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Rise from the sewers

Page: GameIdea.GameIdea-TMNT - Last Modified : Tue, 28 Jan 20 - 1847 Visits
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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

  • Would be a solo game where you control all the characters
  • Need a new dice system, intend to make dice works like additional missions encounter
  • Eldritch Express and Thunderbirds could be a good source of mechanics inspiration.
  • Still no solid mechanism for multi character. Might use a different approach of tactical based missions.

Progress: New Ideas came in
Priority: High
Number of players: 1 player
Expected Play time: 30 - 90 minutes


A attempt to make a good serious Ninja Turtle free game. I removed TMNT from the title to reduce possiblity of IP clash even if a free game. I might even use character's nick names like "Raph" instead of "Raphael".


Since there is no good strategy games about ninja turtles because they all see to be targeted toward kids, I thought that maybe I should make some efforts to actually design a good game. Since I am a fan of TMNT and anything else related to ninjas or Japanese culture. Due to license restrictions, the game will have to be free.


I watched many TV series episode when I was young, I watched the movies and played many video games. I think, the only thing I have not touched is the comic books which I intend to read some soon to get an idea of the mood they set in the comic. Some ideas could also be taken from the Thunderbird board game as it have multiple characters, locations, events and vehicles. Else there is my Eldritch Express board game that has many interesting ideas for the game.

Priority Evaluation

Theme vs Mechanics: Based on theme, my Eldritch Express brought new ideas for this game.
Video vs Board Game: Could be played on any platform.
Single vs Multi player: I am considering the single player option where you want to manage your resources and turtle. Would make more sense than 1 turtle per player and would remove scaling problems.
Rating = 6/12


+ No Cartography: The game would require at most graphs.
? Scripting: Again not clear if scripts are non-essential. "Space infantry" has little text abilities.

Design Plan


  • TMNT is the core theme of the game. Not sure how far I want to push it. I prefer a low sci-fi TMNT which means having few or no alien characters a bit like the original movies in the 80ies.


  • Short: I want it to be 1 hour max. Would like to have some sort of progression to avoid redundancy. A game could cover multiple "episodes" of a TV series, it that case I could optionally have a campaign mode.
  • Small: Like Exdritch Express the game has to be relatively small and low in components. It should have less pieces than Eldritch Express.
  • Simple: I want the rules to be teached easily. I might try to stream line it more than Eldritch Express.
  • Solitaire: I think it would fit better as a solitaire game due to how characters are handled (resource like worker placement).


  • Team work: I want to make sure all 4 turtles are not always at the same place at the same time. There might also be side characters like April and Casey Jonez that you could team with.
  • Investigation: Not sure if I want deduction, but at least, players should move around the city to investigate clues and events bring them closer to their goal. Or clues can unlock access to mission in progress and try to complete them before they fail.
  • Sense of progress and Gears, Vehicles and Equipment: Vehicles could be used on the map or higher mobility and firepower. New gears could be design to accomplish mission more easily. The game could cover multiple mission asking the player to spend resources building stuff that will remain through the game. This will give a sense of progression, and will allow dealing with more complex missions.
  • Challenges,Battles: There must be some sort of difficulty or challenges that must be succeed by either building up the right stuff, spending resource or sending the right characters.
  • Resource management: Various resources like time and expandable could be part of the game too. Characters could spend time investigating, or remaining at home to do some special tasks.
  • Stop the evil plan: A certain villain try to set a plan in motion and the goal is to stop the villain from succeeding. Not sure if there is a master plan or simply a series of mission. When a mission fail (or is accomplished by the vilains) it will affect the city making the game harder to play.


  • Map: The city of New York probably split in 6 areas (compatible with D6).
  • Character cards: Contains stats and maybe keep track of HP with a die like Eldritch Express.
  • Equipment/vehicle cards: Contains also stats for mission resolution
  • Character & Vehicle pawns: Identify the location of the various vehicles and characters.
  • Mission cards: Contains the requirements to be accomplished, the bonus and negative effects.
  • Various marker tokens: Can be placed in the areas to mark any kind of information like clues, hostile areas, special event locations, etc.


