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Every Thursday, I make a brief development blog on my card/board game, Dead Parents Dungeon (DPD). It’s a fantasy-themed, light-hearted game about families and dungeons.

Current Progress: Rebooting

What is best in life? To see your family grow proud before you. To hear the lamentations of monsters. To retire responsibly to that little castle on the beach you always talked about.

Dead Parents Dungeon is a game where players take on the role of adventuring families who seek the money and fame which can only be found by defeating dangerous monsters in the many frightening dungeons of the world. Players manage marriages, children, and heirlooms between the life-threatening forays into the world’s darkest corners. The first player to put aside enough monster heads to earn a total of 10 retirement points has the most successful family and is the winner!

The new take on Dead Parents Dungeon keeps the dice. It keeps gear (now Heirlooms). It keeps Adventurers and Monsters, but dispenses with the class leveling and minion mechanics. It gets rid of the scars and silver currency and converts monsters directly into monster heads.

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Every Thursday, I make a brief development blog on my card/board game, Dead Parents Dungeon (DPD). It’s a fantasy-themed, light-hearted game about families and dungeons.

Current Progress: meh

I cook. I don’t make food for humans. I make piles of tasteless nutrients which only I can bear to eat (I’m affectionately called ‘The Jade Goat’ from time to time). By the end of the pile, even I have a hard time stomaching it.

I hate repeating work, and rejiggering everything in DPD is repeated work. I can barely stomach it.

Everything someone makes to present to other people has to reach a balance between “personally satisfying” and “appealing to an audience.” The part where DPD is appealing to an audience–simple, straightforward, fast–is sapping me of the personally satisfying elements that got me to do it in the first place. It’s where I usually stumble on projects.

English is an exceptional language in that it captures all of this in the phrase, “hard work.” It won’t be impressive progress for a while, but it’ll be progress.

Every Thursday, I make a brief development blog on my card/board game, Dead Parents Dungeon (DPD). It’s a fantasy-themed, light-hearted game about families and dungeons.

Current Progress: Last week I went to a wedding in Michigan and had to take a few flights because Michigan is poorly located in relation to the South. Without the distractions of the internet, I was (unwillingly) able to focus on nothing but projects so I got a lot of work done. I finished all of the beta cards for Dead Parents Dungeon. Yay!

But instead of printing out pre-Alpha cards, playtesting, and editing on the fly, I’m doing a total rehaul. I’ve mentioned how Dead Parents Dungeon is “meh” on Death, low on Parents, and high on Dungeons. The Beta redesign addresses that.

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Every Thursday, I make a brief development blog on my card/board game, Dead Parents Dungeon (DPD). It’s a fantasy-themed, light-hearted game about families and dungeons.

Current Progress: I’m still working on Relics. An Adventurer has one relic and all other relics are played as upgrades. The “base” ability of a relic is usually a village ability that’s intended for use outside of dungeons. The “upgrade” abilities are dungeon-focused and remove a ceiling for power within a dungeon.

But I’m running into the problem where this pre-alpha version of Dead Parents Dungeon is “meh” on Dead, failing on Parents, and overcommitted on Dungeons. That means that there isn’t a lot of village play for me to work with on the Relics.

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Every Thursday, I make a brief development blog on my card/board game, Dead Parents Dungeon (DPD). It’s a fantasy-themed, light-hearted game about families and dungeons.

Current Progress: I’ve been going over the flavor for the Relics/Destinies. The idea is that in the previous generic-fantasy-age, there was a tree which grew things along fate lines, intricate, multi-functional devices which existed in N-th dimensions. The end of the age saw the tree picked clean (or devastated or eaten by aphids. Whatever). The relics remain, with N-th dimensional features that Adventurers unlock as they learn to master their equipment.

Or via three easy payments of 1 Scars & Silver.

I’m supposed to be picking up the types discussion from last week, but let me make an aside on Scars & Silver.

Card Types, Part 2 (and Scars & Silver)

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The 40k Campaign is on hold. It was excruciating to read over six 40k scenarios and I need to read over more to give my combat matrix some more depth. Literally. The use of “Tactical Points” allows sides to scale a balanced objective into one that more heavily favors one side. For example, a detachment that Raids into a Defending detachment may have a Chase scenario where they need to outrun defending forces. If the defender can leverage a few tactical points, that become a Breakthrough, where the defenders are waiting for the raiders and the raiders have to punch through a defended line.


Wizards of the Coast has amazing advertising in the grim darkness of the 41st Century.

But that’s all on hold. I need to read more 40k scenarios. I need to read up on Carrion Crown because Josh is running that in a few weeks (I don’t like horror RPGs, so there’s that). I need to read up on LLC laws in Louisiana because I’ve put up for some paralegal work. I need to actually do some outside-of-work-work, which requires some reading.

I’m stretched thin and don’t have a lot written right now. Go figure.

I’ll try to have some 40k campaign draft rules or Remain Indoors: A Bunch of Words Together about Being Alive after The Event ready next week.

Current projects (too many):

The Wedding (over in July)

Remain Indoors FATE book (one-and-done)

Dead Parents Dungeon (ongoing)

Minecraft News for Adults (should be weekly. Is currently bi-monthly [the bad one])

The Beige and The Bold (ongoing)

The LLC Project (probably done by EoM)

The Carrion Crown Campaign (Ongoing. Participation is tentative.)

The 40k Campaign (ongoing until it’s not)

Every Thursday, I make a brief development blog on my card/board game, Dead Parents Dungeon (DPD). It’s a fantasy-themed, light-hearted game about families and dungeons.

