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Eldritch Express

Page: GameIdea.GameIdea-EldritchExpress - Last Modified : Mon, 07 Feb 22 - 5170 Visits
How much do you like this idea?

4 stars Rating 7.1/10 from 20 votes
Vote Distribution: 5 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 4 – 11


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: OPEN
Status: Released
Priority: Average
Release Date: December 7th 2015, more "officially" in may 2016
Number of players: 1 - 4 players
Play time: 60 - 90 minutes

Description

This game is an express dice game adaptation of Eldritch Horror similar to the Arkham Express dice game. It borrows ideas from Eldritch Horror, Arkham Horror, Arkham Express and Elder Sign. The goal is to make a short and small game that could fit into a small fantasy flight expansion box.

As all lovecratian games, the goal is to prevent an ancient one from awakening by moving around the world to close gates and solve mysteries. You use the “dice express” mechanics to perform your actions and encounter hasards. You will gather clue, items, spells and artifact to make your quest easier and give you a chance to fight monsters. The combat system is deterministic, so you know for sure if you are going to die or become insane. So you might consider an injury or a madness instead, it's hard to live with it, but at least you remain alive.

Inspiration

Arkham Express is a source of inspiration for the format of the game and some dice roll ideas. Else the game play mimic Eldritch Horror in a more streamlined fashions. Some ideas, like the omen track, has been taken from the Elder Sign clock. Finally ideas has been take from Arkham Horror too especially for monster combat.

Digitizability

+ no Cartography: The cartography is extremely simple and can be done with a simple graph (only 6 space).
? Scripting: Scripting is currently required, but I wonder if could be simplified to allow digital testing.

The main issue with a digital version of this game is to handle double cards.

Mechanics

You basically assign yourself to a task, roll the dice using the express method, and use your roll to fulfill your objectives. Gain rewards or conditions, advance the omen track and repeat the process. If there are monsters on the space you need to fight them first of course.

One of the innovating element is that you do not roll dice for resolving combat, since you are already rolling enough dice. it is only deterministic, so you know if yes or no you are going to survive the battle. This add a lot of strategy to the game.

So far, compared to Arkham Express, all items, artifact and spells etc have their own unique abilities which keep an interesting flavor to the game. I intend to use Strange Eons software to make the components of the game. I'll probably re-use fantasy flight's artwork.

Prototype Pictures

For now, you can get it from board game geek:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/2361584/larienna

I did not assemble yet the new Printable prototype yet.

News, changes and updates

May 21st 2016: I remade almost all the print outs. Mostly I added picture and made all the graphic design of the small cards which is awesome. I won't be able to finish the rest of the print out for now, so partially colored pages will only be available for now. There has been little changes in the rules, at most a spell changed name and a new spell was added.

October 11th, 2017: I got new ideas to reuse some concepts in the design of this game to implement it into another horror themed game (castlevania style). The idea is to make the game publishable without copyright issue. Many ideas could be taken from that other [http://bgd.lariennalibrary.com/index.php?n=GameIdea.GameIdea201004181034AM | game idea ], in fact they could both fusion together.

Like many game ideas, the ideas comes in rapidly, you start writing and eventually you hit a wall, and this is where the design stop and you have to wait a year or two before the solution comes in. Anyway, here is a description of the new game idea according to the components I intend to use. As you'll see, there will be a lot of similarity with Eldritch Express. The main goal is to reduce the number of components and give more explanations why things happen.

