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Rats Craft : Home Invasion

Page: GameIdea.GameIdea-RatsCraft - Last Modified : Tue, 08 Mar 22 - 1093 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

  • This is essentially a board game since negotiation required
  • Multiplayer is also a necessity
  • Rules will not fit on a page.
  • Maybe could be adaptable as a single player game like I did for starcraft but here the game play is different.
  • I could design a new game with the same theme.
  • Video game implementation could be possible, still I see no reason to design a turn based strategy video game with a theme like that. RTS seems the only solution and they might be too much graphic intensive for me.
  • If I want to keep it social and board game, it will need to be massively simplified as a 4S (simple, small, short, social) game.

Number of players: 3-6 players, with optional 1-2 player coop.
Average playing time: 2-3 hours
Status: In development
Publication date: Unpublished
BGG Link: Unavailable


A parody of the Star Craft video game and board game where you control a band of rats that infest an house while their inhabitant are in vacation. Players will have to learn sharing the space and resources else war will be the only solution. Mean while the house cat is determined to defend the house by controlling the corridor. Other cat reinforcement are on the way


Try to make a better Star Craft board game. Now that I don't have the original board game anymore, I am not sure if I have any interest left for it.


StarCraft the Board game: My game is mainly a parody of this game, so they share a lot of similarities.
Chaos of the old world (Board Game): I took the wheel mechanic (using cards instead) since I liked the kind of progress it gave.
Cosmic Encounter (Board Game): Took the negotiation idea where a player could bluff negotiation to get an easy victory.
Game of thrones (Board Game): StarCraft already have action tokens, but in Game of throne, the tokens are more used in a diplomatic way, and this is how I use them in my game.

Note: Surprisingly, I hate most of the games above, it seems I have only taken the mechanic that interested me from them.

Priority Evaluation

Theme vs Mechanics: I have some mechanics, but it's still very heterogeneous.
Video vs Board Game: I could easily design an RTS video game using my play style, that is the escape route.
Single vs Multi player: If I want to keep the negotiation mechanics, it's multiplayer only.
Rating = 7/12


+ No Cartography: Only graph is enough, and they might not be necessary
- Scripting: There will be special abilities, if not for the objective cards or technologies.

Design Plan


  • Starcraft parody using 3 type of rats and 6 factions





Area of Majority: The core of the game is an area of majority system where being the player with the most rats in the room gives you an advantage over the others in many situations.

Deck Building: There is a deck building element which is much more closer to the original StarCraft game with a touch Rune Age. The deck building is only used to manage units and battle, so the production is not handled with the cards.

Hidden Orders: Negotiation is made with hidden orders. According to the order placed, players will be either allowed to trade, collect resources in majority order or wage war. It is possible to bluff your real actions since the tokens are placed face down.

Resources: Players will gather resources that will be only used to unlock new type of units or buy upgrades for those units. Resources can be exchanged with other players if negotiations are successful.

Combat Cards: Combat are resolved with cards that each represent a unit fighting in the room. Players place cards to control more territory or attack other units in play. Each faction has 9 different units and a load of special abilities that gives to each of them a unique feel.

Development Progress

News, changes and updates

March 2022: I just want to note that there could be further development, or this project could spawn a new project. I wanted to somewhat recreate my solo variant for Starcraft as a new stand alone game that can primarily be played solo with the option to play multiplayer. I am combining ideas from multiple games and variant I designed together. We will see if I can come up with something fun.

July 24th, 2018: I destroy the website and recreated the game idea page since this game is far from being complete.

August 20th, 2015: According to the rule of four S (article here )this game should never see the light of the day. So I am reconsidering it's design to reduce the similarity with Starcraft BG to be able to reduce the components and rules required. Here are a few ideas so far:

