Saturday, November 16, 2013

Learning Wizardry must be easier than this

Remind me to never complain when asked to make a card game again, please.

It has been two weeks since my proposal for a Harry Potter theme board game became the chosen one, and that is about as far as it has gone. Week one, our group tried to approach the game development by first choosing the characters and objects most well known to a Harry Potter fan. Still holding on to that plan, this week Christina, Ram and I tried to develop the mechanics. I'm pretty sure it was easier for Harry to kill a horcrux than it is for us to create this game.

We had to abandon the idea of rolling a dice and moving along a board after Professor Parks pointed out how cliche and boring that approach is. Instead, we decided to keep with our second idea, using "goal cards" for each character. Professor Parks helped us with this idea by inspiring us to use an interactive mechanic and have the players hide their opponents cards within the castle. We agreed that this was the perfect way to fulfill two requirements, mobility and interaction.

Christina magically found a map of Hogwarts that easily exemplifies the type of design we want, with a few extra rooms that we would replace as common areas. I made prototype Goal, Object, and Spell cards, and asked Ram to make the official version since my version looked like a six year old made it. So now we have the following things done: a rough design of the board, cards, and thats about it. As I mentioned, Harry would have killed two horcruxes by now.

Again with the guidance of Professor Parks, we got the idea of using clues around the castle to guide a player in the direction of his hidden cards. I realized that written clues would only work if the cards were set up the same way each time. There after, I came up with the idea of verbal clues. We have four players to a game, four corners of a board, and of course four Houses! Each player could take charge of one corner of the board that represents one House (the House doesn't have to be the same as the player's character).

To incorporate the clues, I suggested that when a player enters a room in another player's House, they can receive a clue as to the whereabouts of their cards, given they reward the House keeper.  For example, if Payal enters my Huggle Puff House, she has the following options:

a) give me a one point object card and I will answer YES or NO to: is my card in this house?
b) give me a three point object card and I will answer which room the card is in
c) give me the object card that I need myself: I will give you your card

This idea obviously needs more work and developement, but it is a good start. It sets a path for how to move around the board, how to interact with other players, and how to discover your cards without simply walking into a room and picking up a card.

I also suggested the idea of a hand limit. Ram and Christina agreed that 7-10 would be appropriate for this game.

Tomorrow is our meeting to finish up the prototype, hopefully Ram can write a post filled with good news next week!

Trisha Patel

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