Darkhold Change Log

  • Darkhold Change Log

     Bob Whitely updated 1 year, 2 months ago 1 Member · 10 Posts
  • Bob Whitely

    June 21, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    [No discussion posts here, please.]

    I will use this section for keeping you up-to-date with changes (not tiny ones, but the more important mechanical ones.) I’ve been doing this at our Darkhold FB group, but they drop down and out of sight after awhile, so I’ll try it here.

    — Hunting: Dark adepts that appear when there are no tiles to darken (and once they’ve darkened all of the existing tiles) they begin to hunt you, using their chains to inflict damage, leaving whenever the Dark One shows up (the game always ends fairly soon after that anyway.)
    — Sleep: The Sleep (Big action) has been removed (It was used to counter the Sleepy condition, but isn’t interesting, so it’s gone.) To counter it now, you have to find a magic item called V Pop, short for the consumable drink Vital Pop. Many will likely have to deal with the sleepy condition for quite some time before getting that energy drink to help them out, I’m guessing.

    — Tiles: New Specialty tiles were introduced with streamlined rules and no grid. You still have to pay to exit them (a flat number of spaces out of your movement, but you don’t have to navigate them, which simplifies these areas and focuses more on what they are about.) The way tiles are introduced into the game has changed somewhat. Now, depending on what Win Conditions players have picked, certain tiles will be added or left out of the game and some will be placed randomly before the game starts. You now use only about half the tile deck or so in a given game. With fewer tiles, the players will have to use them wisely.
    — Cells: Now, if you leave a tile without opening a cell, there’s a good chance the Warden will have moved the prisoner to a different cell if you ever return to rescue them, so if possible, you want to rescue them when you have the chance. And if you return, there’s a good chance also that a trap has been placed on the door, making it even harder to open (it will never be trapped when it first appears, but the traps and their timing is random every time you don’t open a cell.) This makes timing a bit more important, while also reducing the amount of bookkeeping – there’s no need to track what cells are occupied or empty any longer. I did the same thing with treasure chests!

  • Bob Whitely

    July 21, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    As for updates, I simplified the combat a bit, swapped out Light marks as the requirement for winning for yardbird cards. With Yardbirds, I can show a picture of who you rescued and what their response it, so that’s a lot stronger thematically. As such, I’m thrilled, since I’m all about theme! I also updated several of the Event cards and all of the Encounter cards.

    Darkhold is ready for playtesting again, so if anyone is interested, hit me up. Thanks!!

  • Bob Whitely

    August 21, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    I’ve been running some solo playtests while I wait for more folks to discover Darhold and hopefully take an interest in playing. I know we are all so busy with our own lives. I am happy to do a playtest swap. Well, I’m happy to playtest someone’s game even if they don’t want to do a swap, but I’d love a swap, too. 🙂

    Anyway, I’ve been making some little tweaks, but since I don’t think anyone’s reading these, I guess I’ll only post big changes. None in the last month. Just little tweaks like in solo play I now do encounters every round, except in Specialty tiles, and I’ve boosted what you can do at Access Terminals to make them more enticing and interesting! I’ve also done some rules clean up to improve clarity.

  • Bob Whitely

    September 2, 2021 at 9:53 am


    Last week I had 2 multi-player playtests. Both went really well. Even so, I felt that the game was longer than I wanted, and that some things could be more streamlined than they are, so I have a bunch of changes coming (after a good 4+ hours of brainstorming.) I’m not sure yet how much they’ll impact game duration, but they’re solid, I think. Time will tell. Here they are (and I’m in the middle of implementing the changes):

    — Big actions: 2 Small actions = 1 Big action. This will remain in my Little Epics RPG, but they don’t work as well, so I’m speeding up play by making everything a small action.

    — Light tiles: The tiles were 2-sided and started on the Light side and you flip it to the dark side. To reinforce the theme, now we will have a Dark side only and you place a dark stone on it to make it Super dark. This makes the light sources even more important. Super dark is just supernaturally dark, and will make it tougher still, with a few consequences to players.