  • Simplified unit system: Instead of rats pawn and combat cards, there would be unique units with stats directly on the token. Upgrading units can de done by flipping the token. It will remove the bluffing, but accelerate the combat resolution which could be more procedural. But it could be possible to have hidden stack which can only be seen by the player and revealed before combat. Instead of buying cards, and getting rats as reinforcement, you will simply buy units which will combine both.
  • Simplified bases: Bases will be a single token, there will not be multiple buildings. If there are special buildings, there will be 1 special building per base making the base token the special building itself.
  • Simplified resources: The resource cost will be more restricted, there will be less tokens to manage, so probably values will be put on tokens. But since trading will be necessary, I will have to create various types of resources, it's jsut that they will include a value to reduce the amount of tokens. There will be no resource depletion, it will only happen during force mining. Tokens with high value could tempt players to force mine. Else I could keep components low and use resource tracks with generic tokens with random numbers.
  • Different combat: I am not sure yet if it will remain deterministic or random. Since you can see the units your opponent has, deterministic resolution might not be a good solution. I was thinking about placing untis behind a screen in formation but that could require time. Else I could be using a each unit target a unit in initiative order similar to Spce empire 4X and many other war games. I will keep the fly vs ground unit and maybe the range vs melee synergy. I could also set aside units for control, like I wanted to do with cards. Some combat will have some similarities, it's just now everything is exposed.

February 6th, 2011: I worked on my first real prototype and made some test. There will be some work to do to make sure that I get a resource mechanics which is resolved relatively fast and that allows player to stack their resources. The prototype was not complete, for example, there were card combat. So There was really new buildings I could design. My next step would be to design units without the upgrades to have stuff to work with.

January 1st, 2012: I have rewritten the rules of the game lately and it seems nice. There is still some playtest to make to know if it's going to work. But the design looks much more interesting than before, the pieces of puzzle looks like they fit together. The biggest challenge remains the design and balance of faction units. Here are some improvements compared to the original rules:

Development: The development phases is now much more interesting to play. Of the the feature is that there is less need to split resources between actions because each income type can be used for a specific purpose. During the development phase, you can build up 3 things:

  • Buildings: Rats in a room will give production points that can be split between various buildings. Simple and elegant.
  • Unit Production: Some production building gives you a certain amount of production points for each unit type. You must simply decide which unit you are going to build.
  • Research: You can use special resources to unlock new unit types or upgrade existing units. Resources get scarcer with time, so in the end, it will be harder to upgrade, but it won't prevent you to build units (like in the Starcraft video game) because unit production does not require resources.

The development system seems to fit with my philosophy that you have some choice to make but the calculations are not overwhelming since you are guided in your decisions.

Combat card play: The way combat is resolved is much more easier. Cards are placed into play one at a time and they act as soon as they are in play. They can target other units in play or be placed in defensive position. When all cards are played, each surviving unit has a control value, the player with the highest total is the winner and now has priority over the other players.

So there is no need to keep track of which unit has attacked, which unit is dead, etc. What's in play is what's surviving on the battle field. This way, combat should be much more interesting to play, there will be less information to analyze and less cards into play since they are removed as they are destroyed.

Ranking: I am also working on some sort of ranking system that would place each player in a unique priority order. The outcome of a battle would make players change of rank which would re-order the ranking of the players. I'll have to do more test to know it it works correctly. But a priority system for this game is essential since the game play resolve 1 room at a time instead of 1 player at a time. Since there is no "Current player", I need some way to determine who has priority. Ranking could have names like military ranks but they would just have weird names.

Now I am trying to have a prototype ready to be able to play a few games without changing too much stuff. I would also like to have a very simple set of unit cards that I could use to have a feeling of what combat looks like in this game. Later I could only optimize the combats alone once the main game works well.

February 13th, 2013: Now that this game is an active project, I want to spend more time on it and make it flourish. It has all the right element to be the next game that I publish considered it is based on another board game which makes it easier for me to design. I came up with a list of cool ideas lately and I am really curious to test them. Here is a quick list.

  • New rooms: Resources are now acquired by ranking, if you have majority, you get more resources than if you are not. So there are no resources allocation phases. Players can now only have 4 buildings per bases. There are much less building types but much more important.
  • Negotiation Tokens: To capture the idea of placing order tokens, negotiation are made in each room with tokens labelled "Trade", "Intimidation", or "War". These tokens influence how the room is resolved. Allow players to bluff like in the "cosmic encounter" negotiate card
  • Glory and Leadership cards: Starcraft event and leadership cards has been converted as leader ship or glory cards (to be defined). It works a bit like chaos of the old world upgrade, you either get 1 or 2 each turn and it gives various power ups, abilities, heroes, etc. But if you do not like a card, you can sacrifice it for victory points instead. Those cards are acquired with glory.
  • New corridor: To reflect order stacking in starcraft. Rats are placed in the corridor in stack order (in a line). Then the cats attack, and the surviving units are unstacked and moved in the rooms they want.
  • Hot Spot / Event: Some events will occur in some rooms that will give glory and other stuff to the players present. So you could end up with a "garage band" show in the garage, or a "Found the wine cellar" party in the kitchen. All kinds of events that incite players to populate the rooms.