  • Europe Map: The game will take place in europe. There will be 6 areas with each 6 cities connected by train or ship. The area around cities are called wilderness and they are all haunted. Some cities could be: London, Paris, Vienna, Rome, Madrid or Seville or Lisbon, Athens, berlin, Istambul.
  • Character cards, player pawns: Each player will have a character that contains various stats and a player pawn to move around the board.
  • Skill cards, Usable weapons: There will be some skill cards, think of them as feats in D&D, and spells. Some of them will be character specific, some of them will be acquirable by many characters. The idea is to remove the need of expandable items and spell cards. There could be also usable weapons with a certain amount of ammo that could be like a limited use feat until resupplied. A cube could keep track of the ammo. Think of it like in castlevania: Dagger, Holywater, thrown axe, etc.
  • Mana, Stamina cubes: The character health is the maximum stamina, and the character sanity is the maximum mana. They can be recovered with resting and they are used for character feats and spells.
  • Condition Cards: It's possible that all wounds are actually condition cards, to actually explain why you are wounded. So like in Eldritch express, it gives you a negative effect and reduce you max health or sanity.
  • Artifacts cards: I tried to remove most expandable and acquirable cards. I think artifacts will remain but it could be specific to the scenario you are playing, so very few used per game.
  • Boss chart : Each boss chart is a scenario in it self. It changes the rules and it needs to fill up is progress track to win. Meanwhile the players need to fill up their tracks in order to find the boss and kill/banish him. Then maybe a final battle occurs (to be defined).
  • Event cards, and event markers : Each boss will have a small set of event cards (like mysteries in EH) and maybe a second set of cards could also be used. Those events will put markers on the board that will change the behavior of the game. After a certain time, if the player failed to counter the event card, the villain will progress on his victory track. Else, the effect is countered and a new card will be drawn during the right omen. Players's progress could also be done with event cards like mysteries in EH.
  • Threat tiles : This is an important change, they are"monster" tile that can represent any kind of threat present in a wilderness location which can be other things than monsters. There will be much less tile than in EE. Each tile increase the threat for traveling in that location and could inflict damage or conditions on the characters if triggered. Not sure yet how they are triggered. Players can optionally try to resolve those threat to remove them from the board and make the area safer to walk by. Those tiles could be scenario specific, or partially specific.
  • Omen Track : Same thing as EE, each turn, the track advance and various things happen. Not sure if the 2:1:1 ratio will be kept, or if a 5 or 6 position track could be used instead.
  • Action dice : There will be 5 action dice where each side is an action the player can take. Characters could have a focus stat allowing them to re-roll a certain number of dice. I am not exactly sure of the faces yet, so far it could be: travel (train/boat), rest, research, investigate, assault, infiltrate. Maybe any die could be spent to do a regular movement (no train) on the map. There is no more threat face, they are integrated on the threat tiles.
  • Clue and research tokens : They will be different tokens, clues are acquired in the wilderness, while research are acquired in cities and they each can be spent to increase your performance to succeed. Some tokens could be specialized and give more points vs certain type of encounters. There could also be experience tokens that could be spent this way. Or experience acquired will only make you draw clue and research tokens.

This is it so far. The huge problem is how to resolve the threat and encounters. Not sure if I want to use a random approach, or simply a compare a value approach. I liked the deterministic battles in Eldritch Express, it could be interesting to redo something similar. Could character have stats and simply compare value for pass fail. I am also not sure how treats get triggered. Maybe roll a die per threat, or a skill check. So this is the biggest problem I can see so far without testing the game.

December 10th, 2018: The idea to retheme and quick fix the game came back to the subject to realized that I could design many other games with the same system, from cyper punk to indiana Jones, and give each game a twist of their own. Still I now had to find a similar yet different theme that could be used to convert the current game under a new theme.

The theme I chosen is Steam Punk with Esoteric Magic (like people pretend having today, but that really works). The ancient ones will actually be demons that tries to corrupt the world, the heroes and try to invade or control the world. Demons from various mythologies could be used as a source of inspiration. The game will still take place in the whole world. I looked into game crafters for components to build up the game. I know the map will use the 8"x16" board, but that's all.

Now that Eldritch Horror is out many expansions, there are plenty of new ideas I could integrate in the game including some new ideas of my own. I am not sure how far I want to go in changing the game as it will demand much more tweaking and testing, but would create a better core system for the other themes. Here are a few new mechanics ideas with some justifications behind.

