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Dark World: Hacking Console

Page: GameIdea.GameIdea-dwHackerConsole - Last Modified : Mon, 27 Jan 20 - 1034 Visits
How much do you like this idea?

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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 Status: Prototyped
Priority: Average
Number of players: 1 players
Expected Play time: 30-60 minutes


You are playing a hacker who want to infiltrate a cluster of server in order to steal data, and disrupt the corporation. You build a deck of cards to be more efficient at hacking while collecting server data to use for extra money to buy upgrades. Mean while, the admin set security measures or send you malware to prevent you from succeeding. If the admin deck of cards gets depleted, he successfully trace you and you lose the game.


To goal is to make a solitaire deck building game that could be easy to implement as a digital game. I might limit the special text abilities to simplify the digital implementation. Else the game will be playable as print and play. The theme also makes the artwork and graphic design easier to make as it will almost all be made of ASCII character art.


The main source of inspiration is Star Realms with a touch of Rune Age with some variant ideas I had for Rune Age.

Priority Evaluation

Theme vs Mechanics: The theme is interesting and most of the mechanics are there since they come from other games. Still, there are a few unique touch that will require testing.
Video vs Board Game: The game could be implementable as both a board and digital game. It depends on the structure and non-uniqueness of the card design.
Single vs Multi player: This is a solitaire game only, make it suitable for digital implementation without AI.
Rating = 10/12


+ No Cartography: This game would only require graphs. So no maps needed.
? Scripting: It depends on the implementation, if I am aiming for a deck builder style game, yes, I should need special powers. But if I make a 100% digital game closer to Steve Jack's hacker game, scripting could be avoided.


Players play and buy cards similar ly to star realm using 2 basic resources: Hack and Transfer. Hack can be used to hack server but also upgrade software you have. While transfer can be used to download new software, or download data from hacked servers. Server data goes into your deck, which will clog your deck, but gives money when player and victory points at the end of the game. Money is the third resource that can be accumulated and used to buy hardware upgrades.

The server cluster is organized as an hex pyramid, still, other shapes could be allowed. You start from the bottom of the pyramid and hack your way to the top. Having to access point to hack a server could lower down the difficulty to hack or download the data. If you fail to download the data, it goes into the admin's score pile, So they are basically points you have lost but you can get further into the pyramid. THe admin plays a card each turn which changes the parameters of the cluster. They can also install malware in play or into your deck. As time progress, the admin tracks you, to hide your tracks, you need to use cards or actions that will shuffle back admin cards into his deck, else once is deck is depleted the admin wins.

To win the game, you need to collect more server data (Victory Points) than the admin (or a speficic nb of points). The higher you go in to the pyramid, the more victory points the servers are worth. There could be scenario data that ask for specific server to be hacked before the end game can be triggered.

Problems that prevent development

There is some new mechanics like plug-in pipes that needs more testing as they could be annoying to analyse. Else there is the hacking risk which is now represented by the roll of a die which can temporarily increase the security level of server. That makes sure your hack are not automaticly successful. Else, it's released to the cards design, I played only star realm as a video game, and values add up easily in a pool, but with real cards, you don't have any pool. In my initial design, it was starting to be hard to remember how much resources you had left, so I am thinking of using a resource track you increase after each card played.

Prototype Pictures

Second prototype, looks bland so far.

Related Threads

Board game Geek: Problems with matching suits abilities like in Star Realms (2016)
Board Game Designer Forum: Problems with matching suits abilities like in Star Realms (2016)
Board Game Geek: Changing how card cycle (Microcosm's forum) (2 sept 2018)

Development Log

13-sep-2018SourceLeague of hackers seems to have the mechanics I am lacking. They are using card color to determine various type of attacks you can defend or attack with. There are also server cards you can acquire and control. Will just have to determine what are the objectives of the game.
2-sep-2018IdeaGot an idea fom microcosm when you play the card you pickup and you accumulate played cards in your hands for it's icons until the rest of the game. So you get more and more powerful as the time passes. Possibly another hacker or an administrator could be selecting or discarding the cards available to give defensive boost of his own to systems he finds critical. Not sure if it's targeted or if it only adds icons in his hand. I like the hacker theme on microcosm and the assymetry if hacker and admin have different abilities. Could be an interesting 2 player game and it should be easier to design since it's only 18 or almost, cards. There would be server cards, and advantage cards.
17-sep-2016IdeaI have played today "Grifters" and I think their deck building mechanism could work here. Instead of executing a card ability as soon it is played, it will have to remain in play for X turns until it finish. It simulates running a program and waiting for completion. Mean while programs in the chain could give bonus to the program on the front when it finishes. For double usage, maybe cards can be played upside down it used for icons for example. Missions, would be servers to hack to get points, glory or whatever.

Playtest Log

DateResultsPlay TimePlayersDescription
16-aug-2016Positive?30 min?1The playtest went pretty well, but the card design was pretty boring. I'll have to make an inventory o abilities and define some design rules to make better cards for better testing. Designing server cards will be more complicated as I don't have any comparable game to refer to. Else the plug-in and accounting of resources was pretty confusing to use, I am thinking of a few solution to make it more convenient to play with.

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