I’ll just dive right in and try to make this brief. For the past couple of months I’ve been quietly, privately beavering away on the Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace board game. I abandoned it once or twice because of work and because I thought I had a great idea for a card game (I didn’t), but I kept returning to Darkplace.
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, the board game is a co-operative adventure for (so far only) two players set in the fictional TV hospital, Darkplace. The goal is to close the monster spewing portal of Hell in the cafeteria by travelling from the roof, across a modular board which represents the hospital, to the cafeteria where a rite must be read. Playing as Dag, Sanchez or Madeleine Wool YOU will have no idea what room you will enter next (locations are drawn from a deck of tiles) or what horrors (or treasures) it contains.
Working together and communicating through walkie talkies the two players must search each room for RITES. Pages of a book that, once complete can be delivered to the cafeteria and read aloud to close the portal.
Here’s a snapshot of the Darkplace board game, a few moves in.
Player 1 is Dr Rick Dagless. It’s the start of his turn.He has three actions available to him from a selection (actions may be performed in any order): Move, Investigate, Action/discard a card, Communicate With Partner, Exchange Items.
1. Move - Player can travel through one door, either returning to an explored room or discovering a new room. A new room cannot be passed through until it has been investigated at least once. There is a limit of five investigations per room until that room is declared exhausted.
2. Investigate - Spend an investigation token to search the room for items of use, weapons, bonuses or precious RITES (new rooms must be searched once, up to a limit of five times). One token spent = one card drawn from the top of the Search deck. Searching rooms is essential as weapons/ammunition are scarce and certain items are necessary to progression. Warning: you may not be alone in the rooms of Darkplace. Excessive searching could disturb a monster. Each time a room is investigated, it is marked with a token.
3. Action/discard a card - Did your searching uncover anything of use? Combine your handgun card with the ammunition card to free up a valuable space in your hand (hand size undetermined). Combine your crowbar card with your Locked Cupboard card for the ability to perform another search. Keys open doors. Batteries power gadgets. Be aware that what you discard or use without thought could be of interest to your partner….
4. Communicate with partner - Each player’s hand of cards is private and should not be shown to another player unless one player chooses to spend an action point to communicate via walkie talkie to his partner. Walkie talkies are constant possessions for each player. The only upkeep they need is battery replenishment. Batteries are found during room investigations. Provided players are in range of each other (range to be determined) and they both have batteries, they may discuss their possessions (hands) and arrange to meet in a specified place if an item exchange is required.
5. Exchange Items - If two players find themselves occupying the same room either by accident or design, they may communicate freely without using walkie talkie batteries and exchange as many cards as they like. Only exchanges must be made, card for card. No gifting of cards.
So that’s what Dag CAN do. On Friday I’ll tell you what he DOES do. There will be combat and more friendly encounters. Player two will also take their turn.
I’ve gone round in circles over various design projects but this one is *playable now* so it’s already leaps ahead of anything else I’ve done.
I want input and comments. I *am* having trouble with a few things and feedback, even at this early stage, is invaluable.
The biggest issue right now is that it doesn’t HAVE to be a Darkplace game. Other than the title and the characters it could be a… Silent Hill game! It needs themic devices. Need to have a think about that.
And I’ll have pictures on Friday.
Coming in Part 2: ‘execution’, combat, and player two’s turn.