Inspired by a comic strip created by Lunarbaboon and drawing influences from retro video game Pac-In-Time, I have come up with the adventure board game Doorways. Taking players through five curious worlds, only the strongest will make it out alive. Doorways is made for four players, with the possibility of adding a fifth as the narrator who will have their own powers which can influence the outcome of the game.
Each player will choose a character at random, beginning from the person who fell asleep latest the night before. The characters all have strengths, weakness as well as one superpower which they can use once throughout the entire game. The names of the characters are Eric, Elias, Clara and Leanna, with specific details about their traits coming in later posts.
Every world the player enters triggers a quest which they must complete to unlock the next world. The quests vary in difficulty and this is where the concept of luck appears, although every quest in the Infinite Desert is marked high in difficulty – hence the name ‘infinite’. The five worlds the player must travel through includes the Wailing Forest, the Underwater City of Illyria, Dread Mountain, the Infinite Desert and the Inferno. These are similar to the different worlds you must complete in Pac-In-Time and whoever is first to conquer the five worlds is crowned as the winner.
Each round begins with a roll of a die which is six-sided but only presents the options of rolling a 1,2 or 3. Following an old-school game mechanic, the player then moves the same number of spaces and will either trigger an event card – which includes actions that can both negatively or positively impact their current quest – or they will land on a space with items that will help complete their quest. Again, specifics are still in development.
Every great game requires a back story so players can better understand why certain game mechanics are in place, and here I present you the idea of Doorways:
At first glance, the door was exceptionally ordinary. In fact, so much so that few ever noticed its scratches and brown exterior – most people would simply walk past and ignore it, instead thinking of more important stresses to handle for the day. But there was something different today, something you couldn’t explain that would change everything on a day you thought was completely ordinary. As you walked down the corridor, you stopped and asked, “was this here before?” in a voice of clear confusion. Your friends remained on an equal level of bewilderment, having never seen this perfectly ordinary door before. However, today it seemed to emanate a call to come closer, impossible to ignore and almost dream-like in nature. You step closer and a shiver runs up your spine; what’s the worst that could happen? Taking a final breath, you open the door only to find darkness. Curious, you walk inside with your friends close behind and eventually hear sounds of birds chirping and the soft rustle of leaves moving as the breeze hits them. But something feels off and you no longer feel safe, you decide to turn around only to find endless forest stretching out in front of you. It seems your only choice is to move forward, but with two paths to choose from and no end in sight, will you be able to make it out alive?
I really like the concept of this game Jess! The back story for the game feels like the players have a fateful encounter that changes the course of their lives in an instant. I feel like the backstory for the game alone creates an immersive experience, which I think will only be added to as players journey along with your four protagonists, in a struggle to become the ultimate hero. I also really like the idea of having a fifth player who can act as narrator with some level of influence over the game, it makes them seem almost like an interfering force of nature. The names you have picked for the worlds too are just awesome! My favorite sounding one is the “Underwater City of Illyria.” Can’t wait to here more on this!
Wow Jess, you seem to have this thing totally planned out! Really dig the concept, kinda reminds me in a literal sense of the show ‘Thank God You’re Here’, haha. Having that fifth player as a narrator brings a neat D&D element to the table and could really help with changing the game up each time it’s played without putting pressure on you to bring in a scripted, dynamic system. Looking forward to see how you tinker and elaborate on these neat ideas into a completed project!
You have thought so much about this, and the idea seems really interesting! The detail you have put into the characters and back story make me want to play this game right now. I know for me, when a game seems really complex and complicated it kind of puts me off so even though there is so much information for the players to take in, the idea of using the simple roll and move mechanism makes it seem much more inviting. I look forward to reading more about this!
Just this post has made me so excited to play this game! You have managed to already create something so unique, enthralling and potentially entertaining. I love that you’ve incorporated classic worlds (like Pac-Man) and classic game mechanics that everyone can know and understand, it’ll make the game accessible and enjoyable to even the most casual gamer.
You have such a great storytelling voice, are you planning to write little blurbs for each of the worlds and ill-fated events? Will all of the characters have backstories as well? I feel like a technique like this could really add to the immersive, role-playing quality of the game and evolve a simple concept into a game people would want to keep coming back to again and again. Maybe like the Living Card Game model (https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/more/living-card-games/ ) but with a world you’ve created yourself.
Whatever you decide to do, I imagine it’s going to be amazing and I can’t wait to see it come together!
Thank you! I did want to have little blurbs for each of the worlds and I think I’ll do one or two lines on each character on their profiles. Backstories always add a bit of depth to a game so whether people read it or not, it’s always a nice addition to overall gameplay.