Journey into the Game Designer’s Mind
When we begun designing Perdition’s Mouth, it was clear to us that we wanted dice-less mechanics, that it should be a fast game, easy to learn and tactical, allowing skills to determine results rather than the mere luck of a die roll or a card draw. Of course, a certain amount of luck is inherent in any dungeon crawler. During game testing it has become evident that explaining some of our choices helps understanding the game better, so read on!
As in all real situations in life, battle and dungeon crawl, situations vary. The rondel mechanic has been designed to portray this effect while still being fun, fast and
tactical. The rondel also automatically balances between varying numbers of Heroes, since when there are more Heroes it will automatically be harder to actually take the action you’d primarily wish to do at any given time. We assume that combat in dark dungeons is hazardous and not that predictable. The rondel pretty much prevents you from just repeating your actions, as you can not stay put – you have to move every round. It also means that players must discuss what actions their Heroes ought to take, and in which order.
In Perdition’s Mouth all actions are viable options for any hero, while still supporting the Heroes’ different abilities, weaknesses and strengths. We believe that the rondel mechanic is easy to learn and very tactical and that it allows players to choose better than luck based mechanics (dice, cards, etc.) would allow.
Perdition’s Mouth is built to provide tactical choices on many levels. The luck aspect of the game is, on purpose, smaller than for many similar (dice driven) games, meaning that players can choose when their Heroes do their most heroic feats (including sacrifices).
However, in Perdition’s Mouth no Hero can constantly perform epic actions, but has to mix in lesser actions occasionally.
Randomness in Perdition’s Mouth is mostly built on deck draws, of fairly small (thus predictable) decks.
In Perdition’s Mouth the Heroes are truly unique, possessing very different abilities. Each Hero has to be played with a tactic that actually works for that Hero. Heroes are also balanced as a group. Any single Hero, alone, wouldn’t be able to win – one has to co-operate.
Not only do the abilities vary, but as each Hero possesses a very different type of deck, you will perceive the Heroes differently and gain a unique gaming experience from each Hero.
In a campaign setting it is heavily recommended to choose Heroes that fit the particular level and not just to play your favorite Hero on each level. The uniqueness of the Heroes provides an ample amount of replayability, as one can not, necessarily, use the same tactics which worked with team A for team B.
Horror & Fantasy
One of the goals in the game design was to implement a game with enough grit; hardship and fear should show. We dislike the idea that heroes have to be tidy knights in shining armor with all the valor of the world. We also felt that most of the dungeon crawlers were actually telling scary, horror-tinted stories while doing very little to convey that in the details, the game mechanics or the feeling of how the game plays.
We believe we’ve succeeded a bit better, but we still would love to hear your comments.
We’re well aware that horror is a hard genre to master.