Are there other games where you get to play two competing forces at the same time?
This is a bit of a smash-up of Nuns on the Run, Billionaire and Colt Express. Hopefully, it creates a suspenseful, but not brain-burningly intense, experience with lots of player interaction. Everyone gets to play the good guys (the prisoners) and the bad guy (the warden) in the same game, which I have only come across in Colt Express, but that was very limited interaction.
Let me know your thoughts!
Theme: Breaking out of prison
Story: You are inmates trying to escape the prison. How do you avoid the warden? Do you work together or do you snitch and get him off your back,
Mechanisms: Silent trading, puzzle, roll and move, simultaneous action, programmed movement.
Win condition: Be the first to escape the prison.
Escaping the cell. Each player has the parts to various maps that show the way out of their cell to escape the prison. Players must silently trade one card at a time to collect a set of cards that will create a complete map. (Trading is silent because you can’t talk openly about your plans). Once you have a complete map you can escape your cell and make for the exit on your map.
Warden Movement.The Warden is doing his rounds. A dice (d4) is rolled and the warden moves that many squares around the board. The player whose cell the row the Warden is in cannot trade cards and is responsible for rolling and moving the warden.
Player Movement. If not everyone has escaped, you can move one square of your choice every time the Warden is moved. You may choose to stay in your cell so the Warden does not capture you.
Escaping the prison. The backside of your cards are directional cards for programmed movement. Players take turns playing a card face down to program their movement. Once everyone has placed a card one card, 2 warden cards are placed. Repeat until each player has placed 3 cards and the Warden has placed 6 cards.
Warden Movement. The warden has their own deck of movement cards. Each round a different player will be Warden. They will choose which cards the Warden plays.
Getting Caught. The Warden has a seeing radius on 4 squares in front, 2 to each side and none behind. If your character is ever in this radius your character is caught. This means that they are taken back to their cell and are stuck in their cell for two rounds. During this time, they control the warden. After two rounds they escape.
Winning: Make it to your exit. Everyone can win if they make it to their exit in the same round. When one player makes it to the exit, they take control of the Warden. They now get to play as the Warden and they play an extra Warden card from their hand after each movement of the Warden.
I really like the idea of this one thematically and gameplay wise. I had an idea for a similar players vs AI game like this which was infiltrating a museum to steal an exhibit and avoiding the guards.
I worry a little about the warden movement being to a different player each turn as players have their own interests to serve. I imagine this would just result in the warden moving back and forwards on the spot as the player controlling him wants him to walk away from them. I think you’d be better off devising some sort of AI deck for the warden in which a card is revealed each turn that the prisoners have to play around.