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Prototyping and What Comes Next

So with the DELVE Kickstarter finally nearly done, all I have left to do is finish of UMBRA: Stations and post out the last few things to late responding backers.


So what comes next?

(author's note: I end up rambling near the end as I'm mostly just laying out my thoughts.)


Well, if you've been looking at blackwellwriter.itch.io you'll likely have noticed that we just passed the $1000 mark for WASTE: A Solo Game of Survival. The post-apocalyptic sister to DELVE, RISE, and UMBRA. But while we've funded, the game's actually quite the ways away.


See, before I dive into another DELVE-like, I wanted to experiment with a few things and already had a few things lined up to work on first. So lets take a look at my pipeline and what games I've currently got planned.


THE WOODS

When I started making DELVE it was a lot more management heavy and I wasn't a fan. I dropped a bunch of things to get it to the neat and tidy game you know now and I'm glad I did.


The Woods is an even more story and drawing focused map game. Drawing inspiration from Animal Crossing and Ori and the Blind Forest, The Woods tasks you with helping forest dwelling creatures and spirits to rebuild their homes and fix the forest.


My main design pillars for this game are:

* Character - Each denizen of the forest needs to have a personality that is generated. They'll also have goals and desires that the player needs to take into account. And their appearance/ name should also probably be generated.


* Relaxing - No management. No resources. The Woods takes place entirely in the moment. At most you may have things you want to do to appease a character but you won't need resources to accomplish it.


* Story - Like all my games at the moment, I'm fixated on the idea of Emergent Narrative, the story that emerges when mechanics interact. I'd like to have that be more front and centre with The Woods.


This is the first game in my pipeline once UMBRA: Stations is done because I promised a couple of friends that I would make it and a promise is a promise.


CONTAIN

I love Warehouse 13 and SCP and have always wanted a game that lets me run my own artefact hunting secret society and that's what CONTAIN is going to be.


Tangentially related to DELVE in that you draw your compound it'll have a lot more journalling and you'll have named characters similar to The Woods.


Collecting artefacts will be a mini-game in itself where the mission is generated, you assign units to it (some of which might be named characters) and then work through it to see what happens.


I'm also toying around with the idea of using the Random Wiki Page as part of artefact generation but so far I keep getting country songs which is... interesting but not quite what I'm going for.


WASTE

Third in the pipeline, WASTE will take the map drawing format to the post-apocalypse. Units will be named and unique to represent the lack of people and supplies. Survival will be a large focus and, at time of writing, I want to include an open world exploration element with procedurally generated factions.


I'm thinking of including more of an RPG twist to WASTE but we'll see what happens once development begins.


MINT TIN KAIJU

A competitive fighting game where each player controls their own Kaiju as they stomp around a procedurally generated city, eating humans to charge their special abilities, and using special map features to beat each other down.


The main constraint is that I'm using mint tins as the packaging. The starter set would be slightly larger, bundling two mint tins together to give players two straight-forward Kaiju to use but the current plan is to have extra mint tins that each contain:

- A Kaiju (3D printed, Meeple, or Cardboard cutout to be determined)

- 12 People Meeples (Currently being represented by park guests from Dinosaur Island)

- 3 Kaiju Cards (Their stats and special powers) - 6 City Cards (Relating to the Kaiju)

- Ability tokens as required

- Kaiju themed D6, D12 and a custom die


So far the prototype looks like


Collecting humans and placing them on your abilities works well and generating the city feels neat but there's a LOT of playtesting before I even move past the blank cards and sharpie phase.


If you're a budding designer, I've found that raiding my collection is a great way to get good looking pieces on the board quickly. These little meeples from Dinosaur Island are the perfect size for a game this small and are very satisfying to scatter across the city.


The T-Rex is also from Dinosaur Island and makes a great argument for making everything out of meeples while the painted bug in the background is a Reaper model.


But the most valuable parts of my prototyping arsenal are definitely the blank dice, blank cards, and counters. If you can, I really do suggest stocking up on some blank components.


WHAT ELSE?

But that's not everything I'm doing just now. I'm also gearing up to launch a Patreon at the start of next year but before I can do that, I have one last thing to get out the door.


CHIMERA COMMUNE

My fantasy newspaper. A small, in-universe tabloid that tells the news from a fantasy city and the surrounding country. Inspired by Terry Pratchett's Discworld we're hoping to have something that will make you laugh time and time again.


Issue one will be free and will be available from blackwellwriter.itch.io and blackwellwriter.com

Once Patreon is set up, you'll be able to submit letters to our Reader's Letters section, submit your RPG character's brave or stupid deeds to our Adventurer Gossip column, or get physical copies (if we make it past the print threshold).


Thanks for reading :)

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