  • Missions: Like in The Thunderbirds board game, there could be mission cards with a timer to resolve them. They could have a positive / negative result when trying to fulfill them and if the timer runs out, it could affect the whole city. Maybe if the villains complete X cards, they win.
  • Encounters: New mechanic idea of rolling encounter dice that determines what kind of additional challenge you face rather than reflecting your performance. This will make the rolling independent to the number of characters you bring in on a mission.
  • Worker Placement: Each character can be placed somewhere on the board. New characters could come in through the game with maybe mission accomplishments (Ex: Rescuing April). They could be used for mission resolution deterministically like combat in Eldritch Horror. Only the rolled encounter will change the outcome of the mission.
  • Resource management: There could be some sort of rewards after mission accomplishment. Besides new character and equipment, there could be resources to build gear and vehicles. In this game, you are less likely to find stuff like in Eldritch Express, but more likely to build your own stuff (Probably Donatello will build it).
  • Clue system: Not sure exactly how, but it should be possible to gather clues possibly to reveal mission cards and know where to go. But it should be usable for other things like maybe making certain mission easier by using counter measures.

Development Progress

Problems that prevent development

Since TMNT is a trademark and not simply copyrighted, it might be almost impossible to release a free open TMNT game. So it will probably have to be re-themed. The problem is that this game is not very innovative, in fact I wanted to base myself on other game to reduce development time since it was going to be free. So unless I get some new ideas that could make the game more unique and re-theme it, I don't think it will ever get released. Else, I would need permission from the trademark holder to release the game, but I don't think they would ever accept to do that for a free game. Unless they like the idea so much that they want to publish it (which is even less probable). The best I am going to try is to remove the TMNT from the title and use the original comic book artwork while keeping the game free.


Rule Draft - February 2012

News, changes and updates

August 10, 2014: I think I'll have to play elder sign as a solitaire game before working on this game. I think it could be playable up to 4 players, where each player control a character, but it could be a bit boring this way. I thing the game would be to optimize the management of your 4 turtles. At most a 2 player game where each player controls 2 characters.

I got some new ideas, turtles will be able to do stuff in their lair. Some will be available for everybody, for example get training from splinters, other will be character specific as for example: Donatello makes inventions for the group, Michellangelo watch television to get information, etc. Maybe additional characters like casey jones could work a bit like allies in arkham horror.

The game will be inspired on the PC game called "Manhattan Missions". This game is part action and strategy/management game. You send your turtles on mission. You need to plan their healing in the case of my board games, determine if you want to split up to do multiple missions at once, or focus on a single mission. Like the video game, there would be a time limit similar to the doom track in elder sign.

Mission Selection ScreenIn Mission gameplay

I could use a similar system to my nightshade board game idea, where the bad guys have plots in play that requires a specific set of clue to be unlocked and now be attacked by the players before it succeed. I this case, the villain plot will be set randomly, and will accomplish themselves after a certain amount of time.

Now for the dice rolling, since I am aiming for print and play, I am not sure I will use dice with specific faces. I could still be interesting to do so. Could use a similar idea to my other ninja game. Else you could roll dice of various colors which would represent various stats and assign them to task. Other characters will gives you assistance bonus, or will be able to perform task themselves. I don't think they will combine in a huge dice pool, both characters will have to roll separately, but certain task are not complete on a mission, they can be completed by another character before failing. Else it would work like in elder sign, giving you a minor support bonus.

June 17th, 2016: I got a new source of idea, lately I released more officialy my Eldritch Express dice game. I realised that many mechanics in that game could be reused for a TMNT game. For example, instead of traveling around the world, you would travel around various neighborhood of new york city. You would be able to move back to your lair from any space, or you could set your lair position at the start of the game.

Of course, there will not be sanity loss or conditions, so combat will have to work differently, but I like the deterministic approach of the resolution rather than simply doing skill tests. Stealth could be used to avoid monsters you do not like and only fight those that matters. The "Ancient one" could simply be one of the bad guys which has a plan to fulfill and you need to prevent him placing all 6 mystery markers on the board.

Not sure if there will be various encounter types. There could be investigation/mission, which is an idea I wanted to add for an Eldritch Express expansion where you draw a lead card that tells on the back where to investigate, but you only see and flip the card when you reach the destination, so you do not know what to expect.

Characters could go back to their lair to perform their special abilities. Like donatello can craft items that can be picked up by other characters. Michelangelo can watch TV and get info tokens (clue tokens) or get mission leads. You could also get training to perform special moves which could replace the spells. Maybe there could be some stamina bar to use those special power. You could maybe ask assistance from side character like casey and april, they could help in combat and give clues for example (they could be allies).

Else I am not sure yet how the encounter resolution will be done. Each character might have some special skill that could make some mission easier to fulfill. Maybe changing the value of a face like in Eldritch Express during encounters. Assisting character could lock or hold additional dice like in elder sign. You could use the Turtle mobile to move multiple characters at once anywhere in the city.

