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Soul Survivors - a NaGaDeMon game

This is my blog to capture and share experiece of taking part in NaGaDeMon 2012 (National Game Design Month). I'm designing "Soul Survivors" - a short, dice-rolling card game pitting two players in a dystopian battle to preserve lost souls.
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Day 1 - here we go wahey! What I'm up to, where I'm getting it from...

Chris W
United Kingdom
Oxfordshire
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NaGaDeMon, Day 1. I'm fed up of this already. Haha....just joshing. As November stretches ominously before us like a greiving cod, time to share my game plan and what I'm shamelessly cribbing from.

Save Our Souls

My idea for Soul Survivors is something that has been knocking around unfettered in my head for a while, so articulating the theme and mechanics of the game is Challenge Number One. Here goes...

In Soul Survivors, two players are constructing spaceships to ferry the rival survivors of a post-apocalyptic space battle to safety on orbital space stations. The player to save most souls wins.

Play takes place on a board that can accomodate 7x7cards.

Each player constructs their spaceships by playing cards depicting different types of craft. Dice represent a pool of space debris that players can rummage to power, weaponise and protect their ships. They'll have to chose carefully from the resources available to decide their strategy for customising ships: for example, do they want a series of smaller battle ships with powerful weapons to protect their fleet, or a rumbling but heavily defended transporter?

Spaceships are then put into play, carrying tokens representing transported souls and crew. The objective is to transport souls to one of the orbital space station cards that move at random around the board. At the same time, they may attack or be attacked by the opposing player.

These are some of images of the early early prototype. You can see the cards with space for dice (engines, weapons, shields) and tokens (crew, survivors). My idea is that the spaces that can be allocated dice on different ships will have different numerical values required. Players have to choose what type of dice to assign to these: power, weapons, shields or transport space. At the moment, the prototypes are blank - I need to draw up a matrix of different options to work out the balance! That's the next job.

My intention is that each turn will be very simple, with a choice of two (or possibly three actions):
- draw a card
- play a card
- place a die
- move a ship
- attack a ship
- move a survivor


Stimulus Continuous

So where am I drawing inspiration from? And, no, I'm certainly not comparing my game to any of these belters.

Certainly, one of the games that has most impressed me this year has been Eclipse, and I've certainly drawn on this with the idea of being able to customise your space ships. Mine's a lighter approach, but I'm hoping to emulate some of that fun and decision making.

The use of cards lining up in combat draws on Summoner Wars and the mechanic is useful in keeping the game to just a few elements. Should Soul Survivors prove to have a life after NaGaDeMon, there's mileage to be able to add complexity and variation by adding different types of cards.

Using dice for establishing resources comes in part from Kingsburg which I always enjoy. Another tacit influence I guess is Alien Frontiers, particularly within this thematic context. I've not played it, but I'd like to. I'm hoping that I'm doing something slightly different with assigning the dice in that they continue to influence how the cards they are placed on can operate.
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