The Safe Zone Dossier

The Safe Zone: A Board Game Box Artwork Example

Dossier: The Safe Zone Dossier

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The Safe Zone Prototyping

Play testing became an integral part of the game design process. The first couple of play tests focused on testing whether the rules I had decided on fit in with the game and the mechanics. The later play tests revolved more around testing out the finalised rules and design with different size groups.

Play test one & two

This was the first time I had anyone else play the game and look at the design. This play test was with the minimum people allowed to play (two). I still didn’t have a board that went with the game so I borrowed elements from board games that I have. In this first play test it was determined that thirty health was too much and that rolling the set of four dice up to three times was too many. We had both completed the game with health levels in the mid-twenties and the game was over in fifteen minutes.

Set up for play tests 1 & 2

Play test three

This game was again played with two people. I used this to test out what had been discussed in the previous play test. This time, three dice were used and we were only able to re-roll once.

Play test four & five

These two play tests took place during class time and were the first I had done with the maximum number of players (six). Play test number four was played with three dice and play test number five was played with two. Two dice worked much better with a larger group of players and the game lasted longer and players were able to move further on the board. During play test four, players were only able to get to the second or third column on the board, whereas players were able to complete the board during play test five.

Set up for play tests 4 & 5

Feedback during these two play tests was to have two different dice systems for the different number groups.

Two to three players:

  • Two action dice: these two dice both have numbers 1-3, an infectious attack, a direct attack and health on them.

Four to six players:

  • One action die: contains two infectious attacks, two direct attacks and two health sides.
  • Number die: numbers 1-6.

These different methods allow the game to take place similarly, even though the number of actions is different.

Play test six & seven

These two play tests were more about narrowing down the different dice methods for the different groups of players. This time three people were playing. The first play test took place with the number/ action dice. The second was with two action dice. Both methods worked for the smaller group but feedback showed that the two action dice was more enjoyable.

Set up for play tests 6 & 7

Main changes:

  • Being allowed to roll the dice up to 3x down to only rolling them once.
  • Introducing a safe area onto the board (black zones). Landing on this means that players aren’t impacted by the actions on their dice.
  • Rain symbol on dice impacts everyone in your column.
  • Lower health from 30 to 15.

The Safe Zone | A Game Pitch

The Safe Zone is a board game controlled by dice and chance cards that is inspired by I Am Legend (book or movie, you decide). The game combines my favourite elements of King of TokyoThe Safe Zone takes a lot of the mechanics that were displayed in King of Tokyo and expands on others. I knew that I wanted to design a game that was controlled by actions displayed on a set of dice, but thought that utilising an actual board would bring an interesting aspect to the overall board game.

Initial planning for The Safe Zone

Initial planning for The Safe Zone

Designing the technicals for this board game was the hardest. Coming up with names, symbols and rules took a lot of brainstorming that my 2am self didn’t appreciate. I’m still not 100% with everything that’s been chosen for the game so far, but with the remaining weeks between now and the due date for the project dossier, I’m sure pieces of the puzzle will fall together.

After researching game styles, I believe that The Safe Zone falls into ‘Euro-style’. Taken from a post on The Games JournalThe Safe Zone draws on many points that the author deems to be ‘Euro-style’.

  1. The game takes under an hour to finish
  2. Simple rules
  3. Player interaction without overt conflict
  4. Abstract enough that the theme isn’t entirely necessary.

The Safe Zone: A Board Game box artwork example

Overview:

An infectious disease has overtaken your hometown! The disease is spread by contact and a strange modified form of rain and has been reported to have infected towns all around the country. You and your remaining uninfected friends must work together to get across town to the bunker that was set up by the community before chaos happened.

Example of game board

In The Safe Zone you take on the role of one of six uninfected townspeople, whose main purpose is to make it safely across town to a bunker to wait out the infection. You will have four dice that will determine your move on the gameplay board. A player can roll the set of dice up to three separate times in a go to get your desired pairings. There’s health (to benefit you), attack from The Infected, attack from the infected rain and numbers 1, 2 and 3 to determine how far you move on the board. Certain tiles on the board allow you to pick up a chance card which will further the game on. The chance cards are split into two different categories; USE NOW and SAVE FOR LATER. The SAVE FOR LATER option allows players to either use the cards immediately or save them for a later strategic move. Each player will each start with 30 health on your points tile. If a player reaches zero health, they become one of The Infected and are out of the game. First person to the bunker, wins. The game could end there, or you can play on to see who else will make it to the bunker and who will become infected.

Example of chance cards

Each player will begin the game with the same level of health. The player with the most recent birthday will go first and then the game will proceed in a clockwise order. The rest of the game will be determined by chance, with strategic aspects present with SAVE FOR LATER cards.

What comes in the box:

  • The gameplay board
  • A deck of chance cards (approx. 70 cards)
  • Four dice
  • Illustrated boards to track health
  • Character tiles

Mechanisms: 

The Safe Zone is a combination of my favourite board game mechanics. The game will contain:

  • Card drafting;
  • Dice rolling;
  • Player elimination;
  • Turns;
  • Action points;
  • Movement; and
  • Risk and reward.

Design:

I had originally planned for the game design to be really green and lush. After playing around with painting the chance cards and trying to design a board, the designs didn’t really work together and the game was no longer cohesive. Instead, I have used Canva to design the images featured above to keep the design of the game simple, easy to navigate and cohesive.

Marketing:

As of yet, I haven’t done any play testing with The Safe Zone so it’s tricky to determine what age its target audience would be. I think the game would appeal to audience ages 12+ as there aren’t a lot of rules to follow and the idea behind it is so simple.