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