The Most Dangerous Game: A Primer

There’s been a lot of great news about our first game, but I’d like to take a moment to break down a little bit about how it plays and where the idea came from.  This won’t go into great depth, there will be followup with future posts regarding specific game play mechanics and their design.

Originally designed for the CUDO Plays Board Game Design competition in Champaign-Urbana, IL, I had the idea for a game involving hunting others ala The Hunger Games or Battle Royale. Doing some research, I discovered the original story of that theme, The Most Dangerous Game written in 1924 by Richard Connell, had entered the public domain. I decided using that theme and setting as inspiration would give a unique spin in an area filled with Fantasy and Zombies. I wanted the game art to reflect old pulp magazine covers and movies of that era.

The game’s design drew inspiration from games such as Scotland Yard, Fury of Dracula, and Letters from Whitechapel. Each of these games involves a group of people hunting down one invisible player. It seemed to me that everyone wanted to be the person hiding, to feel as if they were outsmarting the rest. So the basic concept of the game was to flip that script and have one player hunting down four other hidden individuals who take on the role of Captives.  To allow players to be hidden on the board, each space has a corresponding number and they track their movement in private on an ‘action sheet.’

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With multiple players running around, this allowed me to tip the power scales towards the singular hunter, with the aim of making each player running feel the intensity of near misses and the satisfaction of outwitting their pursuer. It also allows the player trying to find these players a higher percentage chance of being successful. I wanted to avoid the scenario where players spend all game looking for something they never manage to actually find. It’s not a question of if they will be caught, but when.  The Hunter of course, has to succeed multiple times in order to be successful.  All hope is not lost for the Captives.

As the Hunter searches for his quarry, tracker tokens corresponding to each player are placed down to give the hunter some indication of where they have been.  For example: If the Hunter searches space 24, players check their sheets to see if they have been on that space on a given day.  If they have, a tracker token will be placed down.

Also helping the Hunter are his faithful hounds, which allow them to cover a broader area.  These Hounds increase and decrease in number during play as Captives successfully or unsuccessfully deal with them.  They can’t kill the Hunter, but they can take out his hounds.

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If the Hunter successfully finds or thinks they have found a Captive, they can fire their gun into an adjacent space.  If they are right, the Captive is dead and the player will enter as a new character the next day.  Otherwise, The Hunter has wasted limited ammunition ( To avoid wild guessing ).

The Captives are not out there alone however.  To help them, they can scavenge by drawing cards from the Scavenger Deck.  In this deck are weapons, traps, food, and other useful items that might help them.  There are also potential dangers and events that can shift the game board or game play.  These will be detailed at a later time.

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For gamers who find the Hunter is a little too good at hunting, The Power Cards were introduced to modify or tip the scales towards either side. This allowed the basic rules to be kept simple, with modification available. This level of modification can be seen with the Scenarios, Captive Cards, and other rules, making the game easily expandable and tweak-able.  We will break down these cards in the future.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for further updates as the game continues to be play tested and developed.  And of course, we will have a report on IndieCade and what comes from that!

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