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Idea for horror/mystery card game


Is it possible to create a game with cards (plus tokens or minis) that captures the feeling of playing horror/mystery computer games like Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, etc?

Does anyone think such a game has potential to be interesting and fun?

The inspiration for this idea started way back when Trevor was posting about his zombie survival game. I was hit with a desire to make a different kind of game that focussed more on players moving through different creepy locations as they tried to escape and explore.

I'm most familiar with Silent Hill, so I'll give a brief summary of the stuff it involves:

* You go on a trip with your daughter to a creepy town, crash your car and wake up to find she's missing. The aim of the game is to find your daughter.
* The town is almost empty, but you run into a few characters who help you, tell you stuff, or who end up as monsters you have to take down.
* You have a gun with limited ammo and a broken radio that makes noise the closer you are to a monster.

* You explore the town looking for clues, going to scary locations such as a school, hospital, amusement park, etc.

* You fight freaky boss monsters and then usually make a breakthrough in your quest.

So, this kind of game would involve exploring locations, finding clues, and fighting monsters in order to complete an objective.

A tentative idea I had in mind for exploration was to draw cards a deck and then place them next to each other to construct a progressive map. Each card might be a room, corridor or stairway. Maybe each card instead represents an entire location such as a school.

Finding Clues
Perhaps clues would also be represented by cards. They might be people, items or other discoveries you encounter. There could be several different types of clues, and players would have to continue exploring until they had a matching set that revealed a chunk of what was going on, completing an objective or perhaps just giving them a new direction.

Fighting Monsters
Again, perhaps monsters are represented by cards. Perhaps mixed into the same deck as clues so you wouldn't know what you were going to get. Maybe some clues are only found after killing certain monsters. Killing monsters should not be too rewarding - the aim isn't to kill as many monsters as you can, but to stay alive and complete the objective.

Complete an Objective
Usually involves solving the mystery of why there are monsters roaming around. Might involve finding a specific person, place or object. Perhaps achieved by piecing together clues. Might involve defeating a boss monster in order to complete.

I'm looking for some more ideas and feedback about this idea. In particular, is anyone aware of a similar style game, or maybe a game that uses mechanics that might be suitable for this kind of game?

It may end up being impossible to do, but it could also have the potential to be really cool.

you can look lord of thering lcg, its not horror but it got a similar game mechanic as the one you describe, hope it helps.

Kind of reminds me of the card/board game Arkham Horror. While playing you feel like you are unraveling a mystery.

Indeed, the fairly recent Miskatonic School for Girls is a card game of the Arkham Horror universe. May be a good place to look for inspiration/comparison against already implemented ideas.

Elder Sign (also of the Arkham Horror universe) provides something that is a fair match to what you are after. Players investigate mysterious/horrific situations via cards and die rolls. I would imagine that die rolls would work well in such a game as you describe, they provide players with a level of known risk. For example, knowing that a particular course of action is dangerous due to familiarity with the chances of success/failure can make players act in a risk averse way, avoiding certain confrontations etc. And though there is known risk, the specific result of failure could be kept randomised so the players can't confidently think "Oh, if I fail this roll, I will only lose 2 stamina, that's fine"; if instead an injury deck or injury roll is used to inform what happens to players failing dangerous actions then the player will instead be thinking "If I fail this, my character could be ok, but they may possibly die". I guess the closest comparison to this would be the injury system from Blood Bowl.

I'm definitely planning to look into the games you guys have mentioned. The only potenially useful inspiration I was aware of before this was the Call of Cthulu LCG, which I believe is set in the same universe as Arkham Horror?

I think you are right about using dice. What I might do is mix dice rolling with a building threat mechanic like in Lord of the Rings. So maybe players explore and investigate as much as they can until they reach a threshhold number, and then suddenly have to switch into survival mode until the crisis is over.

In a different Silent Hill game I played, you were investigating inside a ruined old ship. At certain intervals, a loud fog horn would sound, triggering some kind of crazy nightmare where zombies would suddenly swarm from everywhere.


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