    Light sources: I’m getting rid of matches and lanterns and just keeping the flashlights, which use batteries that drain in Super dark areas (lose 1 battery each round in those areas.)
    Treasure: I’m going to split up treasures into random treasure chests and vending machines where you can count on what you get or its a narrower selection. Still refining this one, but it should make some areas more reliable than others for getting what you want.
    Memories: They have been greatly simplified and also the tracking has been improved.
    Pits: Gone – not fun enough and slows you down too much. We’re going for a faster pacing.
    Mystery spaces: Refined, pits removed.
    Action Player Aid: Simplified by getting rid of Big actions. Simplified some actions like Search. Removed the need to roll dice for certain actions.
    Specialty Tiles: Now the Stargate tile appears as far away as possible from the elevators and the elevators tile randomly enters the game over top of one of the Specialty tiles when triggered. The lore for Specialty tiles has been moved back in the book so that only those who really care to know the lore can easily find it and read it and no one else has to see it.

    There are some other changes I’m still considering. Good stuff coming!

  • Bob Whitely

    September 7, 2021 at 11:17 am

    9/7/21: The latest updates include the following:
    1. Added a Battery depot to pick up batteries for your flashlights (the batteries die fast in Super Dark tiles (supernaturally dark) and I included the new rules for such tiles.
    2. Removed Light tiles. Now we’ve got Dark and Super Dark (place a dark stone on a Dark tile to make it Super Dark.) When performing tasks that require sight, you have a penalty to your ability check to do them if you don’t have an active flashlight.
    3. Added a slot machine to try and get treasures that way (slot machines and vending machines can be found in many locations throughout Toonaria. No one knows who sets them up, but some suspect the ancient Architects, in part as a means of monitoring and evaluating the mortals. (Some items have tracking devices in them.) There are volumes of lore about Toonaria, some of which overlaps with Darkhold.
    4. Added a Slop Station vending machine where you can get slop to eat, which when it’s not poisoned, will heal you.
    5. I revised the Players Aids, removing one that had lore on it into a lore section in the rulebook and updated some of the icons. The goal has always been that information that is actually used during the game is on Player Aids and the rulebook is only for learning how to play and now also for the lore. The bulk of the information on Player Aids is not in the rulebook. They serve different purposes.
    6. I streamlined some of the rules here and there, updating Event and Encounter cards, and some other rules.
    7. The player boards and side boards (with health conditions, memory tracking and such) were all completely revamped and where reasonable, some text was added to increase understanding.
    8. I reformatted the rulebook to now be a half page format, so it’s got more pages now, but not more content.

  • Bob Whitely

    September 21, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    9/21/21: Hey, all. I’m back to playtesting! Here’s the latest changes:

    Win Conditions: Because there are several game modes (Solo, Free-For-All, Co-op and 2v2), I sometimes make a rule and then see that it works fantastic for some, but not all of the modes.
    I think I’ve largely got things ironed out now (I hope!) More playtesting will tell. I’ve gone back and forth with yardbirds, but they are not a requirement to win, except in Solo and ties, so that should speed up play.

    You still have to break out of your containment shell, but yardbirds are handled differently depending on the mode. So, in Solo play you have to rescue yardbirds to get out, as before.
    In Co-op, you just need to break out of your shells, find the elevator and get out. In Free-for-all, and 2v2, the conscript who escapes with the most yardbirds wins. If you want to linger in the Darkhold long enough to get more yardbirds, for example, you may do so, but you risk getting captured by the Dark One.

    Also, now, you find a flashlight and 1 battery as well as 4 machine nodes upon escaping your cell. Batteries start draining quickly when dark tiles turn into Super Dark tiles, and there are no light tiles anymore. I gave out machines nodes instead of making you hunt for them because they are too cool and useful to not use in the first half of the game.
    As soon as the Elevators tile has been revealed the Stargate tile will appear, if it hasn’t already, either way, that’s when the Dark One will step out of his gate and start hunting folks down.

    Elevators Tile: I’m still reviewing how the Elevators tile comes out. I have a few ways that it can. I’ll finalize that shortly, likely. So that the Dark One doesn’t come out too early, I do have a triggering pre-req for him. I used to have one and I’ve gone back to it, though it’s been simplified now.

    Mobile Containment Units – MCVs: I changed the MCV a bit. Now, the shell keeps you alive. You can’t just break out of it by causing enough injuries to it. The thing keeps regenerating. You feel every ounce of pain from any damage it takes as it transfers it to you, which is stronger, thematically, making you care more. It keeps you alive, treating your injuries when your health stone(s) drop off their track, but just enough so you’re able to stay conscious.

