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 Copyright Eric Pietrocupo

E-Mail: ericp[AT]lariennalibrary.com

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Larienna's Dark Tower

Page: GameIdea.GameIdea-DarkTower - Last Modified : Fri, 17 Jun 16 - 584 Visits
How much do you like this idea?

0 stars Not rated yet

Very Good (10/10) The game is very interesting, make it as soon as possible.
Good (8/10) Great idea but some modifications are required.
Fair (6/10) Interesting but a lot of things are missing.
Bad (4/10) Would need to completely redesign the idea in order to work.
Very Bad (2/10) It will never be interesting, abandon the idea.
Already Exist (0/10) Do not waste time on this game idea.

Status: CLOSED

  • Rules should fit on a page.
  • Multi player game but very simple since playable by kids.
  • Game is relatively small and has few components.
  • Non mandatory negotiation makes it a board game only, lot of trash talk opportunity
  • Might be more like a family game so also required as a board game.
  • Put on hold because not a solitaire game.

Progress: Partly Designed
Priority: Medium
Number of players: 3 - 6 players
Expected Play time: 30 - 60 minutes


Each faction control units and heroes to move those units. They try to fight each other in order to control the tower. The players need to control the tower for a certain number of turn to successfully decrypt the entrance and gain access to the tower to win the game.


Each faction has unique abilities and the game will offer a basic and advanced rule mode. The objective is to make the basic game accessible to younger kids while making the advanced game enjoyable by teenagers and adults.


The duel masters duel of creatures board game had an interesting combat mechanic. But in fact what I want to use is a variant I intended to design for that game by adding units cubes to accompany the heroes.

Priority Evaluation

Theme vs Mechanics: This game is based on theme, but was set aside until I could borrow mechanics from another game. The mechanics are working.
Video vs Board Game: This game have to be a board game due to the light negotiation and trash talk required.
Single vs Multi player: This game must be a multiplayer game due to the competition of rushing to the center
Rating = 10/12


  • Combat: Combat is pretty simple, each hero makes you roll a nb of dice that will kill ennemy units. Units that accompany an hero are like it's HP, when it runs out of units it dies.
  • Victory: Be present around the tower at the start of your turn grant you a VP token. You need to accumulate X to win.
  • Board: The board is circular where the number of areas the players can occupy is reduce as the players get closer to the tower. There will be 2 sides to the board, one for a 3-4 player game and another for a 5-6 player game.
  • Actions: You basically engage a battle, move all units and spawn new units during your turn.
  • Faction ability: Each faction will have a special ability that will bend a rules. THis is for the advanced rules.
  • Faction Cards: Each faction will have a small set of cards with different abilities for each of them. The cards are used differently from a faction to another and they are only used in the advanced rules.
  • Nemesis: Larienna has summonned a nemesis creature for each of the faction to avoid them to easily reach the tower. Player can move the nemesis of other players to prevent them from winning.

Problems that prevent development

The problem I expect is that the strategy is too easy, or there is only 1 path to victory. The other problem is balancing the special powers between factions which can be a pain. Some could be game breaking while others could be not enough powerful. Finally, games where people rush for the center can be very problematic and prone to run away leader syndrome (like in Nexus Ops). I hope the Nemesis mechanic will counter that effect.

There are new issues regarding the fact that clockwise turn order might be broken. But I still want something quick and easly playable by kids. Else there might not be much reasons to spread on the board. It seems staying focused in few groups to be a better strategy. I want to promote 2 paths to victory, speed or strength.

News, changes and updates

March 18th, 2014: I made my first prototype using generic pieces. I only played the core rules without special abilities and cards. I had to change or try certain rules during the playtest, but for a first play, the results were very positive. The game is almost working right from the start if I include the tweaks I have done while playing. It's fine if the core mechanics are working pretty fast, because the biggest part of the job is to balance the special powers.

April 12th, 2014: Things are progressing pretty fast. The game seems to be almost working. It work much faster than before and seems much more elegant. I have not designed special abilities yet, I wait for the core of the game (basic rules) to work first.

Related Threads

Board game Geek: How to manage blocked retreat (Mar 2014)
Board Game Designer Forum: How to manage Blocked Retreat (Mar 2014)
Board game Geek: Random production system: Making it fair and strategic (2014)
Board Game Designer Forum: Random production system: Making it fair and strategic (2014)

Prototype Pictures

First Improvised Prototype

April 2014 prototype for core rules without artifacts.