  • Quest cards: In order to prevent quarter backing and give players reasons to go somewhere besides for extinguishing fires, players would acquire quest cards that gives a destination with an opportunity to resolve an encounter that will give them a certain reward. Only the quest card holder can fulfill the quest, but maybe they could exchange it with other players it they meet with each other.
  • Skills: Skills are back, using 4 or 6 values. But there is no randomness, so it will only be used for comparison. Which could add a lot of strategy to the game. Clues could be spent to increase the value, but also conditions could be taken to increase the value due to taking heavy risks.
  • Reduction of cards: I want to reduce the number of stack of cards in the game. I might combine spells, items, and artifacts into 2 deck called: "Materia" and "Spiritus" for material or spiritual cards. They will both contain mundane or artifacts cards. Each card will have a value, and the source of the reward would state up to which value you can pickup a card. The condition cards will contain both positive and negative effect (but that could require 2 decks), so I am not sure.
  • Reduction of text abilities: The elegance of Elder Sign is it's simplicity. Text abilities add more depth and uniqueness, but it makes the game less accessible. I will try to keep a certain level of depth but without text. It's also easier to balance when you only use numbers and icons.
  • Monster/encounter deck: I thought of removing monsters from the board and only place them on cards flipped during encounters. It makes much more sense than having monsters on the map defend the whole North America. Encounter cards could contains other things than monsters like traps for example. The flipping of cards could be push you luck mechanism a la Port Royale until the right number of cards is flipped, until you flee or die.
  • Threath/Encounter tiles: The map will contains locations/encounters tiles you can investigate. It's in fact anything localised the player can interact with to make the game progress. It could also contains treath that change the rules of the game in a certain area for example. It could work as a card, but the idea of having it as a tile, is that players could interact with it to stop it. Those tiles could use generic icons and have a different meaning according to the demon the heroes are fighting against.
  • Characters and misc.: Sanity will be replaced by corruption. Players will simply become evil, and working for the demon in play when the corruption reach it's maximum. All chatacters will have a max of 6 HP/corruption to fit on a 6 sided die, but the skill level will make it lose at different speed. There will only be 3 action dice where each of them equals an action. Probably threat faces will be removed, since there is enough problems elsewhere.

As you can see, the new rules either streamline mechanics, makes them more thematically logical, increase depth, reduce components, etc. But like I said, the more rules I change, the more playtest I need. If I succeed, I hope in publishing using gamecrafters and eventually as a digital mobile game.

March 6th, 2019: This should probably go into another page, but since it's a continuity of this game, I might as well post it here. I want to make a new version of this game with similar yet different mechanics and a different theme to allow publishing through game crafters and possibly digitally with android. I intend to use a steam punk theme, but the goal is to create a reusable system that could be applied to different cooperative games where the goal is to save the world. Other possible themes are for example Cyberpunk and Indiana Jones.

I am trying to keep the number of components low and make the game less fiddly. I also try to avoid certain issues that Eldrich Horror and Arkham Horror had especially regarding the lack of choice and randomness. So I am for example thinking in combining encounter cards with items and conditions, to reduce the number of cards. I want encounter to have 2 interesting choice so that you can evaluate the risk and rewards. I also want to avoid quarterbacking by having investigation cards which are secret to each player. They can open up quest and rewards depending on how you want to use them. I also want to avoid the paper weight characters that need to build up their assets to be competitive again (like in elder sign).

I am not sure if that would be my first digital game since there is a lot of text abilities in this game, and that is bad as it requires coding each card manually. The compactness of the game might also give me little space for artwork, which means that icons would probably be the only thing I'll have space for which should be easier to draw.

The only problems that severely handicap my production capacity is the amount of free time I have and my sickness.

