I've been meaning to start sharing some info about my latest project, but it's just so easy to not do it and keep toiling in obscurity... nonetheless, here it is! Not the game you're expecting from me, but something I've been wanting to do for years. It's a digital board game called Lost In The Woods
, and it is indeed literally about exactly what it says.
(Work in progress, all art will change)
It's a cooperative game for 1-4 players, although at present my implementation plans to just make it a solo experience (you can play with 4 just like you would at a table - swap out the mouse for each character, or just play them all yourself). I know online play would be wonderful and all, but I want to get a game done, not spend 6 years lost in the woods for real.
I designed this actual board game a couple years ago, and got through some playtests but not enough. I'll have to share some pictures of the real prototype sometime in the future. Frustrated with that, because I do really like the design and it's a unique experience, I figured why not make it digital where it can get unlimited testing even though I'm stuck in a quarantine? The original design is inspired by video games in that it actually has a metagame and feature/character unlocks like a video game would, which I haven't really seen done in board games (outside of legacy games, which are a little bit of a different take - mine is more like secret expansions hidden in the box, which you COULD just open up at anytime, but you would feel so guilty if you didn't earn them! Legacy games are about an ever-changing game, this is more of an ever-expanding one).
So a rough overview of the game is that you have those four characters (they wouldn't all be the same character, of course...), and each one has four stats: Hunger, Thirst, Exposure, and Exhaustion. Your goal is simply to find your way out of the woods before anybody maxes out on any of those stats and dies. At first, it's fairly straightforward resource management, but as you draw an Event Card each turn, sometimes it's a Threat Card. Threat Cards don't really do anything, but you stack them up... and once you have 3 of the same kind, something
happens. The entire game will change. This element is inspired by a game I kind of hate but admire, Betrayal At House On The Hill
, the biggest difference being that nobody becomes a traitor (usually
...). But you always face a new threat, ranging from forest fires to murderers to wild animals to mythical creatures. Anything you can imagine stumbling across in the woods is probably in there. And the rules change in various small ways. However it goes down, you are crafting a unique story depending on your mix of characters, the threat, and your 'origin story' (a die roll at game start determines how exactly you got lost in the first place, and there are different endings accordingly).
And in our playtesting experience, I'll just be honest, that story has never once ended well. But we've gotten close!
This game is very slow going, but it's been accelerating lately as I figure out my dev tools a little more (Unreal Engine 4) and get more interested as it starts to turn vaguely into a game. I make no guesses at any kind of completion date though (or even whether it will be finished, to be honest). Current state of development: Not Even A Game Yet But You Can Click On Stuff. More info to come.