To help myself remember how I felt about various things that I finished
Monday, May 11, 2015
Chupacabra: Survive the Night
Who wouldn't want to play a glow-in-the-dark dice game about Chupacabras? I liked this game at first because it is pretty simple. Players roll dice that either come up as farm animals or as chupacabras. Use your chupacabra dice to steal farm animals from other players. Whoever gets all the dice first wins. Pretty simple. Unfortunately, it feels out of balance. Often, you roll dice, and no one can steal anything, which is boring. Other times you can steal, but there are no interesting choices to make -- you just steal the most obviously valuable dice -- very few surprises. The coolest surprise (if you roll all chupacabras) is that you can steal a whole bunch of dice -- which can tip the whole game in your favor... and the fewer dice you have, the easier to roll all chupacabras! So... I like that part. My mind keeps working at how to fix this game. Partly, I think there should be two kinds of dice... the normal black ones, and also, say, red ones that have two chupacabras instead of one, but have no chickens, making them harder to steal. Then you'd have some interesting decisions to make! I'll probably try playtesting this sometime soon, with, uh, some stickers. Oh... and the glow-in-the-dark gimmick? Weak. Not only are the chupacabras invisible in the dark, but you can't even tell a chicken from a goat... so... playing in the dark doesn't make much sense. Idea of the day... a game where glow in the dark stuff really IS important... maybe featuring a UV charging light, to keep items bright! Maybe the glow serves as a literal cooldown! Put your dice in the charging box to charge 'em up, because when they get dim, you can't read what they say! Or... could you have warriors who are more powerful, they more they glow? Bright guy defeats dim guy! So you have to move dim guy to charging box, wait the right amount of time, get him out, and then get him to destination before he gets dim! Now this is a game I could get behind! I gotta try making a charging box... As usual Goethe is right: "Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game." Yeah, baby. I bring Goethe to the table when I write about glow-in-the-dark dice games. If you don't like it, GET OUT OF MY BLOG!
Jesse Schell has taught Game Design and led research projects at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (www.etc.cmu.edu) since 2002. Jesse is also the CEO of Pittsburgh’s largest videogame studio, Schell Games (www.schellgames.com), the author of The Art of Game Design: a book of lenses (www.artofgamedesign.com), and the former chairman of the International Game Developers Association (www.igda.org). In 2004, he was named one of the world’s Top 100 Young Innovators by Technology Review, MIT’s magazine of innovation.
Before coming to Carnegie Mellon, he was the Creative Director of the Disney Virtual Reality Studio, where he spent seven years as designer, programmer and manager on several projects for Disney theme parks and Disney Online. Before that, he was a software engineer at IBM and Bell Communications Research, and a writer, director, performer, juggler, comedian, and circus artist for both Freihofer's Mime Circus and the Juggler's Guild. You can email him at jesse(at)schellgames.com.