April 3rd, 2019: I made a rule draft for the Steampunk fantasy game and so far it looks great. I have 2 issues so far, first how the encounters are resolved. I know there is 2 choice, and there is a Fibonacci die + attribute to resolve. I am not sure yet how the consequences will be applied. The second problem is the lack of mathematics. Yep, that seems weird, but since there is little numbers, it's hard to design special abilities that will affect the rules. This is mostly due to the removal of monsters on the board.

Now since there are many new mechanics, I thought that instead of creating a new game immediately, it could be wiser to upgrade Eldritch Express to version 2.0 with some of those new idea, so that the transition to the new game will be easier. It would make EE more solid, and maybe more popular. It would reduce the need to playtest new mechanics as it would already have been done with EE. It's also easier to test new mechanics when you have an already working game. So here are the changes I intend to port so far to EE. I have not yet researched other Eldritch Horror expansions to see what I could integrate to the game.

  • Saving the world: EE will now be part of a game system I will call "Saving the world". All new theme will use the same system with a few twist of their own.
  • Turn order: The turn order in EE is so complicated, now it is much more streamlined: Upkeep, Actions, Encounters, Mythos. That will require removing the threat from the face of the dice which will now only contain actions. You do your action then you chose an encounter to face.
  • Investigation/quest: To reduce quarterbacking, players will draw quest cards where they need to go to a location and perform an encounter. If they succeed, the elder sign progress. Not sure if clue tokens would be required like in the new game. So during the encounter phase you either face threat or fulfill a quest.
  • Attributes: Character attributes are back. They will be used to resolve encounter check. They will basically roll 1 regular die + the attribute value + clue tokens. The encounter will have a TN number to reach in order to succeed.
  • Action dice: There will now only be 3 action dice with a similar roll and keep system. But once rolled, you can set 1 die aside to focus which increases all your attributes by 1 for the encounter to come. You can also discard a die to change the face of a die to any faceyou want. This will prevent situations where a character cannot move.
  • New actions: The faces will be similar, but there will be new actions. Cities will now be an action, you might need to roll die + attribute to find items and spells in cities (not sure). There will also be a skill die allowing players to use their character skill when rolled. I'll see which skill can be converted for limited use.
  • Cardification: It will be optionally possible to have all tokens as cards which you insert on the edge of the board instead of placing tokens on the map. That could clean up a bit the board. It could also be possible to only put gates and mysteries off board on cards, and keep monsters on board with tokens or vice versa.
  • Gate and Mystery localizing: I might also integrate this to the game since the tokens are there anyway. Instead of rolling for gate placement, the location will be placed on the token that you draw randomly instead. You might have 2 gate tokens so that monster surges are possible. This would balance the load of threat and monsters around the board. Clues could remain random with a die as it prevent players from printing unique clue tokens. It's still a print and play game, and there is enough printing already.
  • Revamp Expeditions: Expedition will change as they are rarely used, They might be part of another series of 6 or 12 tokens that spawn once per omen clock. They would be optional and they would give rewards, especially artifacts which are currently hard to get.
  • Contacts: Allies will now be changed as contacts. They will need to be put on additional cards, they basically give you a special ability but in a specific location. The abilities are very basic, they are normally guaranteed actions, or attribute bonus.
  • Location abilities: Maybe there will be no location abilities anymore. Or it will simply affect the odds to find spells, items, contacts or even artifacts during city actions. Contacts will most likely give those special locations abilities.
  • much more cards: As you can see with all the above, there will be much more cards. In the new games, some cards has been combined together to save space (for example: investigation card has a contact at the top and a skill to train at the bottom), but unfortunately here I am not sure it would be possible. I'll have to first remove any for of tapping which could break some parts of the game. You can still mark exhausted cards with a generic token, it's not impossible. I could design for example cards cut in half, you either use the left or right side of the card. But I need to design bigger character cards with some space to insert the unused half of the card under the character sheet. It could also be an optional way of printing the game.
  • Maybe more unique ancients: I'll see if I could make the ancient have a more unique gameplay rather than a single ability. The main problem is playtesting, if they all work alike, there is less playtesting to do for each of them.

