From Aliens to Halberds
Yes I was bitten by the NaGaDemon as most of you know, and if you’ve been following me on twitter or listening to Haste you know that I was talking about an XCOM inspired board game. Then it turned into an XCOM inspired RPG. Then it turned back into a board game. Well now…it’s something else entirely.
It’s not the XCOM game I’ve been going on and on about though. Simply due to the fact that the project got out of control way too fast and I only have so much time. This is my first attempt at designing a game and I think it came down to XCOM being too complex for my initial foray into game design so I decided to keep it simple. There were too many elements of XCOM that I felt needed to be packed into a game for the full experience of its greatness but not enough design experience or time to pull it off. Rest assured though that I’m still sticking to my video game roots with this current project: Crimson Crusade. It’s a little closer to home for me than the sci-fi genre so I think that’s another factor which made this project a reality for me.
So What Happened Anyway?
I recently picked up Chivalry: Medieval Warfare on Steam with some friends during the Fall sale and have been totally addicted to it. It’s stirred up my desire for a fast furious board game of FPS-like combat. I absolutely love the board game Tannhauser for many reasons, most of them pertaining to how much it reminds me of a tabletop version of Wolftenstein. However, Tannhauser can be a bit long and the strategic layers can get cumbersome depending on how many chess players you’re playing with. I know there are a few other games out there that emulate FPS experiences on the tabletop (Steve Jackson’s FRAG, for example) but I there needs to be some representation of the FPM (First Person Melee) genre out there too. So after much inspiration and addiction, we decided to create Crimson Crusade within the last week of NaGaDeMon.
You might be asking “why not just play D&D deathmatch or something” and there are many answers as to why we don’t like that idea. The main one being that D&D rules are too complex for a quick game of “slaughter your friends”, but also because in most versus style tabletop games once you’re dead the fun is lost and you just get to sit around and watch other people roll dice. Also, in large games the time it takes for your turn to come around takes way too long. We wanted a fast and furious game with emphasis on quick play. In Crimson Crusade when you die, you respawn 1-2 rounds later depending on the game mode and you’re allowed to make as many moves/attacks as you want on your turn as long as you have the stamina for it.
The game feels really scaleable so far, but we’ve not gotten to playtest it much. Right now we’re saying the game is for 2-20 people but we’ll see what that turns into after feedback. Hopefully it can be a good game night game and a good game for conventions also. We’ve got Deathmatch, Last Person Standing, Capture the Flag, and team variations of each of those as well as scenario modes and maps coming after release. There will be one sample scenario to get people started and get the idea of how they will work included in the rule book. The rule book also contains everything you need to play – cut out stand up miniatures, and a map by the very generous Brian Patterson of d20Monkey.
Looking back on the whole point of NaGaDeMon it seems that spurring us into action instead of just talking about that game we’re going to make some day is the whole point. I might be coming in late, but at least I’m following through on a project. Luckily I’ve had a great partner in this whole endeavor and as it turns out co-creating a game is a lot less scary than doing it all by yourself.
As it turns out the project is finally getting wrapped up today and should be ready for tomorrow. It might suck, it might be a blast. That’s up for you to decide though, and I’d really appreciate your feedback. It will be dropping right here sometime tomorrow. See you then.