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castlepunk themed RPG board game: Turbodark

Hi there, I'm David. I make game art and I try to design games. Today I want to tell you about my new game idea.

This is supposed to be a light game for 2-4 players about recruiting misfit adventure seekers and sending them to various quests in an exagerrated dark age fantasy setting full of cultist priests, fanatic crusaders, rogue warlocks, renegade knights, savage elves, sentient golems and stuff like that.

After playtesting an early prototype of a dungeon crawler game I noticed that the most interesting thing was not fighting monsters but creating a party from randomly drawn pool of semi compatible races and professions, cramming them into a party and seing what happens. So this time I want to make a game focused around that and simplifying the dungeoneering aspect of the game.

The game would consist of the following elements:

- the game board with connected locations and two trackers: for time and points
- Race and profession cards that will form heroes in a way similar to that from "smallworld"
- quest cards and location cards that will have to be combined also. Quests consist of task cards.
- task cards that show what skills are required to pass complete them.
- action tokens in place of dice that will be drawn for the quest phase.
- 3 player pawns per player. One for the map and the rest for tracking time and points.
- special cards that can be used to influence the game

The basic game loop should look like this:
- All players start in the same location. each player has a pawn on a the start of a time tracker and on the 10th place of point tracker
- Player draws some race cards and combines them with randomly drawn profession cards.
- Players bid for the heroes they find most valuable and they pay with points.
- Next the player draws some quest cards and combines them with location card. Those quests stay until somebody completes it or fails it.
- Player may travel to a different location. He moves his pawn there and then moves his time tracking pawn forward based on the distance and the difficulty of the path.
- If there is a quest in his current location he may want to engage. Depending on the result, the quest can take more or less time and grant you bigger or lesser rewards.
- Ending the quest marks the end of turn for the player. Next player in line is the player last on the timeline, just like in "Thebes" for example.

Game ends when all players reach the end of the timeline. Then the player with the highest score wins.

how heroes work:
- Each hero is a combination of a random race and profession card.
- Heroes allow the player to draw action tokens during quests. The number of these tokens is determined both by the race and profession. Furthermore every profession has different ways of handling the action tokens. generally, every race and every profession has some favourite actions, so if they draw action tokens of other types, they will mulligan them.
- action tokens are drawn from the token sack.
- list of action tokens:

how quests work:
- Quest cards have a number of tasks. When player gets to the quest location, he draws that many task cards.
- tasks require a number of specific actions to pass them.
- Player draws the ammount of action tokens according to his heroes action capacity. Then he may mulligan certain tokens according to his party traits.
- After that player must assign actions to the tasks to complete them. For every incomplete task player will suffer certain penalty.
- Upon finishig the quest, player gets a reward and has to pay his heroes their share... If the heroes made it to the end.
- Player can also disband heroes from his party and recruit new ones. The bigger the party the more actions can be drawn per quest and more difficult quests can be accomplished. But his party is also more expensive, as they have to be paid after every quest.

This is the basic idea. Now I have to make a prototype and test how it plays out. I will introduce other ideas after some initial playtesting. I will also share my thoughts.

Some more details about the game and the rules:
- players can bid for heroes but not for quests. Heroes work for the highets bidder, quests are given to those who get to them first (and are willing to take it).
- If more than one player wish to embark on the same quest, they can race for it. They place their pawns in the same location and whoever gets there first, i.e. is behind the other one on the timeline, will get the quest. If they arrive at the same time, they will have to flip a coin.
- different locations give different odds for drawing certain kinds of races or professions. And also quest types. If a player draws those cards and they are not native to the location, player will mulligan them. Same thing with quests.
- Hero cards can be drawn only when location has a tavern.
- quest cards can be drawn when location has a guild.
- quest crads have to be drawn along with the location cards that will indicate where this quest can be resolved.

I think that wil be all for now. I will write an update after some initial playtesting.


Initial Thoughts

It's always exciting and interesting to read other designers' new concepts. I'm curious as to how this turns out. Here's some feedback based on what you listed above.

- I suggest you find ways to increase player interaction. At this point the options seem to be bidding on heroes and taking quests. Maybe there's a way you can incorporate "subocontracting" task cards, hiring on an adventurer from someone else's party to complete tasks for you? This might only work if the adventurer shares the same area and/or is within a few spaces on the timeline of the active party.
- Have you thought of ways to upgrade hired adventurers, either with "level-up" or gathered equipment?
- What's the penalty for failing a task? Keep in mind that, if the penalty is an adventurer is discarded (like being "slain" on the quest), that means the player pays less, which actually incentivizes failing tasks.
- What's the end-game state? You mention a point tracker, but what's urging players along in the game other than the race for different adventurers and first-take at quests? Is there a limit to the number of quests or adventurers available? Do a certain number of quests need to be finished within a certain amount of time? Is there a "boss monster" at the end that needs to be defeated once a certain quest threshold is met, or when an adventurer reaches a certain point on the timeline?

Lots of questions, and I know that without playtesting you may not have answers yet. But it's all worth thinking about especially this early on in the design. The answers you develop can help you with designing your game as it evolves.

Best of success to you! :D

Hi there, thanks for the

Hi there, thanks for the feedback! I had to put that project aside for, at least for some time because of work. I haven't even logged in since then and so I just read the comment a moment ago. But I actually managed to create a working digital prototype on tabletopia. So form some playtesting I see that the basic gameplay loop works and even though it's very simplistic.

I had similar ideas about players joining forces to take on a quest. I needed to playtest the core mechanic first.
failing a task makes the quest take more time. Each missing action token results in pushing the party token forward on the time tracker. You are right that loosing party members might be beneficial, the game allows you to treat your heroes as expandable resources. But I also wanted to implement some kind of morale/reputation mechanic to account for this. It was just too many systems to include in the initial prototype.
I have several ideas regardig the game's end goal. one of them is having a final quest for a well prepared party. but that would require having some kind of party progression. Or maybe just being able to afford a big enough party to finish the quest before time tracker ends and be able to pay all the surviving heroes afterwards.

I'm currently working as a visual director on several video games and I don't have much time for prototyping anymore. But I plan to revive the project someday. Maybe I will be able to sell the idea to one of the teams I worked with and make it a digital board game, since it would make the prototyping stage much easier.

So thanks again for taking the time to read through the notes and sharing your thoughts!

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