There might be a few new ideas I decide to import later. I'll integrate those changes gradually and once ready, I'll post the second edition. I might take the time to finish the graphic design of the components.

September 9th 2019: I am somewhat locked down with this idea because I think I try too much to modify all mechanics, which forces me to do research. The idea should be that each new game diverge slightly from the previous game and make the mechanics progress. One of the issue I am dealing with is the illogicalness of having monsters roaming the world on such a big scale. Yet, the monster tokens seems to break the game when removed.

So one idea is to make the world smaller, like a continent. I could use my Acanda theme with the dry lands on the south. Or I could make it an even more local, like a region. which would make monsters on map makes more sense. The only problem now is that it makes no sense to call it the "save the world" system, still it's just a name, it can be changed. Thematic wise, a lower scale would always make more sense and be more personal. The map layout does not really matter since it's always a 2x3 grid unless I want to go in another direction.

I would use many mechanics from the new game, but regarding combat, I would use the old system. Not sure about skill check for resolving encounters. The idea is to use the old game, and gradually fix thing and make the game migrate to the new game and new theme. Then stop when the game is mature enough.

Documents

Version 1.1

Rules - Eldritch Express - v.1.1 ( 86 K - May 21st, 2016 )
Print Outs - Map Cards and Tokens- Eldritch Express - v.1.1 ( 4 Meg - May 21st, 2016 )
Print Outs - Small cards front- Eldritch Express - v.1.1 ( 5.2 M - May 21st, 2016 )
Print Outs - Small cards back inverted order- Eldritch Express - v.1.1 ( 1.7 M - May 21st, 2016 )
Print Outs - Small cards back straigth order- Eldritch Express - v.1.1 ( 1.7 M - May 21st, 2016 )
Note: On most printer, in inverted card order should be used. It depends on if the pages needs to be flipped or not when printing the back. I had a situation where I did not need to flip the pages with a certain printer.

Another note: I made some last minute update on the rules and small cards on May 25th 2016. Basically changed the intro paragraph and a spell name.

Version 1.0

Rules - Eldritch Express - v.1.0 ( 86K, Dec 7th, 2015)
Print Outs - Eldritch Express - v.1.0 (928K, Dec 7th, 2015)

Before First Release

Rule Draft - Eldritch Express - v.2 (84K, Jan 14th, 2015)
Rule Draft - Eldritch Express - v.1 (78K, Dec 27th, 2014)

Related Threads

Board Game Geek: Encounters: Giving players a choice of action (march 2019)
Board Game Designer Forum: Encounters: Giving players a choice of action
Board Game Geek: New ideas for redesign and retheme of the game (nov 2018)
Board Game Geek: How could I retheme my "Eldritch Express" (nov 2018)
Board Game Geek: Thinking of changing the ways encounter checks are made (Mar 2018)
Board game Geek: Is there any interest for an Eldritch Express game? (dec 2014)

Picture


Steampunk Saving the world: This is the first prototype of the first sequel of eldritch express.

