[In the Lab] Dung & Dragons - Loose Notes and Pitch

It started as a joke. I asked a simple question: "Tell me anything about the game 'Dung & Dragons'" What followed is a bubbling stream of brilliance from my friends online.

» A game about managing a dragon ranch, focusing on the stable hands' daily duties
» Naturally there are fundamental differences between the poop of the metallic vs. chromatic vs. mineral dragons, and each color of dragon crap differs from those of its brothers. At least some varieties need to be smeared on like face paint to work. Other types must be eaten.
» Purists long for the days of 1st edition where, as they put it, they had "less crap to move around"
» It totally needs rather large dragon cards (possibly the front of the egg-deck) so you can place them face up in your stable and then place foodstuffs (cubes or disks of course, wooden and in nice colors) at their heads, and then turn by turn move the foodstuffs down (I imagine, head, stomach, and ass, but there could be more) exchanging the type of thingy on the way depending on the dragon. Some dragons even have two stomachs, some have bigger stomachs so you can feed them more at a time, some might even have slower digestion (more steps in the process). Then the game can be about planning. Decisions about how you think the future market looks.
» Prunes are good! More prunes! And farting! We need a whole chapter on the nature of dragons farts! I want to play my first smell-o-rama rpg! Love is in the air!

Others had ideas for roles to play in the game:

» Ratcatcher, uhh, catches rats (and other vermin).
» Village Idiot: gains a level of immunity through gross stupidity.
» Constable cuts down banditry. Friar keeps people happy. Reeve makes everything run more efficiently.
» Farmer: grows special dragon-food
Builder: expands the ranch
Haggler: buying eggs and food
Vet:speed up dragon growth, heals damaged dragons
Guardian: against thieves and spies
Rider: taming and training the dragon
Virgin: boosts the dragon, but the boost may ruin it
Wizard: refines and intensifies the dragon-breath
Thief: steals eggs and/or equipment from one other character
Spy: makes you partake in the developments of two other players
Saboteur: inflict some damage to a dragon

Liz Radtke had a whole bunch of great ideas for alternative titles:

» Dragon Ranch, Dragon Tamer, Dragon Dung Derby, Dung Tycoon, Dung Quest, Flames and Fumes, Stable Scooper, Dragon Slave, DooDooragons, Dung Master, Stables and Bite Wounds, Darn that Dragon, Dung Wars, Steaming Stables, Flaming Fewmets, Dangerous Dung, Drak Dreck (yiddish for poop), Sh*t & Serpents

I absorbed all these ideas and settled on a pitch.

Dung & Dragons
(Working Title)

A co-operative economic game with a time limit. You and the other players are raising dragons to compete in the upcoming county fair. You're budgeting your money and time to raise the best dragons. There are multiple levels of success, like ribbons ranging from white to blue. There might also be more exotic fantasy-themed prizes like the Vorpal Trophy.

The dragons produce different types of dung, depending on the kind of food you give them. Food ranges from basic dragon pellets to raw ore and gemstones. There is an alchemical reaction in their bowels and out comes money! Well, chips.

With that money, you have choices to make. For example, buying dragon eggs. When you buy a dragon egg, you spend a chip to pull a card from the egg deck without looking at it. You can pull one card per chip you spend. You then look at the cards to see what kind of dragon will hatch from each egg. Choose one egg to keep. You shuffle the rest back into the egg deck. This emulates spending a bunch of money to have a pick of the litter or just tossing in a coin and taking your chances.

I want to study more economic and "tycoon" games to see how they handle markets. I'm also looking closely at Pandemic for pacing and simulation.

» Previously: Dung & Dragons Concept Art: From Sketch to Color
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.