Since January I have been working on my first tabletop game called Pocket Dungeon Quest. For the last month I have been preparing a Kickstart project to help me fund the printing and manufacturing costs. This morning I launched the project! It has been a long and very interesting journey, and this week that is what I would like to talk about.
TLDR version: I made a tabletop game all by myself. It’s awesome. You should buy it and tell all your friends about it. (:
My background in game design has come from building games for mobile devices. This is a unique platform and is still fairly new. My love for video games combined with my educational background in Graphic Design and Illustration has led me to where I am today. The last couple of years were spent within a small team at a mid-sized company creating mobile games. I was let go back in December and spent the next few months applying to every job I remotely had any skills for, I lost track of how many after filling out over 100 applications.
I took a different approach to my future career path from that point on. I did some contract work that paid the bills for a few months, while also working on a side project at the time creating my first board game. Tabletop gaming is a staple for my family during get togethers over the Holidays and I have always wanted to create my own but up until now I had never given it much effort. Pretty soon the contract work dried up and work on my game took priority.
The concept was simple, to borrow some of my favorite video game mechanics and see what they would look like as a traditional tabletop game. This was not an easy task. Many things that work within a video game just does not translate into the physical world. The trickiest things to work out was how to handle combat and meaningful randomized dungeons.
The most important thing to me in the design process was simplicity. There are many games that do an excellent job of creating a randomized dungeon crawling experience. The drawback to these games is that there are always many different components and large rulebooks. It typically takes nearly as long to learn the game as it does to play. With Pocket Dungeon Quest I tried very hard to make the learning process as painless as possible.
The mechanics of the game are kept simple for two main reasons. First, I wanted new players to be able to pick up the game and get playing within 10 minutes. Second, I want Pocket Dungeon Quest to be easily expandable. I have many ideas for ways to add to the game through mini dungeon packs. I don’t want to have to rewrite the rulebook every time I release a new expansion. These mini dungeon packs will simply and easily add new items, spells, monsters and build upon the already existing gameplay.
What I really wanted to create was a coffee shop game. My purpose was not to create the next deep immersive tabletop gaming experience ever. The idea was to create a game that would allow you to enjoy specialty drinks and great conversation while casually working your way through a dungeon with your buddies.
The solution that I found that solved many of these issues was to create the game using one component, tiles. With video games tiles are graphical elements that are used to layout a level. Entire worlds are created using well made tile sets. To create a set of tiles that could be used to play a tabletop game based on video games therefore made sense.
These tiles are everything. They get shuffled to create the world in which Pocket Dungeon Quest takes place. They are also used as place holders, character and monster tokens. One component makes up the entire game.
Gameplay is very simple. Shuffle the tiles to create a randomized dungeon. Each player chooses a hero class with a unique ability that effects the style of play. Explore the dungeon while slaying monsters, grabbing loot and finding the lost relics before getting annihilated by the Boss! Easy right?
Being self employed and not independently wealthy I am looking to raise the funds that I need to bring my new game into production. Kickstarter seems like the best way for me to accomplish this. My reach is limited, but I am passionate about this project and very hopeful about its success. If you would also like to see Pocket Dungeon Quest succeed, please check out the link above and spread the word. I have created some pretty clever (if I do say so myself) promotional images to share across my social networks. Feel free to use these for yourself and post them on any networks that you are comfortable with.
Thank you so much for your support.
~ Jeff Dehut