This week’s guest post is from Designer Anthony Tunis, focusing on how he designed Dungeon Escape. Anthony’s game was born out of a desire to play games with his wife and young family members, so if you’re looking for a dungeon themed game for non-gamers, perhaps this is it. Read what Anthony has to say and if it sounds like your kind of game then check it out on Kickstarter.
Designing Dungeon Escape
I recently designed a card game called Dungeon Escape. I wanted share a little bit about my reasons for designing or better yet remixing a classic game like memory.
First off, my name is Anthony, I like to hit the gym and I love sports. In my free time I play video games, watch a ton of movies, and of course, HBO. I know so far this sounds like a profile from a dating site, but what I meant to say is that I don’t have a lot of gamer friends. Yet, I still love to play and collect card games. I tend to read the directions a lot but don’t get to play often.
I can’t get the wife to play Munchkin or Magic but she will definitely sit down and play a game of Wizard or Uno, go figure. Everyone loves fantasy themes, so I wanted to create a game based on those themes that was quick, didn’t involve a lot of serious thinking but still added a bit of strategy and luck. Oh, and I also wanted to create something a non-gamer would play.
I’m always designing games and end up trying to make them huge and epic but this game literally took me about an hour at work to come up with. I made some quick prototype cards on PowerPoint (that’s all I had at work). I played the game solo all night. The hardest part was trying to remember whose turn it was, the left or right hands (being left handed I secretly did better on those turns).
I played and tested this game out over the next month with anyone from my five-year-old godson to my teen sister, and even the wife. They all seemed to really enjoy it. The game didn’t involve extensive play testing because the main ideas have been around forever. We all played the game of memory as children so the rules are familiar. Flip over two cards and try to match them.
However, to add a grown up theme to the game and give it that fantasy CCG feel I added a few elements. First was the artwork, which I personally love, mainly because I didn’t draw any of it. Each card presents itself as its own piece of fantasy art. Next, I added hero cards to the mix, each players gets to randomly select a hero to use. A player can battle their opponent’s hero and try to steal their matches. Using dice lends a bit of luck as to which player wins a battle, but hero abilities and equipment cards offset some of the luck factor. Finally, it doesn’t matter how many matches a player has at the end of the game in Dungeon Escape. Each match is worth a set number of points so a bit of strategy becomes involved. Does a player take several one point matches or try to find a match worth three points? The player with the most points, not the most matches, wins the game.
There is even a bit of story to the game for the RPG fan. Start with your hero in the dungeon, make your way up to the castle, and escape into the forest. There are several gameplay variations that all add another fun and different element to the game. Dungeon escape is for 2-4 players ages 5 to adult and each game takes around 5-10 minutes. It also fits in your pocket, which means it can be played on the go. So if you have some time, check it out on kickstarter. Thanks for listening.