We wanted to give the player a sense of “discovering” the valley as they progressed through it, which is where the cards come in. By playing a building card thematically the idea is that you just discovered that building, that it had always been there. The building and vehicle systems really help tie into the collaboration themes; with the meeples able to hunker down and survive together, or journey out to perform expeditions together. This scavenging idea fed into our idea of dotting ruins around the map, pre-existing areas with powerful temporary cards if the player is able to survive the journey.
Being able to distract the Graboids - either through specific tailor made cards, or by using your own wit and meeple placement - was a core focus for us in terms of gameplay. We wanted to have a fairly deep feeling of strategising against the Graboids (or at least as deep as we could get, in 17 days!) This is why the Graboid AI depends on their tremor sense system, which we’ve included a toggle to visualise in the game menu. This way we hoped to recreate key moments from the movie; the soda machine breaking down and drawing attention, pole vaulting between boulders to avoid the soft earth, setting off an unmanned tractor to pull attention away from your meeple, and also groups making lots of noise/vibrations to distract from the lone meeple doing some key action. We think we’ve been quite successful! Obviously it would be great to keep tweaking and adding more cards and behaviours, but what we have serves as a great proof of concept :)
Between runs, unlockable cards and being able to upgrade your deck aims to give the game a decent amount of replayability - overall there are around 20 cards to unlock!
To further our goals of replayability, we planned to support multiple win conditions to make runs even more unique, such as;
• Repair an old radio and wait for rescue
• Have one meeple escape to Bixby via truck/horseback/foot and bring help back for the others
However unfortunately two weeks isn’t a lot of time so we just stuck with all escaping the valley vs all Graboids being killed.
Our original idea was to let you assume direct control of the Graboids after each run, to let the player blow off steam (and blow things up!). Sadly we ran out of time for this! Maybe in the future :)