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Fancy a Board Game?

  Hello, friends and fans and general internet weirdos with nothing better to do! After a flurry of regularly-scheduled updates earlier this year, things kind of petered out a bit until a summer read-a-thon allowed me to read some good, some great, and some terrible books. Some of you may be wondering what I’ve been up to lately.

  Well, I’ve been writing a board game!

Wait, what?

  Oh? We’re going to do this question/answer style, huh? Cool!

  Yes. I was struck with the idea for a board game while road tripping to take part in a friend’s wedding. Between conversations of backroad horrors with Ashlie and long stretches of not a whole lot going on, my mind seized upon a horror-themed board game that messes around with the idea of trust and betrayal.

  And I realized that I had already written something that would work as a pretty solid backbone for a tabletop experience.

And that would be?

  Oh, something that people probably didn’t even notice was on my site: a play called Otherworld: Infinite Requiem. It was a sequel to a Halloween-ish play that probably did not age well at all. The sequel, however, is something I feel needs very few tweaks to bring it up-to-date.

Otherworld: Infinite Requiem

That looks terrible.

  I’m a writer, not an art person.

  That’s also not a question.

And you want to make a board game?

  Yup!

  Growing up, I always wanted to make video games. However, every time I would try some kind of tool that would supposedly help, like DeHackEd for the original DOOM, I could never get it right. Basically, if there was a way to screw up, I found it. And the internet being in its infancy, there was no real way for me to get answers. Despite wanting to tell stories in games since I was younger, I never really developed the skillset to do so.

Otherworld Card
Yes, yes, I'm sure your witticism about my inability to write is very scathing. Shut up.

  While designing board games come with their own problems (like forgetting to add a rule or clarification like a shmuck), I feel that this is just one way to wed my passion for games with my skillset.

  Of writing.

  Words.

  Goodly.

  *cough*

Turn Tracker
Also, plotting out how things work.

  One of the things I hope to accomplish with this game is to create a kind of unique, randomized narrative experience for the players. Since I can’t art at all, cards for weapons, events, and other things have flavor text that will help flesh out the world while also creating a self-contained story for that particular session. The major beats may be similar, but the individual threads will be different.

Event Card

  Plus, I get to write some fucked up shit, which is always fun.

  Between the cards and the instruction manual, I have written a novella-worth of content (nearly 41,000 words) because I am a wordy jerk. This has been a lot more laborious than you may think. Have you tried to write out creepy fiction on something smaller than a playing card?

  It's… difficult.

What does this game entail?

  Well, the premise is that you are one of six unique characters trapped in a city beset by a monster-based apocalypse. Each player must complete five objectives that take them through an individual story arc that culminates in a ‘boss fight’ of sorts. As the game goes on, the map becomes more and more populated with things that will want to eat you.

Aberration
Like these charmers!

  The creatures are fast and hard to kill, meaning that fighting back is usually just meant to buy you time to flee. However, you’re not alone—up to five others may be joining you in your struggle to survive.

It’s completely co-op, then?

  Kind of!

  The longer the game goes on, the more vulnerable you will be to corruption. This will compel you to do things to the other players in order to survive. Some of it is just general pettiness, but you may also be called upon to do some pretty unsavory things simply to live a few more rounds.

Corrupt Objective

Go too far into corruption and you will be marked as an antagonist, which basically means you can attack and be attacked by other players. When one character is working actively against the team, the dynamic changes. When more slip into the antagonist’s role, then things get really weird.

So… it’s kind of like a moral choice system, isn’t it?

  Parts of it, I suppose. I mean, there are some events designed to elicit a similar feel, but sometimes these things come down to a roll of the die. Or just because I decided to write a card that punched you (metaphorically) in the face.

  Life is terrible sometimes! Weee! Board games!

Where is this at, then?

  It is almost playable, in the sense that I have to finish designing the maps. As you can imagine, a non-drawing hack like me has to adapt in order to make something that doesn’t look like a crappy, drunken doodle on smudged graph paper. So I went around the city (and the school) to snag a metric ton of textures that can be used to make a half-decent/mostly terrible facsimile of a cityscape.

Vicinity Map
Gaze upon my weird, sort of Flash game-y vibe thing!

  With a total of six neighborhoods to design, this will take me a bit more time to finish up and polish. But when that’s done, it’s a matter of getting friendly printer-folks to print up tokens, maps, and cards so I can begin the process of play-testing, realizing I wasted my time, and dying in a weeping mess because everything I love turns to ash!

How oddly fatalistic.

  Have you met me?

You are literally typing to yourself.

  So I am.

Purchase Project Northwoods at Amazon.com.   Purchase Washed Hands at Amazon.com   Purchase Improbables at Amazon.com.

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