TOG Design Diary: 1 – Inspiration & Vision

TOG (code name) is a design I have been working on since the start of 2021. 

If I had to classify TOG in the typical BGG framework I would go with:

  • Category: Fantasy
  • Type: Strategy, Thematic
  • Mechanisms: Variable Player Powers, Action Drafting
  • Family: Dungeon Crawler

In a sentence: It’s a competitive dungeon crawler, without the dungeon!

This is the first post in a series of design diary entries which will explore different aspects of the journey. The focus of this post is on the initial inspiration and my vision for the game. 

Inspiration

Do you recall the exact thought or experience that led to the game you are working on? Here is how it happened for me. I had just finished watching a GDC video of David Brevik recounting the early days of development on Blizzard’s action RPG, Diablo.

David Brevik references the original Diablo Pitch document and shares a copy of it here: 

http://graybeardgames.blogspot.com/2016/03/original-diablo-pitch-document.html

Reading through the document, I was inspired by the simple description of the game play and diagram of the world.

Excerpt from the description of the game play in Diablo Pitch document
Diagram of the town and dungeon in Diablo Pitch document

This layered design with challenge increasing as you delve deeper into the dungeon was the inspiration of my shared game board, on which players would take actions each round (quest phase). The description of the town as a respite from the dungeon was the inspiration for the next phase, in which all players would spend their rewards to progress their characters (town phase). Ready with their new upgrades, players then prepare for the next foray into the dungeon (equip phase).

This inspired the basic flow of my game, but what was my vision?

Vision

Diablo happens to be my all time favourite PC game. But the things I love about Diablo are likely to be vastly different to someone else experiencing the exact same game. I aim to distill out those exact things in a board game form.

For me, it’s not about the hack ‘n’ slash. It’s about the down time in between; Spending rewards and character progression. That’s what keeps me coming back.

My vision is to capture:

  • The addiction of gambling for new items in town.
  • The hope that the next set item I am collecting will drop in front of me.
  • The struggle to choose which item to equip or attribute to progress.
  • The experimentation of how to spend the next point in my skill tree.
  • The growth of my character over time.

And then back to reality… my game can’t do everything. What do I need to cut to keep the vision alive? Turns out, a lot. This is perhaps a topic for another time.

Over to you

What’s the inspiration for the game you are working on?

What’s the vision and how are you keeping it alive?

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