Current Progress: I’ve been hacking away at Relics (formerly “Gear”). Most cards can either be whatever they are (Adventurer/Monster/Relic), and can flip to be an upgrade to an existing card of that type. Adventurer cards can be played upside-down to add a Level to an existing Adventurer. Monsters can be played upside-down to add a Minion to an existing Monster. And so on.  Relics…there’s not a language for upgrading weapons. Mods? But what part of a wizard’s robe gets transferred onto a sword to make it better? Vice versa? Materials? Materia? Glyphs? Destinies?

Let’s talk cards and card types.

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I may have mentioned previously the last time I played Warhammer 40k. It may remind you that I used to have a Xanga, that I used to have a Blogspot, that I used to blog, or anything else from ten years ago.

The silver lining to my relocation to Louisiana–my country’s valley where our national sweat collects–is that I can hang with folks. The cloud within that silver lining which is distinct from the other clouds inside of it is that I’m playing 40k and am ready to riot if I shuffle up for another another tediously long or pointlessly short game of Magic’s Elder Dragon Highlander format.

So the 40k thing might become a campaign, and as it just so happens I have over ten years of experience trying to get a Battletech campaign going. We’re in the very simple planning stages of the campaign right now, so instead of getting into that I’m gonna bitch.

-So after five minutes of intense combat, everyone just calls time out and totals up points?

-No one ever disengages. Morale breaks exist, but the system doesn’t seem set up to withdrawal.

I tried to get a Battletech campaign together for ten years.

-For a universe that’s made to spawn thousands of irrelevant, generic battles over faceless planets they are picky about units.

-The scenarios are literally like, “if one force is bigger, do X.” Like, why are the forces not equal? How unequal can they be? Does the X I’m doing scale to the size disparity?” 40k just shrugs and says “whatever unequal. IDGAF, mate.”

-No initiative. First shots can be devastating.

-Jumping off of the last one; games can take hours to set up and play, but you can lose from a few shots in the first round.

Ten. Years!

-I’m going with simple Space Marines knowing they’re the introductory faction and therefore designed to be weaker so folks buy other models.

-Friend A is already talking about buying Scissor models because they currently have Rock models and Friend B has Paper models.

-Do not play this game.

-The upside is that Friend A has already talked with me about maybe making a new tabletop system that uses all of their models, even the non-40k ones. Coincidentally, they’re also the friend I had another brainstorming session with on “Gates,” which is a completely different project, but one that could be complimentary.

-No hexes, so the placement of units is non-quantifed. They would be quantified if the system used hexes. #justsayin’

Battletech has some of these issues, so it’s not 40k-specific. I mean, that’s probably the reason that wasn’t able to get a campaign together, even after all of those years. Maybe my friends are just stupider now.

Anyway, I’ll try to write a bit about the Gates Project for next week (or maybe finally do that “Remain Indoors” RPG mini-book).

Really, it’s not that Louisiana is rainy or suffering from coastal erosion, it’s that the Earth is trying to wash this state away (as it should).

Every Thursday, I make a brief development blog on my card/board game, Dead Parents Dungeon (DPD). It’s a fantasy-themed, light-hearted game about families and dungeons.

Current Progress: I finished up the Adventurer cards, which included not just the Adventurer cards themselves, but their flipped versions which are used to represent leveling up. My work has moved onto Relics/Equipment, which have a basic function, but flip to represent upgrades or improvements. I’m working on a flavorful term for that. The fantasy genre doesn’t do a lot of weapon upgrading. Crafting games are becoming a thing, but the language isn’t there yet. As always, keep reading for the ramble.

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Every Thursday, I make a brief development blog on my card/board game, Dead Parents Dungeon. It’s a fantasy-themed, light-hearted game about families and dungeons.

Current Progress: This week I’ve been grappling with Musty Chambers and Rumors. There’s so much feedback between the two. Rumors set the theme of a dungeon and act as a “first chamber” while Musty Chambers are the “encounter in any order” rooms which make the dungeon a dungeon. They can both change the worth, power, and consequences of traps and Monsters in the dungeon, so there’s a lot of interaction.

Today’s post is about theory and practice. There’s a lot of assumptions when you’re writing rules; as someone who’s making something, there’s an idea in your head of how the game feels. I’m usually about the feel of the game. I love Magic: the Gathering, but I like playing spells, doing cool interactions, and the blade’s-edge resource competition of draft play. On the other hand, combo decks don’t appeal to me and I don’t think of them much when I’m talking about Magic. They don’t feel like Magic.

As a player, there are drawbacks in not seeing and not expecting a certain play types. As someone who’s making a game, there are massive, fatal errors to not expecting certain play types.

So I thought, “A player will play a Rumor card to kick off a dungeon. The players will pitch in Monster and Musty Chamber cards. Then the party will run a dungeon.” A sound plan. If there’s, say, seven Adventurers and three players, then how many and which Adventurers will go into the dungeon? How do I balance that so they don’t roll over the Monsters? What Musty Chambers are used? How many Monsters are there?

I glossed over some issues and I needed to specify solutions. All the while, I want the answers to be simple, intuitive, and thematic. Simple means that folks don’t have to consult the book. Intuitive works in the same vein, more, it needs players to anticipate the design because it makes sense. That feeds right into thematic. The DPD rules should never make players feel like they’re playing a game; they need to feel like they’re moving their Adventurers to a dungeon.

In the interest of keeping these short, that’s all I have for today. I’ll finish next time with my solution.

Next Week: Theory and Practice, Part 2

Later:

-Musty Chambers and Rumors: Interactions and overlaps. General versus specific. Feel of a Rumor versus function of a Musty Chamber in a dungeon.

References:

http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/ten-principles-good-design-part-1-2010-05-03

http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/ten-principles-good-design-part-2-2010-05-17