Development Log

DateTypeDescription
7-deb-2021IdeaAnother idea I could recycle is that each encounter is a deck of cards and challenges that you must face all at once, or one at a time with avoid certain encounters, or find an alternate resolution. How you solve each subencounter could affect the others. Threath on the board could increase the number of cards you face, the type of cards you face and give different modifiers to the resolution. The Daemon you are facing also have an impact on the selection of cards.
7-oct-2019IdeaI might have found a solution for encounter resolution, there will be no attributes besides character resources like health, supplies, etc. Each rift and mystery, will have a small track of icons for success and casualties. The player will roll 1 success die and 1 casualty die. The result of the die will determine if A: The player pass for fail the encounter with possible bonus rewards like fate on failure B) the casualties received in health, mind or special condition. Icons are not cumulative as monsters can also inflict casualties. Fate will be used to increase or lower the value on those dice. Each character may have a special way to manipulate the dices or acquire fate in it's on way as a special skill. Optionally, it will be possible to add a penalty to the each roll before rolling to aim for the artifact on the encounter card (a typical penalty could be -1 success +2 casualty). If you have a matching clue as type (there will be 3 types, it could give you a +2 to your success roll if spent after the roll. Not sure if some clues could also be used to reduce casualties (it makes sense). That makes everybody almost equal regarding success vs encounters.
5-oct-2019IdeaThe big issue is how to deal with encounter checks. A) I can use the "One deck dungeon" method where encounters and monsters in the area allow covering faces to avoid casualties ( a choose your casualty system) but less prone to fate spending. b) Else casualties only determined by non-defeated monsters then roll 1D + skill + spend fate to succeed. Die could have boon or bane for additional casualties or rewards.
5-oct-2019IdeaI discovered that I could use monster tokens like in EE but once defeated the tokens remains there, WHich means they act as a form of bestiary in the area that can evolve with time. Players could be allowed to destroy monster lair to remove them from an area.
21-apr-2019ProgressI am currently actively researching all the eldritch horror expansion and redesigning all the content (ex: items, conditions, characters, abilities, etc). The rules are somewhat complete, but it's not where the complexity lies, it's the content of the cards and it's balance that makes the design complex. So I am making an inventory of all those components from various FFG games, then I select what I want and define their rules in my game. I try to reuse stuff from the original game, but it is not always possible.
12-jan-2018IdeaI would eventually like to make a game app of it but the copyright issue seems very complex. A lot of things seems to belong to fantasy flight or toher people even if it's a public domain theme. One idea is to retheme the game in my Living Nightmare settings and could take place only in europe. But many mechanics will have to be changed since the goals of the game are completely different since the equivalent of the "Ancient ones" has already awaken. Else I would need more info about what is actually public domain and what is not public.
17-sep-2016To doI playtested a bit more and there will need to have some clarifications in the rules and minor fixes. Else I'll have to adjust some card text ability. I am even thinking of eventually using icons to be visible in a glance.

Playtest Log

DateResultsPlay TimePlayersDescription
7-apr-2019Positive2 hours (incomplete)4 player soloTried the new ideas to steamline game play. Look at the notes for more details
26-may-2019Positive?? (complete)4 player soloI made a new prototype for the steampunk sequel instead. I tested the game without the cards since they are not designed yet. The results are interesting.

Playtest Notes Summary

April 7th, 2019

This has been a partially improvised play test based on the ideas from the steam punk adaptation of the game. The goal is to be able to test most of the new mechanics inside Eldritch Express.

Some of the rules of mechanics were improvised:

  • Order of play is now streamlined: Upkeep, Actions, Encounter, Mythos
  • I gave the same chart to each city for city action income: 1-3 = item, 3-5 = spell, 6 = contact (which I used as allies for now)
  • Attributes: I pickup 4 characters and gave them 4 attributes between 2 and 5. The names are : Endurance, Observation, Influence, Lore.
  • Skills: Most character had passive skill abilities, I selected 4 characters that could change the die to a specific face. It simulates an active skill and gives 2/6 chance to perform that action.
  • Reused encounter difficulty of the original game, added 1D6 + attribute to resolve + clue tokens. I selected an attribute that made the most sense with the challenge to resolve (ex: gate=lore, City=Influence, mystery=observation, expedition=endurance )
  • Used token to mark character quest locations and gave 1 to each player at start. For now, they all required 3 clue tokens and increased elder sign by 1. 2 were easily completed since character started with 2 clue tokens. I am wondering if they could be used for other things like gathering artifacts and only require an attribute roll modifiable with clues. Starting with 2 clues seems pretty strong in this playtest.
  • reused the action dice, terror=skill, wound=city
  • Action die, you can only keep 1 die at a time. Like Elder Sign accomplishing 1 task at a time. It should increase dilemma on which die to keep and prevent having a lucky roll on start.
  • Expedition will spawn during the green comet phase.
  • I used an extra die with faces +/ /- to add boon and banes to attribute checks.