There are a lot of other changes but I'll just skip the details. I am looking forward to see the results, so I want to build a quick prototype as soon as possible.

February 22nd, 2013: I have done a more complete playtest yesterday and it's awesome. I could not test the combat mechanics, which I will probably do during the week-end. I could also not test the event and leadership cards because I did not design them yet. Right now most of the mechanics are elegant, they make sense and they seem to work correctly. This means that I do not think there will be new mechanics and I don't expect to replace any of them.

This is a good thing, because that means the game will be eventually playable by real players. There is still a lot of work to do, I have cards and other components to design and I have to adjust and balance values. But at least now I know better where I am going.

You can expect me to post some pictures in the days to come of the latest prototype and the playtest notes. I will probably open a new sub-website for this project like I did with Fallen Kingdoms. It should be posted in my news section when ready.

Prototype Pictures

This is list of all the picture of the game so far.

February 2013 Test in the middle of the gameSame test during setup

January 6th test, still without real unit cards.

Some rats I found at the dollar store, but which are too big.

Latest play test were I attempted to test the card flow with regular cards.

First real prototype of the game.

Card Template

Combat card template v.4


Solo playtest Notes - August 14th 2011 (54K PDF)
Rule Draft Summary - October 2011 (49K PDF)
Solo Playtest Notes - January 6th 2012 (40.8K PDF)
Mini Playtest Summary - February 17th, 2013

Related Threads

This is the list of forum threads related to the development of the game. Unfortunately, I could not back track all the threads since it is very long and painful to do. So the list is partially complete, but each new thread will be linked when created.

Board Game Geek: Negotiation action token ideas (feb 9, 2013)
Board Game Designer Forum: Negotiation action token ideas (feb 9, 2013)

Development Log

29-jul-2018IdeaTo make this game playable as a board game, maybe shrining the board could be a solution by either only placing 1 base or player per room removing the idea of area of majority from the game. There would also be no more corridors. It would make thematically more sense as rats are not that small and a room can be filled up pretty quickly.
14-Aug-2011ProblemsThere is a problem with the card circulation. Bringing a new unit into play can take at least 2-3 full turns before the unit can be used in battle. One thing I liked in the original Starcraft was how nice it was to simply add card to you deck and not bother about anything. So instead of building these cards, maybe buildings on the board will determine how many cards are recovered instead of asking him to build the cards.
14-aug-2011ProblemsLack of cards. Again related to card circulation, but also related to the number of rats in play since each card must match a rat. I am thinking of reducing the number of rats on the board. Each rat would matter more and less cards will be required.
14-Aug-2011IdeaI was thinking of using randomized order cards. There will be multiple order cards with a different level of power. You would draw X cards, and select Y cards from the draw for the turn. Not sure because it will add a lot of different type of cards to the game already. I might use another type of components if necessary.
14-Aug-2011ProblemThere is a lot of situation in the game where a tie can occur. Since there is no 1st player and player order, I need to find something else as a universal tie breaker.
14-Aug-2011ProblemThe combat system is really confusing even if I do not have the real unit cards. I am thinking of using a system where the cards stay in hand and are placed in to play. To make the card management easier, dead units will not be allowed to reply in battle. This will prevent from tapping units and keeping track of dead units. It will also be easier to apply the priority order of play.
13-Aug-2011IdeaResources might be used as extra production points to boost production, technology and construction. Some units/building/tech will require certain type of resources to get a reduction. This way, resources becomes optional which prevent players from getting locked.
01-Aug-2011IdeaA new idea from Exile Sun where there will be a deck of destroyed/unbuilt units and a deck of built army units. You draw army units and building new units moves them froma stack to another.
01-Aug-2011ProblemEach card should have had random values increase and reduction to the base value to include the randomness of a die roll into the unit like in Starcraft BG. The problem is that it becomes very hard to determined the value range of the unit considering that the value will change. See next idea.
01-Aug-2011IdeaSo found a new idea using the Rock-Paper-Scisor system. The strength/healt of units stay the same, but each card has a RPG value, and by comparing these value, you will know if you hit the unit or not. Since players might choose which cards get built and put in their deck, by using a RPS system, there is no way for him to know which card is more valuable than another cards since it is relative to the target unit.
01-Aug-2011ProblemI want to use an stacking mechanic in my game to match the order mechanic in Starcraft BG. My idea was to use a resource stacking mechanic, representing a pile of stuff, but I cannot see to make it work correctly. One of the problem is that almost all the resources get used and there is no reason to stack them. SO I need to do more than just stacking unspent resources.

