Board Game Design Club Update

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Daniel Franchetti, Editor

This is the first in a new series for the newspaper. In this series, I will be going to each of the clubs of the school and talk to the students about what is happening, their progress, and goals. The first club I interviewed was the board game design club. The board game design club drafts, creates, play tests, and tries to have their games published. The club is moderated by Mr. Gray and Mr. Morey.

I interviewed Neil Dungca, Joseph Santa Cruz, and Devin Chapman with their game, Castaway Catastrophe. The production of the game began three years ago under Neil and has been worked on since then. Originally, the team consisted of only Neil and Nigel Stafford, who left, but has come to include the members in the image above as well as their new artist Jackson Alvero. The team is nearly done with the game production and are moving to graphic improvements, and clarifying their rules to being play testing. 

Castaway Catastrophe is a resource management game. You are a castaway on an island and must escape by gathering resources such as vines, wood, stone, and metal. You can craft tools to make harvesting easier. The goal is to amass those resources to build a boat, balloon, or shelter to win the game. However, the only way to collect resources is to have a natural disaster bring them. The board is a 10×10 grid and gameplay works with a coordinate system. Each turn, you roll four dice. One determines the red coordinate, another determines the blue coordinate, another determines the type of disaster, and the final dice determines how many spaces your piece can move. Each disaster spawns specific resources. If you move to a space with resources, you reroll a dice to see how many you can collect. This continues in turns until one player clears a win condition.

I was able to play test with the designs while we talked. The game is hard to understand at first, but is easy to remember after a few turns. The game is almost too short even with four players which is not inherently bad, but it seems like one could speed to the goal. I almost think a second tier of resources should be made that require using tools. The tools also seem under utilised for their cost. That system seems unbalanced by itself. The rules and the size of the board is fine. The graphics are still in-progress, so I will not be reviewing that aspect. Overall, the game performs well. There are a few unbalanced areas, but they are not extremely exploitable. The game is a bit simple which can be good or bad. Otherwise, it is a very solid game with a lot of thought put into its development. I would like to see the game’s completion with a similar gameplay to what it is now.