Hello geeks and nerds, we hope you are okay. Crazy times, right? We should take care of ourselves and others, please stay safe and stay home if possible. We are also working from our homes and try to avoid going outside as far as we can, and we got used to it.
In these days we spend at home, we want to do something useful for ourselves and our team. When we had our meeting on Discord, we decided to learn Board Game design. Yes, as a TTRPG studio we don’t have enough experience on Board Games and right now we have enough time to gain XPs.
We know that one of the best things we could do for this is playing board games. As I said before, we do not have much Board Game experience and we have to gain it to create a game that can be good for us and for people.
Why we are learning Board Game Design? Actually the answer is clear, we love designing games and narratives, we believe we can create a new perspective for board games too as we did in Svilland, Corpus Malicious, and Mindabar.
In this series of articles, we will share our thoughts about the board games we play in three questions:
- What did you like about the game?
- What did you learn from the game?
- What would you change in the game?
We believe, with the help of these questions we will understand and criticize the games we played better. The idea of sharing the things we have learned with you and conducting this learning process with you is very welcome to us. It is sure to learn better by sharing.
And here comes the first game we played, Sub Terra
First of all, all the team liked the game, we enjoyed it every second and we are so glad to learn and play Sub Terra, it is a really “Welcome to the Board Game” game. Easy to learn, fun to play. The designer of the game Tim Pinder made a really good job. Congratulations Tim, you are rock!
Here are questions and answers,
PS: We played the Tabletophia and core version of the game.
What did you like about Subterra?
Barkın Tokalak: I really like the way the game keeps the action going. As a player, I felt like there is always danger around the corner. Also, the phase system works perfectly and creates an opportunity to strategize your movement.
İzel İrem Aydın: I think the theme is handled very well with a “tile-based” game. I liked the characters created in the game and the features of those characters. It is great that Leader is able to give an action to another player. Also, I liked that “Fear” is used at the end of each round.
Bartu Agca: I think the game can be played in many ways, I like the feeling of doing something with your friends. The mechanical design of the game and the graphic design match very well with each other. Finally, each character’s own ability connects all players to the game.
Ekin Topanoglu: I liked that the game is players versus the game itself, it pushes the players to act together and develop teamwork to win the game. Additionally, the variety of characters and their roles was wide enough for different focuses and strategies.
Alican Develioglu: I like the teamwork at most. Different character options with different abilities create a vast array of player options that can be combined with multiple players.
Umut Comak: As my friends said, I liked the teamwork aspect of the game and as a graphic designer I also liked the layout of the game. The number of components in the game was very sufficient and did not tire the player while playing. Thanks to its simplicity, the game looks much more pleasant.
What did you learn from the game?
Barkın Tokalak: I believe, to create a good board game, players must always stay in the game and be able to think about their further actions. Subterra delivered a good example by giving different challenges in every turn. As a player, I think if someone asks themselves “What now?” in a game, the game feels stuck and not fluent. I can say Subterra is fluent enough to enjoy it.
İzel İrem Aydın: We should not enter the caves
Bartu Agca: Co-op is a really good option for board games I learned that even the color palettes used for the ambient feel are very important. Easy to understand is always one step ahead.
Ekin Topanoglu: I realized that I had a perspective of board games as they are competitive between players, whereas there can be games designed like Sub Terra to encourage group work.
Alican Develioglu: Do not be trapped in an underground cave.
Umut Comak: Sub Terra’s theme and mechanical compatibility cannot be a coincidence. Therefore, when designing a board game, I think that first the theme and then the mechanical elements supporting the theme should be discovered.
What would you change in the game?
Barkın Tokalak: Aside from being well done, I find somethings in Subterra undetailed. The way the horror work is too simple and almost always predictable. Also, after some time the hazard phase feels much less hazardous. I would simply add some action to horrors or create different horrors and for hazards, there are already three hazard decks divided by difficulty so, I would create different hazards for each level other than the same thing happening twice.
İzel İrem Aydın: I could add new situations to Fear to create diversity, I designed the monsters in such a way that not only bodyguard could harm. For example, the engineer can give up the chance of explosion and damage the creature.
Bartu Agca: I could make changes to shorten the playing time. I could increase the variety that players can do in Horror Phase so that the horror phase could become more dynamic.
Ekin Topanoglu: I would slow down the horrors or make them slightly weaker because I have seen that when the horrors come, the game goes down into a death spiral too quickly. The existence of 1-hit-kill monsters and only one character to repel them narrows down the list of options too quickly as well.
Alican Develioglu: I could characterize the monsters a bit more just to give the horror feeling more. A little more basic mechanics could also be added such as damage, monster health, etc. Also, in this case, the other characters may have some abilities to stand against the monsters.
Umut Comak: I would love to strengthen the replayability of the characters, even though the replayability of the game was provided with tile opening and two other things. I would create more free spaces for the characters’ abilities and let players choose their character abilities at the beginning of each game.
We hope this article series will help you as much as it helps us. We can be better designers together and help each other.
Feel free to comment or email us for any suggestions.