Sunday, August 2, 2015

Escape from Grimm Manor: a horror game for Hallowe'en at Coal Creek.

Sample Brawn challenge card.
Coal Creek, the local historical park where I run Gippsland Gamers every Thursday evening has been holding a highly successful Hallowe'en event for years now. This year, they had the idea of running some games in a darkened room, lit only by flickering candles with a suitably spooky sound track, and they asked me for ideas. I spent a while trying to think of the right game, something atmospheric, but simple enough for kids to play it. After spending a lot of time nosing around on BGG, I started to think that all the really atmospheric horror games were quite complex, and all the simple horror games lacked atmosphere...
Which obviously meant I'd have to have a bash at designing my own.

Escape from Grimm Manor is about just that - escaping from a haunted manor after dark. In order to escape, you have to overcome a series of challenges, but the real fun comes from forcing your opponents into challenging situations. It's something like Betrayal at House on the Hill meets Munchkin in game play, although the atmosphere is more like the former and less like the latter. I've been working on developing fairly simple and intuitive rules - you have three sets of dice, one each for Brawn, Brains and Bravery, and you roll these to overcome the challenges. You start with one die in each, but you can gain or lose them as you play. There are also Blessings and Curses which can either help you, or hinder your opponents. So far there has been no playtesting, but I have been working on designs for the cards and player aids.

Sample Bonus card (I'll rename
these 'Blessing')
I'm thinking about getting this properly printed using The Game Crafter, since it'll be played in public and all. Obviously, I'm going to want to playtest thoroughly first to ensure it's good enough to justify the money, but the experience of developing for print has been rewarding and educational so far. I've had to change the way I usually design cards to accommodate things like bleed and safe areas - things which are not such an issue when you are going to cut things out by hand (although cutting out by hand leads to it's own set of issues!).

Stand by for updates, and it goes without saying that if I get this printed by The Game Crafter, I'll be making it available to anyone who wants to order a copy.