Dungeon Hunters

March 28, 2013

Okay, okay, I know I probably shouldn't start working on new project with so many other projects in the works, but sometimes it's just the best thing to do.

Besides, now that the art for Forge War is resolved and in the works, I've gotta wait, like, 6 months before all the art is completed and I can actually take it out into the sunlight, which is sad. Sure, there are aspects that still need some tooling with, but not six months' worth.

On the other hand, a new board game project has been snowballing in my head since last week and I just had to sit down and get it all out there before I lost the inspiration to do so. So it is called Dungeon Hunters, and I see it as sort of combination of D&D and Sentinels of the Multiverse.

After developing Forge War, I got super-excited about it and brought it to the board game night I go to every week, thinking everyone would want to play it and it would be awesome. But then I realized a lot of them liked playing fast games that didn't require too much in-depth thinking. I'm fully confident there is a market of people like me out there who will love Forge War, but the percentage of those type of people that attend MY game night are very small.

It took me a while, but I got over that.

Admittedly, Forge War is a super-heavy game. You get into it, and if you love using your brain at full capacity to overcome complex, multi-leveled challenges, it's a blast and you'll have a great time. Otherwise, eh, it's probably not for you.

So I started thinking about Sentinels of the Multiverse, which is a cooperative super-hero game where players team up using characters with vastly different mechanics to take down super-villains and their minions. Everyone loves it. I think it's pretty great and I enjoy it every time I play it. What is so great about it is its diversity. There are loads of different characters to chose from, and, as I said, they all have vastly different play-styles and they all interact differently with one another. So if you're in a group of four people, and you each try out a new character every time you play, the combinations are essentially endless, especially when you add in the multitude of villains and environments you can play against. Plus the villains and environments are fully automated so that nobody is stuck with the sole job of controlling them. Everyone gets to be a hero, and the games go by pretty fast.

And I'm not out here just trying to copy Sentinels. Variance of gameplay and an automated enemy just seemed like really solid game aspects that I decided to play around with. And I decided to play around with them in a D&D-like tactical combat setting, because that shit is totally awesome, too. I also moved it to a hex grid and took out the randomness because I am me and that is what I would do. I also had to keep the rules simple, because that's important when trying to reach out to a wider audience. Some people will sit through 30 minutes of rules explanation to play an awesome game, but some people would rather just learn the rules of a faster game in 2 minutes and be done before the other one is even started. Sentinels has "play a card, use a power, draw a card." My game has "take 2 actions - move, attack or play a card." Simple.

So what we end up with is highly tactical hex-grid-based combat against an enemy that has monster-specific "behavior" rules that govern all their actions. And each player delves into the dungeon to defeat this host of monsters using one of a wide variety of "tribes." And each tribe interacts with the simple mechanics of the game in unique ways based on the tribes population, stats, traits and ability cards. And there's no randomness because players can chose their starting hand of cards and chose which card to draw into their hand when they are allowed to draw a card. And hitting in combat is just based on 2 simple stats - attack and defense. If your attack is higher than their defense, you hit, and the amount of damage you do is the difference between the numbers.

Simple! And great! I'm working out the power cards for the 8 tribes I have so far and I'm pretty excited. Once I get that done, I'll work out some monsters and start play-testing. And hopefully there will be some semblance of a great game in the chaos of the surely grossly unbalanced initial version!

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