This post will outline my ideas that I created for my individual game project. It will discuss the process I undertook for developing my idea from just a brainstorming thought to a structured game with a story line, theme and mechanics.
The initial idea
The initial spark for my idea began in class when we took part in a class activity of writing down 5 random game ideas in 5 minutes. Along with a lot of complete nonsense that I wrote down such as Drama Llama and DJ doggo one of the ideas I wrote down was Sewer Rats. I liked this idea because it was about an animal that usually doesn’t get much good publicity in comparison to a unicorn, cat, dog, llama. It wasn’t like any game I have heard of before. I began to expand and think more deeply about the idea that I had written down. I came up with this idea :
‘Each player is a rat that enters the sewer pipes and is trying to escape to the other side’
Narrative and Storyline
This initial idea created the narrative in its self. My board game would follow the journey of a group of rats trying to navigate their way underground the town of Bega. Scurrying through dark tunnels/sewer pipes in order to find the legendary cheese factory which will supply them with never ending cheese.
I chose the end destination to be a cheese factory as I thought it would give the players more motivation to reach the finish line rather then it just being the end of the tunnel with nothing on the other side.
I chose the setting of the game to be in actual town being the town of Bega because this town does have a huge factory that creates the famous Bega cheese. Although most people playing the game will just think it’s a made up name for the game but for the people that do recognise the town name it will add a little something extra to it.
The first picture I get in my head when I think of a rat in the sewer is Master Splinter from the Teenage Mutant ninja turtles. After researching the show and the different versions made over time I was inspired by their art and colour and would like to appropriate this design of greens, reds, purples and black colour into my design. As seen in the pictures below.
After brainstorming these ideas I went to the internet to confirm that there isn’t already a board game with the same concept but it came up empty. Although there isn’t anything specifically called Sewer Rats there are various different games relating to Rats. But nothing that is too popular. The closest thing I could think of is the popular game Mouse Trap. Pictured below is the search result of “Rats” on boardgamegeek.com.
This is the basics for my game and this is where I began my research into what was the next step to developing. I was inspired by the game Carcasonne that I played in the first few weeks of class where you build the game as you go. I wanted to incorporate that into my sewer rat game where the player builds the tunnel as they go to create their own path to the final destination.
What I liked about this idea is that every time you play it becomes a different experience. This could also be created by having a permanent board that has different pathways to the finish line. Giving the player the choice of where they would like to go. This could also depend on what the player rolls on the dice to show what direction to go in.
I knew I wanted to use this idea of chance in my game so I decided to go with the permanent board with multiple pathways. The pathways being the tunnels that lead the rats through the town. Although some pipes will lead you to the wrong destinations that could harm/delay your journey to the finish line. For these destinations I came up with the locations of a church, jail, residential area, pond, park, school, shop and a cat café because everyone knows that cats eat rats.
With these elements in mind these are some designs I drew up in class for it. At first I drew up with this one but realised very quickly I needed to upscale everything and add more squares and way more pathways and destinations for the players to land on.
So from this design I grew from this and created this one.
I much preferred this design because of its size so the game would go for longer and there is more opportunity for strategy and game tactics. This week I will be creating this design and play testing it further to see if more squares or locations need to be added to increase the game time.
Along with of course the game board my game materials at this point are including 4 little rats as the players pieces, cards that have instructions on them that are given to players when they land on a destination, cheese pieces which are going to be used as lives/health and normal dice for each turn.
With all of these ideas , research and designs in mind my final board game idea sewer rats will be :
A board game
Ages 10 to 101
2-4 rats racing through the tunnels to the finish to get to the cheese factory
Roll the dice to determine how many spaces you get to move
if you land at an intersection you have to turn in the direction it states
If you land on a destination you must pick up a card from the correctly coloured pile and follow the instructions on it
Now that I have my story line/narrative, design ideas, and core game mechanics it is now a matter of me physically producing my game and creating written rules to give to my friends to play within the next week to see what is working and what isn’t.