While you say your game is a "Euro" game - everything you are talking about such as Vampire, Bats, Direct Conflict, a highly developed theme, etc. seems to be leaning HEAVILY on "Ameritrash". Take a look at the definition:

The only aspect that seems a bit "off" is the amount of LUCK. "Ameritrash" is usually High to Moderate - and your game may have more strategy and less luck.

"Arkham Horror" is "Ameritrash" and it's a highly strategic game also... So that last part of LUCK is a "flexible" aspect of this style of game.

So maybe you're going in the complete OPPOSITE direction of Euros...

polyobsessive's picture
Joined: 12/11/2015
Euro schmeuro

I think that fixating on the Euro/Ameritrash false dichotomy is probably not very helpful. There is no reason why a game that is broadly Euro-style in mechanics can't have a strong and tightly integrated theme. It's just that most of the games that we think of as Euro don't.

To take some "standard" characteristics of many (but not all) Euro games, you could easily have a vampire game that:

  • Has little direct competition between players.
  • Has low levels of chance, and what there is is what is often described as "input randomness".
  • Has victory determined by the accumulation of points, which can be gained in different ways.
  • Does not have player elimination.

And so on. One of the problems is that definitions of what is a Eurogame vary, and it is a particularly broad bucket, and some folk might have "pasted on theme" as one of their key elements (I don't).

I suspect the OP was just trying to give an indicator of some of the elements being brought into the game (resource management being a common Euro element, for instance) rather than strictly define it.

Midnight_Carnival's picture
Joined: 06/17/2015
Ok, dont´have a lot of time, so...

Sorry I didn´t read the whole thing here, might duplicate.
El Kobold, do you know a lot about vamps? I´m just asking because I happen to be one, I am in fact a Vampire Lord and I will flood you continents with a sea of dark screaming blood!!!
-Um, ahem, sorry, got distracted there.
Vampires are solitary egomaniacs with megalomaniac tendencies and unmatched vanity, while bonds between 2 or more Vamps have been known, they are extremely rare, Vampire clans and overarching Vamp conspiracies/secret societies are unlikely simply because Vamps get sick of each other after a few hundred years and want all the blood for themselves. Also, Please, Please no more twilight, Lycanthropy, as with other forms of Therianthropy is a form of magic which can be practised by humans or by Vampires, there is no grand rivalry or conflict between Vamps and (uuurgh, I detest the term!) "Lycans". Factions other than Vamps might be fun but they would probably work on a totally different dynamic, it is kind of like mafia families and religious cults, yes they could compete but...

Otherwise, the game sounds interesting and I like the tactical dynamics, perhaps more on that later although I suspect someone might have covered it. Perhaps a system of lower ranking Vamp thrawls which pay tribute in blood?

Anyway, I must feed soon, I´ll see you again.

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