Infinite Dungeon and an unnamed board game

I’m thinking about what to do after I finish Ideas and Inspiration…Volume 2. I have two main ideas.

Both ideas would use both a board and a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ style system of paragraphs.

i) I talked about this idea before here, but since then I’ve changed it considerably. This is the current version:

Everyone who ever lived on Earth finds themselves reborn in a different galaxy. An alien species, who translate their names as the Archons, says that they’re responsible. They are, unsurprisingly, regarded very highly by reincarnated humanity–in some cases literally worshiped.

A few people, however, are suspicious. Some wonder why their new bodies are sterile. Some notice that the Archons are vague about the lifespan humanity can expect, and whether they can expect to be born a third time. Some scientifically literate people who lived in the modern era are bewildered by those who claim to have lived in a civilization of the distant past, whose existence seems not merely unsuspected but actually impossible. The player characters in this adventure board game attempt to find out the truth of the Archons’ motives (there are several possible answers).

The game is cooperative, and so could be played by a single player controlling all the characters.

ii) The Infinite Dungeon. This is, broadly, ‘D&D as a board game’, like The Sorcerer’s Cave or Four Against Darkness.

This dungeon would be ‘infinite’ in the sense that it can be as big as the player wants, and in the sense that you can play it an indefinite number of times with different results. The system of paragraphs allows lots of different possibilities, because the player finds out what they need to do as the situation comes up, rather than having to memorize every rule beforehand.

This game could have its own system, or could use an existing role-playing system (probably pre-3rd-edition D&D). However the player would be expected to run the entire party, not a single character. This game could be played by a single player opposing several NPC parties, or by multiple players, each of whom controls a rival party.

Please let me know what you think of these ideas.

Which theme (if either) do you prefer for a board game?

The game is cooperative.

i) In a future Star Wars/Star Trek/Futurama/Firefly-style galaxy, the Archons (lizard-like aliens that, according to David Icke, control the world) are gradually corrupting and taking over planets.

ii) Everyone who dies on Earth is reincarnated in another galaxy. The planets of this galaxy range from paradisical to hellish. The rulers of the most hellish planets are gradually corrupting and taking over planets. In this version, the player characters are named historical people (or possibly characters from public domain fiction).

Review: Two Hour Dungeon Crawl, part 2.

In part 1 I generated my characters, as well as the mission and ‘Big Bad’. The main thing I got from that process was that it was unnecessarily confusing, due to the rules being in an arbitrary order. I should say that I’ve read a couple of other reviews of this game (here and here), and neither of them say the rules are confusing. I’m not sure why, but this game uses the same basic system as several other games by the same company, and these other reviewers seem to have already been familiar with this basic system.

You can generate the dungeon by drawing from your own set of dungeon tiles (although the encounters always take place in the same size and shape of room or corridor, regardless of what the tiles represent), or you can roll on a table they give you. I’m rolling on their table.

You roll for whether a square is a room, corridor or dead end as you enter it. However, unusually, you don’t roll for the contents of corridors as you come to them (you do roll for rooms). Instead, you generate what the game calls ‘PEFs’: Possible Enemy Forces. These are placed in different squares to your characters, and gradually chase after you. When they get to you, they might turn out to be monsters, ‘just nerves’, or something else. This is an interesting idea. However, the odds (1 in 6 chance of a PEF on non-room squares, it could take several turns to get to you, and each PEF initially has only a 1 in 4 chance of being something) mean that you can get through quite a few squares until you encounter anything. There’s also the un-themey possibility that the PEF chasing you turns out to be a trap.

Anyway, eventually I ran into a couple of traps. The procedure for dealing with traps doesn’t involve any decision-making on the part of the player: it’s all rolling dice. To be fair, D&D seems to have the same problem.

After a while, having not run into any monsters, I decided to fudge it for review purposes and just generate a group (this turned out to be a group of 8 Ogres). However, I initially couldn’t find how to decide what the enemy NPCs do. After reading through the rules a couple of times, the answer seems to be that Shooters will shoot at the nearest enemy every round (even if engaged in melee), Casters will cast a random spell, and everyone else will run at the nearest person and engage in melee. However the rules also say that “Non-Shooters can use missile weapons”. Also, the rules say that the NPCs on my side are “controlled by the game mechanics”, which I assume means that they behave the same as enemy NPCs, rather than me choosing what they do. Having a combat between 13 characters and only being able to make decisions for one of them didn’t seem like very much fun to me, so I decided not to.

In conclusion, 2 Hour Dungeon Crawl (like Four Against Darkness) suffers from a lack of meaningful choices for the player. It has the added problem that it’s written in a very confusing order. The version I have is the 2nd edition, so presumably they’ve tested and tweaked it. Perhaps their testers are too familiar with the rules to see the problems with what’s actually written, and they need to show it to people who haven’t played one of their games before.

Weird mental habit

When I was single, and in an enclosed group (for example on a bus, or in a class), I’d often look around and mentally rate the attractiveness of the women there. However, I’d always specifically think of it as “if there was some kind of apocalypse and this group were the only humans left alive, who would I want to be paired off with?”