Popular Posts

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest

I am getting close to finishing my newest game design project, called Derelicts of Sin: Heresy.  Heresy is the first in a series of games that seeks to combine the feel of old-school text adventure games with modern board game design sensibilities.  It is a solo RPG-esque game with a sci fi/horror theme, designed for the Solitaire Print and Play Contest.

The player uses a series of randomized room tiles to slowly create the derelict ship throughout the course of the game.  Gradually, the player will also gather items and solve puzzles in order to restore power to the ship, at which point he or she has multiple options for winning game.  Time is of the essence, though; once the player runs out of oxygen, it's game over!

Version 1.0 of the game book can be found here.  Version 1.0 of the tiles are here, and the data cards are here. The player sheet is here.

For background purposes, you should know that I'm a bit of an oddball.  My synapses are always firing, and occasionally, out of the blue, a word or phrase will pop into my head and I'll think, "That would make a cool title for a movie/game/novel/whatever."  One Thursday, 5 May, a phrase popped into my head while I was at work: "Derelict of Sin."

"That sounds cool!" I thought.  "How can I use that?"

I started brainstorming, and very quickly came up with a rough storyline in my head.  I decided I liked the idea of a sci fi puzzle adventure, like the old text adventures we all know and love.  (Or is that an older generation thing?)  I even considered making it a text adventure, but thanks to some suggestions and encouragement from various BGG members, I decided to attempt it as a board game.

Derelict of Sin has since evolved into a concept for a series of games called Derelicts of Sin.  The first game, Heresy, involves the protagonist, Kyle Mason, exploring one of the Derelicts of Sin in an attempt to survive.  His ship was destroyed by sabotage, and by sheer luck, he was able to reach the Wreckage, a Cursed zone declared off-limits by the Theocratic Council.  As Kyle explores the [i]Heresy[/i], he learns more about what happened to the ship, and must face the truth about the Council--that it is not the holy governing body it pretends to be.

I had several design goals while creating this game.  Feel free to let me know how well I accomplished these goals:

1. Create a tabletop game that evokes the feel of a text-based adventure.

2. Create interesting decisions for the player--i.e., moments where the player must decide, "Should I do A or B?  Which would be a better use of my resources?  Which will help me win the game/achieve the ending that I want?"

3. Weave the storyline into the story in such a way that it doesn't crowd out or distract from the gameplay.  In other words, make the game playable without the storyline, and add in the story so that those who are interested can enjoy it, while those who simple want to play or replay the game can do so without getting bogged down.

4. Allow for multiple "good" and multiple "bad" endings.

5. Push the player to a particular "preferred" ending.  This was a minor goal, but since I have a few sequels in mind, at least some of which will likely involve more of Kyle Mason, I wanted to guide the player to an ending that made sense, yet would continue the Derelicts of Heresy storyline.

Check out Joe's wicked awesome graphical update to the game here.

Also check out the "stealth" version, Pocket Derelicts: Heresy, based on the popular Pocket Dungeon print and play game by Jonathan Gilmour.  The PocketMod player sheet for Pocket Derelicts: Heresy can be found here.  The rules can be found here.


  1. I'm Jonathan Gilmour, and I approve of this!!!

    1. Thank Jonathan! It's a very cool system you came up with.