Observations and ideas:

  • The new action system is very nice, and the turn order is much more awesome than before. I was right about this one.
  • Maybe there should be more diversified condition than physical/mental. Instead of reducing health/sanity, conditions should reduce attributes by 1 instead.
  • Instead of spending sanity to cast spells, instead, the cards are tapped. They can be untapped during a rest actions. While weapons can be untapped during a city actions. That could almost remove the need of an upkeep phase. It also allow players to have 2 spells of the same name.
  • Idea: remove expandable items or make them refreshable. For example, the whisky item could be one time use, but during a city action you can refresh the item. The logic behind it is that you have access to a huge supply of that item. You just need to refill.
  • The hide action will have to be redefined since you do not automatically face monsters at the beginning of the game. So probably you face monsters if you decide to do an encounter. That will prevent you from facing monsters. Maybe it could be more logical if actions are also reduced when hiding to let say 1 or 2 dice. But the problem, you have to choose to hide before rolling the dice, which could screw up the game flow.
  • I am not really sure how condition should be cured anymore. I first thought of using 2 rest action, but that could be too much. Else maybe you need to spend any action die and make an attribute roll matching the condition.
  • Not sure if characters should be allow to make the same action twice. I don't see any issue since the number of encounters are controlled. It's also easier to teach, and rolling twice the same face will not have negative impacts on the players.
  • When there are no encounters, players has nothing to do. Maybe there could be a look for trouble action that has the effect of spawning stuff on the board. It could be a kind of provocation of the enemy. Else the trap setup could be an interesting idea. The next monsters or even that spawns there gets blocked.
  • Bless and cursed will have to be changed. If I decide to add + and - to the die roll, then bless and curse will convert - as + or + as -. Boosting from 33% to 66%.
  • Since the game is print and play, the components need to be accessible. So instead of using a Fibonacci die, it should be more convenient to use a regular die. But if I want the boon (+) and bane (-) faces, I could use the following association of number symbol: 1+, 2, 3-, 4+, 5, 6-. A bit less interesting than the Fibonacci die, and a simple chart could be used as a reminder. Another idea is tho make the split odd/even faces. For example: odd = +, even = -
  • I don't see any reason why there is no mystery spawned on setup. The idea is to avoid having nothing to do on game start.
  • Characters seems to have received less damage than before due to the lack of threat faces on the die. They should occur during encounters. Maybe they could be triggered by boons(+) and banes(-) on the die. Banes would basically mean losing health or sanity as failing the encounter means getting a condition already. There is not much other things that could be lost. Else, for the boon, I have no clue. Maybe experience or clues? Else maybe there is no boon, it's health or sanity. I could use even face to trigger bad effects specified on the encounter which is lose either Health or sanity. So you get a 50% chance to lose 1 point. It's not much, but most of the damages are done by monsters.
  • Not sure if bane/boon mechanics could be used for regular actions that requires a skill roll. Maybe they could trigger 50% boon effect but there is no bane since those actions are not risky.
  • 1 clue is spawn per 2 turns which means that only 18 clues will be spawned though out the game + actions or items that spawn clues + initial clues on start up. Which mean a potential 6-7 quest completable if 3 clues are required. In the steam punk game, I want to gave the card double usage: quest or training, but here, it will not be the case. Still one solution could be to make quests to other things than making the progress increase. BY for example, giving items, clues, artifacts, or skills.
  • Yithian seems a bit hard to deal with. Now it's easier to dodge while hiding. Else you need a banish spell or an ability that makes you avoid a monster. I think the red sign spell can neutralize that special ability. So it will be annoying but doable.
  • in the steam punk game, "Lost in time and space"(LTS) would have been "hell" and you could use rift to actually move there and do special encounters in hell. I am wondering if LTS should be a condition, or a place where you can do thing. Unless I add "Another world" location of board to substitute the idea of "hell". The problem is that I cannot give it a name because there are many of planes. Unless each ancient is associated with a specific other world. Or it's independent of the ancient, at the start of game with pickup 1 other world card and play with it. That could create variety (various combinations of ancient + Other world). Or we use all other worlds like in Arkham Horror 2ns ed (takes more space on the table).
  • I am not sure if I should add experience points that could be spent when you fail encounter rolls. Clues are currently already used for that purpose. Unless I redefine the use of clues, and make them mandatory to close gates or solve mystery(ex: need 1 specific clue), but that might require clue tokens with symbols which is less print and play friendly as it requires specific material. Still, that is what I wanted to use in my steam punk game, so why not test it here. Tokens of multiple colors could be used for generic components.
  • Use more icons on cards than text, prevent the need to read.
  • See if I could convert the artwork as colored sketches. It could make it easier to view monsters and items by cutting their background and focusing on the item. Black and white printing should also make the artwork more clear this way.