Playtest Log

DateResultsPlay TimePlayersDescription

Outline of the rules

There is no rule book available to the public yet, so this page will only contain a summary of the rules to give you an idea of how the game works.

Order of play

Development phase (Resolved Simultaneously)

  • Reinforcement: Each player places 2 rats in each room where he has at least 1 building.
  • Event: One or more events are placed beside their respective rooms and new cats are coming into play.
  • Build: Place a building in each room where a player has rats or a base.
  • Research: Spend resources to unlock 1 unit and/or unlock as many upgrade as you have research facilities.
  • Produce: Each production building add 1 corresponding unit cards to the combat deck.
  • Leadership: Players can now spend their all their glory tokens to gain 1 or 2 leadership card that can be used for it's ability, or for it's Victory points and ranking.

Mobilise Phase (Resolved in room order)

  • Move into the corridor: Each player move their group of rats into the corridor in stacking order (First in, Last out).
  • Cats Attack: Roll and move the cats in the corridor and destroy 2 rats on the space it lands.
  • Move out of the corridor: Each player in stacking order move their group of rats out of the corridor into another room of the house of their choice.

Control Phase (Mostly resolved in room order)

  • Negotiation: Players openly negotiate with other players while placing their: Trade, Intimidate, war tokens on the board face down.
  • Resolve: Each room resolves the negotiation tokens with will influence resource collection and can lead to war.
  • War: If there is a war, resolve the battle. Winners will gain glory points
  • Collect Resources: In priority order, players collect 1 resource of each type.
  • Collect Victory Points: In priority order, players collect their victory points.
  • Collect Glory Points and event: If there is an event cards, you can collect it's glory points according to priority order, and the first player collects the event card.
  • Crowding: Check if the room is crowded and move excess rats to the corridor.
  • Resource Depletion: Check which resources get depleted.
  • Change First Room: The first room marker is moved into another room.

Some game Concepts

Priority: Since it's an area of majority game, many rules of the game will be resolved in priority order. Inside a room, priority is determined by the number of rats and then the player's rank in case of ties. For rules affecting the whole game, only the ranking is used. Ranking is a unique value for each player and it can be changed with leadership cards that contains unique ranking values.

Factions: There are 3 different type of factions that will determine the units and buildings that can be produced, and there are 2 sub faction for each type that will change the leadership cards of the player. The factions so far are:

Lab Rats

  • Industrialist
  • Researchers

Wild Rats

  • Thieves Guild
  • Templar

Sewer Rats

  • ?agressive?
  • ?Pirates?

Unit Structure: Each faction has 9 units split in 3 different groups that I labelled as A, B or C. The tech tree for all faction has the same structure but the units are different.

Units in the same group are prerequisite to each other (You need A2 to build A3 and A1 to build A2). And the first unit in a group is a prerequisite to the next group (You need A1 to build B1 and B1 to build C1. Since the game last 7 turns, it means that players will only be able to build 7 of the 9 available units through a game.

Combat Resolution

The combat resolution is somewhat complex, I'll just give a quick glance of the system. The units on board are all generic rat units. Players will use 1 unit cards in hand for each unit he has in a room. So the card defines what the unit is. It can happen that a player have less or more cards than the number of units in the room.

Starting in priority order, the players play their unit cards in play in defensive mode to control more territory, or in offensive mode to attack other units.

Each unit duel is resolved one at a time by comparing various values, abilities and properties. Some units are flying/ground, some attack in Range/Melee, etc.

When all cards have been played, the player's hand is empty or 1 card per rat in the room has been played, the players count the total control value for all his surviving units on the board. Units played in defensive mode generate more control value. The player with the highest total wins the battle. He gains glory points and will now have priority for the rest of the turn in that room.

In other words, the winner gets more VP and take resources first.

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