In this series of articles, we track the development of Seventh Cross, our upcoming cooperative adventure game. Inspired by metroid-vanias, rogue-likes, and dark fantasy adventure, it is planned for release sometime in 2018.
Feeling good about the gameplay we had built in version 23, I set out to improve on the parts of the game that were tedious. Traveling around the castle was difficult because encounters were printed directly onto the board. This meant that, like in video games, monsters would re-spawn and traps would reset every time you stepped out of a room. While this kind of play is fine for video games, it was a bit tedious for a board game.
Feature Tiles appeared as a solution to this problem. These tiles were used to populate the rooms in the castle, then could be picked up after being cleared, allowing a quick path for hunters coming from behind to make their way through the completed castle.
The first time a Hunter entered a wing, they would draw one of that wing's Setup cards. This card would explain how to place tiles in the wing, as well as where the boss would spawn and what path it would take traversing the castle in search of the Hunters.
These cards would sit near a wing of the castle until being cleared.
In this version of the game, as in the previous versions, dice were used to determine the difficulty of the challenges. As time advanced, more dice were added to the castle's dice pool. In order to beat a challenge, you had to provide more proficiency than the difficulty that appeared on the dice. Each dice face in this version gained additional effects. Zero's caused the boss to move or attack. One's increased the amount of damage done by a successful attack by the boss or hunter. Two's and three's provided an additional gold reward for success.
Thoughts on v24
Version 24 was not a large change over version 23, mainly refining the concept of moving bosses and how to effectively set up and randomize the appearance of tiles within the castle. These experiments were successful, but we also noticed more ways to improve on the formula and provide players with more agency.
The boss movement system came with a few issues–most notably that it was possible to quickly kite around the boss if you weren't hitting any traps that caused you to roll dice. We also began to feel a little iffy about the Gear Grid system–most notably that lining up pieces of gear, while cool, wasn't directly contributing to the experience of the game–most symbols just weren't useful.
Version 25 brought a few big changes to the game, including the introduction of new Wing Tiles and a new style of story direction...