A board game designer's web site

 Copyright Eric Pietrocupo

E-Mail: ericp[AT]lariennalibrary.com

General Information

My Designs

Game Design Knowledge

My Board Games

Dracula's Castle or Nightmare Hunter

Page: GameIdea.GameIdea201004181034AM - Last Modified : Mon, 07 Feb 22 - 3590 Visits
How much do you like this idea?

4.5 stars Rating 9.0/10 from 4 votes
Vote Distribution: 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 2 – 2

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 of this game idea.

Status: CLOSED

  • have a partial idea of the mechanics from other similar games.
  • Adaptable as a single player game, should be better this way.
  • lot of mechanics are ambiguous at this point. Needs more research

Progress: Partially Designed
Priority: High
Number of players: 2 - 5 or 7 players
Expected Play time: 60 - 120 minutes


Each player plays a character who needs to find or do something in dracula's castle. Dracula, which is played by a player, might not like it which could force the player to hunt down Dracula.


I want to make a game that recreates the feeling of exploring a haunted castle similar to what is seen is some Castlevania video games. I want players to be scared and curious at the same time.


The primary source of inspiration are the dungeon quest board game and the Castlevania video game. I like the idea of exploring a dangerous place and having limited resources to rely on. I think the circular board of talisman will also be a good source of inspiration. The second edition of mansion of madness can also be a source of inspiration for indoor locations.

Priority Evaluation

Theme vs Mechanics: This game is based on theme. There is little mechanics attached to this game idea Besides having a game master that could win. But other alternatives are possible.
Video vs Board Game: Should be as a board game if there is a game master, else the platform does not matter.
Single vs Multi player: Basically a multiplayer VS game master game, but could be modified as a single player game. COuld be a solution to solve the game's problem.
Rating = 6/12


- Cartography: This game should require cartography unless I use a different approach. Still even as an adventure game or a dungeon crawler, they both require maps.
- Scripting: Character special abilities and equipment should require scripting.

Desired Experience

  • Deadly curiosity: I want the player to be curious and explore the area further, but at the same time have the fear of deadly consequences.
  • Traveling (note sure): Unless trapped indoor, travelling between locations and trying to survive.
  • Survival, resource management: Manage limited resources like time, expandables, special abilities to survive.


I am not sure yet, but I think I will use a room system like in dungeon quest, but the rooms will be placed in areas of the castle and the area configurations will be determined by the player who plays dracula. There will be castle models available but the player could make his own castle plan. There might also be multiple floors but I am not sure yet since it could create logistic problems.

Players would explore the castle, try to perform their objective and try to get out of the castle alive. Players could decide to team up together to make their task more easily if of course they are going near the same direction. In case none of the above is possible, killing dracula will make everybody win since the castle now becomes defenseless.

Dracula will control Boss minions which allows him to control certain areas of his castle. If these boss minions are destroyed, it makes some areas less dangerous. Of course, dracula could interfere personally, but it gives a chance to the players to kill him. The goal of dracula is to prevent any of the players to succeed.

Problems that prevent development

At the beginning, there were castle layout problems because there were no dracula player. It was a simple cooperative game. Now the layout should be OK and I could even place key items that does not get placed behind the thing it unlocks.

I did not make a prototype yet, so it is really an early design

News, changes and updates

March 1st, 2011: New ideas has come in lately. I intend to use a board of tiles like dungeon quest, but the grid will be much smaller. There might even be different layout according to the type of building (castle, toker, mansion, etc).

But the new twist, is how the game master interact with the game. The gamemaster will control the randomness of the game. For example, when a player explore a new area, instead of drawing and placing a tile randomly, the Game master will draw 2 or 3 tiles and will select which tile will be placed on the board and in which direction.

Encounters will work the same, the game master will have a hand of card and when a player has a chance to get an encounter, the game master will be able to play the encounter card he want from his hand.

So in the end, it has some resemblance with dungeonquest, but the randomness is controlled by the game master. This is an easy way to make the game master interact with the game without having to define a completely new gameplay for that player.

September 11th, 2011: Another idea I could combine with this game, or make another game about it, is the possibility to travel in Transylvania and visit cities and other things. Instead of making 2 different games, I want trying to see if there could be a way to combine both ideas in the same game. Sure allowing players to move in the outside worlds will make a smaller dracula's castle at the end of the game.

Those kind of map exploration game are generally found in adventure games where you move from a location to another and accomplish quests. Normally the locations to be explored are not detailed. I think the game would be too long and detailed if players could actually explore mansions/dungeons/castles on a separate map. It would sure be very unique, but not sure if it would be playable. It could be a way to make adventure games more interesting instead of drawing a cards and "Something happens to you".

I'll leave the door open for now.

September 10th, 2014: I had an idea for another game in another theme that could actually share certain mechanics, especially character development, with this game. The other theme is a combination of "Space Infantry" and "Infiltration" where you would manage a team of character assaulting a facility or an area to fulfill a mission. You would have various rooms or areas that you can deal with to gather resources or complete objectives.

