Board Game Development 5 Sometimes You Gotta Commit
Ok, so after much hemming and even more hawing (it wasn't pretty), I think I'm going to build this game primarily as a solitaire game with multiplayer options. It was conceived as a solitaire board game way back in the day and I think that is where it's the strongest. That takes a lot of the pressure off making sure that the game is fun for 2+. I think if I focus on making the game for 1 it will be an overall better game. THEN I can figure out the best ways to translate that experience to multiple players and make it even better.
I'm also committing to making the game a set, fully developed, "open and play" experience and allowing the "open source" nature to be a secondary bonus feature for the advanced gamer. I think this makes the game more instantly accessible, but doesn't diminish the fact that this is still a "build your own adventure" game for those that would enjoy such an experience.
I've also started locking down some of the elements that will be in the base game. I am calling these elements the Core elements. I've narrowed down my character set to 30 characters. 10 Heroes and 20 Villains. I think that should be a fair mix. Plus whatever heroes do not comprise your party get shuffled into the villain deck for use as enemy characters, so that will make about 25 total villains per game. In the play testing I have done thus far that provides a decent mix of characters without seeing the same faces over and over in a given game and without asking the customer to break the bank buying a box full of miniatures. I'm committing to a final group of treasure/items characters can find in the game. That should put a cap on all of the massively expansive ideas I've been spilling out onto the page and give me something finite to work with.
I'm in Scenario building mode right now. I want to get a set of 3 scenarios just to test the overall game mechanic and make sure it works. I have completed what is basically a tutorial scenario that will give the Player a chance to familiarize themselves with the basics of the game. The other two scenarios will be more indicative of what the full blown game has to offer. I plan on play testing all three of these a couple dozen times myself and then pass it off to a close associate who will basically try to break the game to make sure there are not obvious cracks in the mechanic. Once she is done destroying my game, I will go back to the drawing board and troubleshoot.
Meanwhile, I am ready to move to the design stage. I have someone who is willing to do the prototype designs, but she's not sure she will be able to do the final art for the finished product, so I guess I'll be shopping someone who loves to draw/paint and who would love to donate hundreds of hours of work up front for a meager shot at profit on the back end if this thing goes to market. Translation, I'm gonna have to draw this thing myself and that's going to be a sad mess. But I guess we will see. I also need to get Bill working on some prototype miniatures that we can use for play testing. The good news is, I don't need new minis for this, we can use existing minis and Bill can paint them up so they look nice. Hell, I can do it with wooden pegs if I need to. But I will need something I can hand to people and say, "this is an Ogre, use this for the Ogre character."
So things are moving along well. In some ways it kind of coming to a head, and it other ways a playable demo seems forever away. But I've waited 30 years, I can wait a few more if it means a really awesome game that people will want to play. We shall see.