Friday, May 1, 2015

Soldiers! Aliens! Carnage! An Analogue Card-Based FPS

I don't even know if some of you remember this, but I wrote a post once upon a time about the idea of writing a little strategic mini-game about an alien invasion. Just like in the film Battle: LA (haters be damned, I really love that movie!). Anyway, I started fiddling with it and, as those things sometimes do, came up with a completely different game. A game in which drawing cards builds the halls and rooms of a space station with aliens in it and you have one (or more) players exploring it, shooting everything down that spawns, collecting what they dropped.

It turned out to feel like a First Person Shooter, so the rules started to mirror that. I wrote it down, played a few games with a friend and it worked. It even had shops to buy stuff and health boosts, ammunition, all the things we know from doom and the like. I wanted to post about it, too, but got derailed (I know, happens far to often ...). Then I lost my notes and with that I sort of lost my ideas about it, too. But the game kept lingering and festering in my brain, rearing it's ugly head every now and then to remind me of what I couldn't recreate.

The Doom series had been so much fun! [source]
Well,  I have a long weekend right now and I needed a break from Lost Songs of the Nibelungs, so I thought why not make this weekend about writing board games instead. One post will discuss the rules for S!A!C! (I really don't know about the acronym, though ... might need another name) and with another post on Sunday I'll be back writing about the Goblin-Tribe Simulator (which is over-due again).

Teaser (how to build a space station with cards)

You need a big table for this. Clubs and hearts will be corridors, diamonds are rooms (with some cards giving cover, too), spades are enemies. Pictures are doors with different difficulties, black aces are shops, red aces are healing stations. Jokers are the Big Bads.

Now you'll make two piles. One has the corridors, all red doors and the enemy cards 2, 3 and 4. The rest is the second pile. Each pile is now shuffled, but the Joker needs to be the last card of that second pile.

The game starts now with the corridors until a door is drawn or there is a shift of colors. It'll expand now into a room (either behind a door or after the first card with a different color). How those cards are put on the table follows a simple pattern:

 8     9     10

7     6     5

2     3     4

The first card of a corridor gives the direction of the corridor, the last card gives the direction of the door and the room behind it. Just follow the numbers (a ten goes always down ...). If a direction isn't possible, resolve clockwise for red and counter-clockwise for black cards.

While corridors only go into the directions the first card is indicating, it's decided with every card when laying down rooms. Room cards are drawn until the next door is drawn (black doors in the pile). A door is put on the highest card in a room and in the direction it indicates (if the indicated direction is not possible, resolve clockwise).

A opened door (indicate by turning the card) is always the first part of the first room/corridor, so if another door is drawn next, it blocks passage in the first indicated direction and the room or corridor expands in the next possible direction (depending on color clockwise or counter-clockwise).

The next card after an ace follows the direction of the last card before the ace. Enemies are always put aside first and start acting from the last card of a room or corridor ...

More tomorrow!

I gave this a few spins and it definitely creates a dungeon. The number of cards will indicate the movement needed from A to B. The rest is shooting at things, taking their loot and buying ammunition or better guns to confront the boss monster at the end. Combat will be based on some light D&D rules variants.

But more on that tomorrow (with examples and pictures). I'm still looking for a name of this, so if any of you got an idea, I'd be open for suggestions :)

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