Challenge: Make a board game about explosions.
I finally got to something resembling a playable prototype. It is a cooperative game at the moment. Here are the basics.
1) You have a board of squares (8x8 currently) and cards (64 currently) that go face down, 1 to a square. The upper left square is the holding cell and the bottom right is the drop off. Each player has a pawn representing themselves and some tokens to represent matches. There are also pawns to represent guards.
2) On your turn, you can take 2 actions. The actions are moving 1 space on the board, opening a crate (flipping over a card and taking the contents), and lighting a match. You start the game with 3 matches. When you light a match, it reveals the crate you are on, plus the adjacent crates.
3) If you open a crate or light a match, the following things can happen. If it is dynamite, it explodes and destroys all adjacent crates. If it is a guard, you are immediately taken to the holding cell (where you stay until someone comes and breaks you out) and the guard starts on his route around the board. If it is an item, you take the item and it goes into your personal inventory.
4) The goal is to get a full set of of treasures. Once your team has a full set, you must all make it back to the drop off point.
I know I left out a bunch of the details, but they will change by tomorrow anyway. Right now it is playable and entertaining, it just needs and bunch of tweaking.
When we started play testing, I had made it way too punishing. The guards moved too fast and there was too much dynamite in the crates. We could literally not get more than 5 rounds in, much less collect the treasures. We would all just get caught and attract too much attention with the explosions.
After several rounds of tweaks, we were able to win the game a few times. Right now, I'm just adding in some more variety to the items that you find and a system that continues to escalate the situation after you have collected the treasures. When you collect the treasures, it is basically a forgone conclusion that you will win. If no one is opening crates, then there are no more guards being added or explosions happening, so you can move pretty freely around the board. It is just a matter of getting to the drop off.
So that is what I will be doing for today. Just testing the crap out of it and adding in a few more elements. I'll have the final PDF tomorrow.