So there seems to be some interesting mechanics out there, I like the idea of taking a system and twisting it differently. Not sure if it will still be a 1-4 players, or solo only. Not sure if 2 characters goes on the same mission could play separately like in Elder Sign.

June 28th, 2017 : I got again a new idea this morning, I have another ninja game in design that does not seem to work very well, I could use some of those ideas and implement here since TMNT is also about ninja. The main issue with TMNT is that the turtles needs to remain together to make sense with the story. The game idea above ask the player to split their characters, so it does not make sense. There is that prototype game I played which is now released that is called V-Commando. I really liked how the map was designed and assembled in that game. This game was a world war 2 game that had a certain amount of stealth in it.

Since TMNT is also not 100% stealth, I thought I could use the same map mechanism with local mission objectives. The turtle would spawn from the sewer spot and they would need to flee back to the sewers before the time allocated to the mission is over (ex: the police arrives). The game could be playable multiplayer, or you simply control all characters solo. Some characters will have special powers for objective completion, a bit like V-commando where you have various classes that can perform various task. If you need to blow something up, you need to bring the character with demolitionist skills to the destination.

I also bought recently some Mega Block miniatures that I could use as board game pieces. It depends on the size of the map tiles, but that could work pretty well, at least for a prototype. I'll have to update my design plan in consequence.

Related Threads

Board game Geek: how to implement Skill rolls with dice manipulation? (2016)
Board Game Designer Forum: how to implement Skill rolls with dice manipulation? (2016)

Development Log

25-jan-2020IdeaUse the "Space Infantry" system to create a squad based mission game with campaign decisions between the games.
08-jan-2017IdeaI really like the idea of getting inspiration from eldritch express. I might have an idea to twist mechanics around. Similar to dungeon roll where you roll your dice and the monsters, here the dice would only be used as random encounters. You can re-roll dices to avoid certain encounters. In that case, there could be few monsters token on the board. Afterwards, you need to use your characters resource to deal with the encounters that add up to the objectives of the mission. Encounter mission resolution could be deterministic like in combat resolution. It would be a simple matter of gathering the right assets in the right place to succeed. The encounter roll would simply be extra difficulty like the Rune Age black die. That could be interesting as it would increase drama of failure while being capable of easy planning in advance if you can succeed or not. There could be markers in areas that changes the number of encounter dice rolled.
08-jan-2017IdeaFor the single multiplayer issue, I think the game characters would be some sort of worker placement mechanism. They are resources to manage, so it would not make sense to make them playable by a player. If you want to team everybody together all the time, you are most likely to succeed, but you can do less missions in a turn. You might want to do this for final bosses or harder missions.
30-aug-2016IdeaSince the turtles needs to work as a team, maybe it could be a single player game where there turtles moves together or some of the turtle can remain at home. Each turtle could have a unique die of it's own. There could be a possibility of not moving around a board since they all remains together, it could be a card and dice game
30-aug-2016IdeaI discovered a board game of Thunderbirds where I could use some inspiration to design the TMNT game. There is a lot of vehicles in thunderbirds, which is similar in TMNT.
17-jun-2016IdeaMany ideas could be used from my new Eldritch Express dice game. Still, working as a team of 4 all the time would not be recommended, but there could be some efforts to make characters work in pairs. The more you group your characters, the less mission you can do but the greater chances are your success
02-sep-2013ComplicationOne of the concept about tmnt that I did not consider is that normally the character act as a group. The turtle are rarely spread out in different mission, but rather all work together on the same mission. So that could bring in a new game structure where players need to coordinate each other with card or dices.
05-Aug-2012IdeaI think a lot of ideas could be taken from Elder Sign. The turtles would move from a mission to another and they need to accomplish a certain number of tasks to succeed. They can bring equipment with them, like the Turtle Van to get more support. IN fact considering it must be a free game, I might rather clone Elder sign and improve it.
05-Aug-2012IdeaThere is an idea I could get from ninjato, maybe some tasks on the mission can be accomplished as stealth or assault. Maybe once you use assault, you cannot do any more stealth, so you might want to accomplish the stealth tasks first and then the assault.
05-Aug-2012IdeaThe dices could be made of 3 face types: Stealth (3 faces), assault ( 2 faces) and skill( 1 face). Skill dice allows to use the character's special powers or skills to accomplish tasks much more easily. For example Donatello computer skill to hack into an electronic system (bypass the task).

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