THE PROJECT

Lets concept, design and prototype an analog board game!

Lets concept, design and prototype an analog board game!

DETAILS
The only limitations? The game board must be under 20in x 20in. I went into the ideation stage with some thoughts floating in my mind from other games and experiences that I've had.

Coming up with an original board game is difficult, but I had a time constraint that kept me in check. I followed a mashup technique that was described in a Tuts Plus article and it proved quite useful to launch me off into the game's design and core features.

The Royal Witch Hunt

The Royal Witch Hunt

Gameplay information
2-4 Players, ages 12+, 45 min runtime
Role
Game Concept Design, Graphic Design / Art Direction, Game Production
Team
Billy Reano
Kelly Prudente
Something bad was bound to happen. Four contentious brothers squabbling for their rights to be king, four hours of arguing loudly in the forest, and four mischevious witches who were sick and tired of it all. 
The Royal Witch Hunt Rules Summary Exerpt
Something bad was bound to happen. Four contentious brothers squabbling for their rights to be king, four hours of arguing loudly in the forest, and four mischevious witches who were sick and tired of it all. 
The Royal Witch Hunt Rules Summary Exerpt
As the story goes, the witches have turned these four princes into forest animals. Now, these animals run about the forest looking for witch ingredients that will turn them back to normal. But as they do so, they must elude a hunter that's tracking their movements.

As players sit down to play this game, they randomly choose an animal play card, uniquely transforming their game mindset. Within this story world, each animal has instincts that can help themselves or hamper others.

While the search for the ingredients keeps the game moving, the epic problem players face is will they keep the other players from danger or race to be the only victor? This is less of a semi-cooperative game, but more of a social experiment.
When constructing the game design, I wanted to be sure that the core game loop is very simple, like chess or checkers. However, the complexity of the game comes in the form of animal movement. The game hinges on a measurement movement concept, referenced from Warhammer 40k gameplay. Each player is given a ruler and can move in any direction. The distance and angles matter because the relationships between other characters, the forest trees, and the hunter evolve the gameplay.

Another game concept I enjoyed recently was the visibility feature in the game Suspicion. As the hunter moves about the game board, his vision is hampered by the trees, which the animals can use to their advantage.
Gameplay
In turn order, players move their animal tokens across the board in measured increments. After each round, the hunter hunts, or moves towards the closest animal token on the game board. If there are no animals visible, he uses his trusty compass to guide him.
Through prototyping and continued gameplay, I learned that the flow of the game starts off very easy, almost too easy. The anxiety kicks in about after turn 3 or 4. At that point, the hunter has done his job and is making every animal panic. While there is a general strategy involved with the game, those plans can go out the window when you're dealing with other mindsets. 

It's been very interesting to see the synergy of the different animals and how people find strategies to abuse their animal's instincts—which is all within the rules of the game. The box comes with 10 animals to choose from: Racoon, Fox, Bear, Wolf, Beaver, Rabbit, Deer, Eagle, Buffalo, and Moose.
PROCESS
Constructing a prototype was very helpful as we tweaked the instincts of each animal. We were careful in balancing the animals by focusing on three opportunities of power: The animals's distance relationship to the hunter, the animal's distance to a tree, and an animal's distance to other animals in the forest.

ARTWORK

The Royal Witch Hunt is a light yet rich tactical game that provides unique challenges for players entering the witch forest.
The Royal Witch Hunt is a light yet rich tactical game that provides unique challenges for players entering the witch forest.