May 26th, 2019

This playtest was minimal, it was only about moving around and resolving encounters. There was not threat and no way to upgrade your character.

Random notes

  • What happens in cooperative encounters besides getting the +1. Can I use the helping player's clue to solve an encounter. It could be interesting if I want to favor cooperation between players.
  • Using dice to record resources seems annoying, tracks seems more convenient, but takes more space.
  • I am not sure if travel is too slow. Probably not since with only 2 travel roll, you can reach any destination.
  • Can clue be collected from the astral plane? Maybe all 6 actions are available in the astral plane but they only have 1 usage each.
  • So far, expedition and Ancient ruins were only attempted once. I wonder if it could replace the look for trouble encounter. I could place all expeditions and temple on the board at the start of the game, so that there are available everywhere when a player have nothing to do. Once fulfilled, they are discarded.
  • The clock is a bit confusing if you forget to advance it, but the 5 space system is very interesting when the number of player is 4. The timing is perfect.
  • Sometimes I forget spending clues when succeeding an encounter.
  • Some target number are 5, this means a character with an attribute of 5 gains automatic success. Either increase the TN, or decrease the skill level of all characters by 1.
  • The exp track remained pretty low (max 2) but I guess if threat gives exp once defeated, it would make the track higher.
  • 6 clues remained at the end of the game. Still if a disaster would have not made the doom track advance, another 5 turns of play would have been required.
  • That is a problem, the increase of the 1st point of doom track makes the evil progress 5 turns. Afterwards it's 2.5 turns (0 then 5) since the doom track advance 2 points at a time. I wonder if the jump is too large. There might be some mechanism in game that allow regressing the doom track by 1 which could in certain position gain 5 extra turn or 0. Another solution could be to use a 6 step clock, but I like the 5 step clock.
  • The game ended pretty tight. There was only 2 turns left before defeat. Again, 5 extra turns could have been possible if the disaster did not occur, still we still managed to save 3 disaster from happening, which is already a good thing.
  • There is a possibility that players have little time to do other self-powerup encounters unles they really have nothing else to do. So maybe most power upping activity could remain in actions instead of encounters (ex: research cards, curing conditions, etc) The only exception would be the ancient temples and expedition which are used when there is noting left to do.

Back to my list of Board Games and Ideas

Priority Evaluation

Theme vs Mechanics: The mechanics are borrowed from many lovecraft game. So everything is there and require little research. There is little story telling, but it includes many thematically elements from the original game (Items, spells, etc)
Video vs Board Game: The game could be implemented as a board or video game. The game is basically open since it's a cooperative game.
Single vs Multi player: Single player is possible as playing with multiple players. There is not much social aspect to the game besides making a plan.
Rating = 9/12

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