The theme will take place in a sci-fi world similar to shadowrun. I don't know much about shadowrun, but I know it would be similar since you have hackers, witches, hunters, priests, etc. Characters would have various special powers and equipment that will fit in the following 4 categories which are : Technology, Combat, Sorcery, Faith. Similar to the dracula theme except dark powers are replaced by technology for cyborgs and hackers.

I am willing to borrow some ideas from Infiltration where you can interact with rooms to perform certain abilities or gather data. While I want to use the scenario system of "Space Infantry" to determine connectivity between the rooms and objectives to fulfill. Also each character would have various skills forcing to split the group and send the right character at the right place.

This game could probably play multiplayer, but I also want to try it solo. In solo mode, to reduce the impact of bad luck, you would play 2 characters called soulmates. They each know each other very well and think the same way (because they are controlled by the same player). This could be used for example to share a dice pool between 2 characters to avoid bad luck. Maybe a 2 player game would require 2 pairs of soulmate. Maybe players would always play a pair of soulmate, who knows.

I think much more ideas are going to come from this theme. If I finish the game, I could get back to the original horror theme and borrow some mechanics. What I am not sure is the need for a Game Master. If the game can be played solo, then no game master should be necessary.

I also though of adding ennemy tokens that stay on the board so that they remain a treath if you try to move there again.

August 2nd 2018: Arkham Horror(AH) 3rd edition was released today, so I felt a bit screwed up as I could have waited for the 3rd edition instead of replacing AH with Eldritch Horror(EH). But on the other hand, I will not have designed Eldritch Express(EE). Then I though that AH would probably have similar issues to games with the rest of the collection. So it might simply be better, like eldritch Express, to take the essence of Arkham Horror 3rd edition, and make a smaller and faster game of it. It would save me space and money but cost me time.

Now I would prefer to make the game in my Living Nightmare campaign setting so that I could publish the product eventually on game crafters or digitally. I would borrow ideas from AH3, EH, EE, Elder Sign, etc. Now I though I could combine the ideas of those game with this Dracula's Castle game idea. But instead of assaulting dracula's castle, you would be wandering and defending one of the major surviving cities.

Now that changes dramatically the plot, even if other mechanics could remain the same. But I realized that it might be easier to make a game where you defend and area rather than assaulting an area. When you defend an area, tactical positioning is important. You get access to various services and resources on the map. You might give assignment to other players and move back and forth on the map. While when you are assaulting, you are basically only pushing forward like for example in Dungeon Quest. So the map becomes much less important, it could be a linear series of tiles and would have the same effect.

So I think a good start would be to fusion all ideas above with this idea to create a new city defending game against horror threat and a master mind. Later, if I really find how to handle the assault the castle theme (unless you play dracula defending your castle) I could reuse the character mechanics.

One of the challenge might be to find a way to keep the game small. It will not have story text and will feel more mechanical like Eldritch Express, But I don't want an excessively huge and long game. Still aiming for 90 min, max 120 min. That could fit in a FFG small expansion box, or a FFG rune age/elder sign size box.

The other challenge I have just realized is: Will it be a full cooperative game, or a 1 player vs many players. I kind of prefer the 1 player vs many, but it removes the possibility of solo play unless solo play is also supported with an AI.


1st Toy play exploration test notes (25K)

Prototype Pictures

First "real" prototype.

An exploration play test I improvised with an arkham horror and Dungeonquest game.

Related Threads

Board Game Geek: Running around the board like in Talisman and Relic (oct, 21 2013)
Board game Designer Forum: Running around the board like in Talisman and Relic (oct, 21 2013)
Board game Geek: Toy play improvisation testing session (jan 21, 2013)
Board game Designer Forum: Toy play improvisation testing session (jan 21, 2013)
Board Game Geek: What does people like/dislike about adventure games? (jan 22, 2013 )
Board Game Designer Forum: What does people like/dislike about adventure games? (jan 22, 2013 )
Board Game Geek: Exploring a deck of cards (jan 27, 2013 )
Board Game Designer Forum: Exploring a deck of cards (jan 27, 2013 )

7-Feb-2021IdeaThere are multiple path to this game idea. One idea is to make a solo only game where you explore area of the dracula's castle, or their surroundings, and each area is a Dungeon Quest style minimap. Allowing to play the game in multi-session by "Saving" the game when switching area. Changing area will make you move on the bigger map which could be a pen and paper layout. As for the dungeon layout, it would have the same high level strategy as the 1st legend of zelda video game asking you to manage resources and take risks. This concept could be reused into a campaign mode dungeon quest style of game. In that case, it will focus only on the dungeon, not the area map
27-Jan-2013IdeaI am exploring a way to manage dungeon exploration with a single deck of cards that makes the player move around the location while the cards cycle in the deck.
16-Sep-2011IdeaThe difference between Horror and mythology encounter cards is that horror cards can only be used at night while mythology can be used during the day.

Back to my list of Board Games and Ideas

this is commented

News, changes and updates

Date X: this thing has happen.

Date Y: this thing has happened.

Powered by PmWiki and the Sinorca skin