    Having to hurt yourself (well, your shell) felt off thematically. It’s dark, but not the kind of dark I was going for. Currently there are 3 ways to get rid of your shell. I may add 1 more. If you take a dip into the right vat of chemicals, go to the Dump and get the exiled Warden to remove it with his machinery, or encounter the right creature you can get out.

    You are now susceptible to Redd while in your shell and any damage you have will transfer to your species health bar when your true self emerges. If you drop off the track when your species is revealed, you will be crawling to freedom, unless you have a way to heal yourself or someone lends a hand, making it easier to get captured.

    Peeking: I also added Peeking at tiles as an Access Terminal activity. As some tiles come out onto the board hidden via Event cards, the elevator could already be out there somewhere. Now you can pay 1 DP to sort out where in Darkhold the Elevators are. Even if you don’t find them, you can narrow it down when you know where it isn’t. If anyone is interested in trying out the latest version of Darkhold let me know! Thanks!!

  • Bob Whitely

    October 5, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    Hi, all. (Anyone reading these posts?)

    I’ve had 2 pretty solid solo playtests lately. Darkhold is a puzzly tile-laying game. You’re trying to find the safest way through the dark and explore to uncover important survival tools – and the exit itself.

    I refined the Door deck. The design is simpler now (essentially there are red, green and blue technomagic doors that can transform to present different challenges. There are also cell doors. Each time you draw a Door card, you change the challenge each door type presents, and now the Cell door randomly assumes the same challenge as one of the other 3 door types (there used to be 4 doors on every card and some more text, but the rules were reformatted differently. Some other rules have been streamlined as well. Here’s what the new doors look like (art at this point is always preliminary) . . .

  • Bob Whitely

    November 2, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    Just added a Fast Play version of the game. You can get a decent taste of Darkhold for 20 minutes or less, and still do many of the same things. The Objective is based on escaping with a certain number of Destiny Points, which you can earn by rescuing yardbirds (and you start with some, too.)

    The game begins mid-game (sort of), in which you aren’t in your shell and you know where the elevator is – 5 tiles away. The Dark One is off on a trip, leaving behind the adepts, who have decided to step up the pain. They start at the beginning of the game with you, and are on your tail the whole time. So, you have to stay ahead of them, which means no time to visit all the cool specialty tiles. You also don’t have time to snag much treasure, so it’s much faster paced.

    What you don’t get is as much story. It’s easier to lose than the full game, if you are running Co-op or Free-For-all, but I wouldn’t say that is a bad thing necessarily. It’s just a different experience. I’ll keep playtesting it solo and in other game modes, and likely keep it for when you don’t have an 60-90 minutes to play the core game.

    Speaking of the core game, it seems pretty stable now, but more playtesting is needed, of course. Over the next week or two I’ll be revisiting the Encounter cards to see if I can polish them a bit more. If you are interested, hit me up! Thanks for stopping by. Have a great rest of the week, all!

  • Bob Whitely

    November 16, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    Update 11/16/21:
    Things have slowed down a bit as I am busy on other fronts (life gets in the way), but the game is looking pretty solid. I’m in need of more playtesting, however, so I’ll be expanding my search for playtesters soon.

    As for this week, I just created new, more stressed out versions of the moobi, gubbling and roboto) for the player boards (the original art was never meant to be final.) I’m sure they’ll be polished up some more later, but they’re a lot closer to what we need to support the mood and theme well.

    I also updated the art on a few of the Event and Encounter cards. Oh, and I improved the language on a few encounter cards.
    I’m currently working on a new encounter card displaying an MCV who isn’t actively trying to escape the Darkhold, but is instead trying to help find the elevators and slow down the dark adepts. I am working on 1 more encounter card. I’ll show another sneek peek soon.

  • Bob Whitely

    January 7, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    Been working like mad on the latest iteration of Darkhold. Things are looking good!

    Latest changes include changing the way Encounters work. I removed a few icons from the tiles and added a new Danger Zone icon. If you pass through it, a monster monitoring the area converges on your location and you have to draw an Encounter card. Also, some doors alert a monster to come after you. With this new system, players feel more agency over having encounters, and it is a faster mechanic than before.

    I’ve cleaned up the language and updated the art on many cards across the game, streamlined the player boards even more and have been preparing all of the art for uploading to The Game Crafter by tomorrow sometime. Lord willing, I’ll be able to get the game back in time to go to Dice Tower West’s Prototype Convention and playtest every day of the con! If you’re coming, look me up!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  Bob Whitely.
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