The Castle of Count Corezaan – A Boardgame

June 2, 2012

Today I’d like to introduce you to an idea I’m hammering out right now. It’s something I might put together a Kickstarter for if I can find an artist (and enough people are interested). It’s a roleplaying-themed game centered around a AD&D-esque raid on an ancient castle once owned by an insane and evil count.

This started with me wanting to create a boardgame where you create a character, a la an RPG, and the character persisted through several playthroughs. Initially I thought there might need to be some kind of control on how this works, if I wanted it to be a con-playable game anyway, but I think I’ve recently settled on a system that’d make it a whole lot more navigable.

Part of the system I’m planning for it is a tile-laying game board construction, similar to Betrayal at the House on the Hill. A wonderful game that I thoroughly enjoy. Every turn, when the party enters a new room, the GM (first player) will tun over a new room tile from the stack and lay it down on the Dungeon Map. The tile will have an icon (and possibly art) relating to an Encounter in that room. The Encounter is a card drawn from an Encounter deck (divided into 5 types – Monsters, Adventurers, Environmental Hazards, Traps, and Hordes) and will have a description of what’s going on (“Orcs! You’ve found 4 orcs in a 10 foot by 10 foot room with a simple treasure chest in one corner. The horror! The suspense! The originality!”) and a set of Goals. Goals include everyone having to pass a certain kind of stat check (“Each player must pass a Constitution or Coordination check of 8 to swim or ford the river”) a Combat challenge (“Each Orc has a Defense of 4, an Attack of 4, and 2 HP.”) and Combat would be explained in the rules (can’t give everything away here!), or a Special Challenge (“If someone has the power Benediction or has the Blessed Artifact, then the following happens…”).  If the Encounter is passed, then the party receives Loot! Usually this will be Loot drawn from a Loot deck (which will contain Items – one use bonuses, Equipment – permanent equipable bonuses, and Powers – special circumstance rules that can help your party or hurt your enemies when used). Occasionally, the Encounter resolution may say to search for specific rewards from the Loot deck (and shuffle the deck afterward, obviously). And, at the end of each Encounter, the GM token passes to the next player, everyone refreshes their hand of circumstance cards (those are the ones with the stat and combat bonuses on them) to be ready for the next room.

Once the Final Foe is encountered and defeated, however the party does so, the characters don’t have to end. As they rack up experience, equipment, and powers throughout the game, their frame will hold more cards (laid out in a star around their central portrait and base stats as well as a description of the character), and the cards can be left in this frame for a later playthrough. I’m also thinking about writing an iOS and Android app that can store character data based on QR codes or similar scannable objects to record what cards are pulled in game so the character is ‘remembered’ for a later game. Of course, this does rely on honor among players but so does any ruleset. Anyway, the point here is that each Encounter deck is designed for characters of certain levels, spread out in 2-level chunks. There’ll be a Level 1-2 encounter set, 3-4 encounter set, and 5-6 encounter set in the initial box if I go all the way with this. Whoever has the GM token will draw from the deck for their character’s level, which hopefully will the be same as the other people in the party. Since every character will need the same experience to level up, a group of people playing together should maintain the same levels as they play. As well, every version of the game will be cross-compatible, so if this takes off you’ll be able to mix cyberpunk, steampunk, dieselpunk, cattlepunk, fantasy, urban fantasy, modern, and traditional science fiction characters into one big zany dungeon delving festival occasion!

So, right now what I really need is an artist and possibly someone who wants to sit down and work on the mechanics with me.  I think it could be a really cool game, though.

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