Saturday, 18 April 2015

Dragon Rampant: design goals

My design goals for Dragon Rampant tell you how I approached reworking the Lion Rampant rules for the fantasy setting:

  • Keep it fun. The emphasis is on a playable fantasy-themed game rather than an over-detailed simulation of battle.
  • Create a modern day throwback to 1970s and 1980s fantasy wargaming (in a positive way!): allow players breathing space to create their own worlds rather than forcing them to be tied to a line of miniatures.
  • Use no unusual dice, cards, or supplements… make it accessible for gamers new to the hobby.
  • Keep the rules simple, streamlined and abstracted where appropriate: don’t make players continually thumb through the rulebook.
  • Quick play and minimal record keeping to allow multiple games in a session.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel: use the Lion Rampant core rules as much as possible to represent different types of monsters and attacks.
  • Let scenarios drive the game and make the victory conditions interesting and feel like a narrative story. Give players extra goals in each scenario to allow different ways to win.
  • Offer malleable army selection: no hard and fast army lists tied to manufacturer’s ranges.
  • Don’t allow magic or monsters to overpower gameplay: all troop types are equally valid in the right circumstances. Performance is abstracted: make sure units ‘feel’ right.
  • Embrace classic fantasy stereotypes: baby-eating ogres are fierce, elves are excellent archers, and goblins cackle as they ride their wolves over your corpse.
My overall goal was to design a fantasy miniatures game that is simple to learn, easy to adapt to your own preferred fantasy setting, and that gives me the same excitement that I had when I discovered fantasy gaming in the mid 1980s.