Development Log

22-Mar-2014IdeaI think I found my production mechanic. See the forum thread in the list above. I wanted a random mechanics which players has a few decision and is not disadvantaged by bad luck. I think I have it, I'll try it in the next playtest.
13-apr-2014InfoThing are going pretty well. The core rules seems to be working. I need to design and test artifacts. I am going to start making a print and play prototype to make it playable with real players or be able to ship the game to players on the internet.
18-apr-2014IdeaIn order to balance the map with less players, I indend to place neutral units on the board to occupy the space when there is an odd number of players (3 or 5). I might also reduce the nb of artifacts on the board by 1.
19-apr-2014IdeaI am thinking of using rotating turn orders. The advantage is that the first player will not always get to the center first and players will need to spend nb of players -1 turn on the center to score a point making it easier to score. I defenitely going to try this on my next play test.

Playtest Log

DateResultsPlay TimePlayersDescription
18-Mar-2014PositiveApprox. 60 min.SolitaireFirst playtest using basic rules and improvised components. Results were impressive for a first game. Adjustments needed to be made through the game to be playable.
22-Mar-2014Average1h45SolitaireThe new production system seems nice. But I think I have identified a bad pattern for movements and attacks that creates some sort of system whenre players send waves of units that eventually reach the center. I might try a different solution where there is territory control. Maybe players will be asked to make a sypply line to the center instead.
22-Mar-2014AverageApprox 20 min.SolitaireI made an octoganal 6 player map and tested with only pawns the system. Same problem as above and the no territory control mixup all the colors making it hard to analyze the board. Because not only there are players but also nemesis. I might try forcing players to play at least 1 nemesis each turn to make sure they get moved.
26-Mar-2014AverageApprox 90 nin.SolitaireI tried moving all units everyturn in order to test territory control with chains of troops. The concept is interesting, but still too slow. I had to remove the nemesis to make it easier to reach the center. Probably the nemesis will be used once near the end of the game only. The biggest problems right now is that the progression is too slow. I cannot make the core rules works under an hour. I might try a 4 player game with a bigger map in case the map is the problem. That means that 6 player will need and even bigger map.
9-apr-2014PositiveApprox 20 min x2SolitaireI made 2 mini playtest by moving only hero arounds. This time, I tried making force retreat move player out until they find a safe spot. I worked pertty nice, but I could not test forced troop depletion. I tested players around the tower score instead of center, so up to 2 VP per turn, and the game goes much faster now. I tested with 3 heroes and a smaller 2-3-5 space board and it worked pretty well. So the results are very positive. I would need to make a full test with troops and dice rolls. If everything goes well, I might have the core of the game.
10-apr-2014Positive40 minSolitaireI tested with all the rules except the nemesis and it worked pretty well. Forced retreat, multiple VP, smaller board and 3 heroes works pretty well. I tried a more restricctive board and it seems to be interesting. It gives an interest to move sideways, and force players to make alliances to kick out players they cannot reach. To balance the board, I intend to add defense bonus to territories that can only invade 1 inward territory. I'll have to redesign and test the 6 player map to see if things go as well. I might add artifact soon since they will be part of the basic rules. I intend to make nemesis appear when a player get's 2VP. So it's really for the end of the game to avoid run away leader and add some chaos.
11-apr-2014Positive50 minSolitaireI tested further and it was nice. I think one way territories will gain attack bonus instead of defense bonus. The goal is to counter the lack of attack path. So it makes more sense for example to give a +2 dice to attack. I tried the nemesis, interesting, not sure if players should be forced to move one each turn. There might be some issues regarding turn order (currently clockwise) since 1st player get in the middle and score first. But last player managed to conquer the inner ring too, so it might be balanced.
12-apr-2014Positive35 minSolitaireI tested withall the rules, except the artifacts, until the end and the results were very interesting. Only the player order might be a problem, but I am not so sure. I will start making a playable PnP Prototype soon and try to continue playtesting intensively.
17-apr-2014Positiveapprox 50 minSolitaire, 6 p.This is the second play test I made with 6 players, but I now used the new rules. The results are impressive. I think the game is much better at 6 which is the primary goal of the game. I am happy that both maps seems to work for the right nb of players. Nemesis also seem to work, It's not a perfect mechanic bu they do their job.
18-apr-2014Positive30 minSolitaire, 4 p.I tried adding artifacts, the acquisition is not a problem but the resolution is kind of bad. I will need to change the special abilities to avoid conflicts during resolution. Players should only be able to affect their own rolls. The rule space is also limited, so I have little special ability options for those artifacts.

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