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BOARD GAME (Development Part 2)



So after getting some basic movements down and roughing in some combat, the game started to resemble the game from faded days of yore. However, the edges were still really rough and I hadn't fully put my finger on what the character stats meant. Since sometimes the only way ahead is through, I just kept playing very small micro-games with a rudimentary board and a singular goal (reach the end), to see exactly what gaps were glaringly obvious and needed to be filled.
The first was monster spawning. As a kid, I used to just have monsters appear wherever I felt like and would mix the concept of a board game with the concept of playing with action figures. Hence, this is a graveyard, so a skeleton should probably appear here. That doesn't translate to the open market, so I had to figure out a system that would generate monsters for players to battle. If I were programming an RPG this would be a lot easier. Realizing that same concept in a board game, without resorting to AD&D level charts and graphs would require some ingenuity on my part.
Second, I had to fine tune the combat system. The legacy system I had was decent, but battles could be draw out for an absurd amount of time. The old system had characters getting knocked down and recovering nearly endlessly, so winning was more a matter of luck than skill. Your average tabletop gamer wasn't going to be interested in rolling dice for 20 minutes just to kill a snake. So reasonable limits needed to be put on the combat system to make sure battles were more manageable and enjoyable.
Third, character development. My legacy list of characters was short, but rich. However, it also relied greatly upon the HeroQuest miniatures I was using way back when as well as my memory of which name referred to which character. "Tamorlin" is great if you have any idea which miniature Tamorlin was, or what his basic deal was (barbarian? warrior? wizard?). So I decided to use the old list as a very basic reference and just start over with some very basic archetypes: Amazon, Barbarian, Knight, Wizard and so on. Enemies would be equally basic: Skeleton, Necromancer, Orc, Ogre, etc. from there I could eventually make things more interesting and specific.

Things were coming along quickly and rather well. Most of all I was having a lot of fun. The old magic was back and it felt good to flex some creative muscles I hadn't flexed in a long while. The key was just to keep playing and discovering where the gaps were that needed to be filled.

Next time around we'll take a look at character development and how to balance compelling depth with user-friendly interface.

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Players of modern dungeon crawling games aren't averse to a few charts. Although most of the games I've seen handle monster spawns by way of card draws, or by the GM playing their own cards in a competitive crawler.


Most crawlers use tiles, so your thoughts above immediately brought to mind area tiles with symbols on them indicating which monster spawn cards would be compatible. For example, a graveyard tile might have a skull symbol on it, so when drawing a monster you can only spawn one with a matching symbol.


In terms of combat in crawlers, I prefer most of my enemies to be popcorn enemies. I want to hit them and remove them from the map. I prefer rolling dice pools, and I certainly don't mind if the monsters get a defense roll. So, there's my two cents.

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This is all very good stuff and very welcome insight. Right now each monster encounter carries a little more weight as there are fewer potential encounters total in the game. However, your "popcorn" enemy idea gives me much to think about. Thank you!

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