[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

8 comments:

  1. Is there any limit to the number of dragons you can buy per turn? Is there any downside to having a large stable of dragons? If not, then you'll want to charge more for the initial egg draw, or players will be encouraged to just keep buying dragons one at a time until they get the one they want.

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  2. I think the limit would be resource-based. Each dragon has its own quirky diets and habits that make it a challenge to raise to maturity. Or perhaps a strategy would be something like dragon-flipping? Raise a dragon until its resale value is high enough that you could trade it in for a more mature specimen?

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  3. Honestly, this gives me so many ideas that its a bit of an overload... so take all of this with a grain of salt.

    One of the aspects I loved about the Chocobo was the creation of something new and cute sure, but also the training and racing that you would do to bring it to peak performance. If there is a fair that judges the dragons, what are the criteria for the judging? Obviously, size or wing span might be there, but what about the wonderful colors that a dragon can be or some special talents or "stupid dragon tricks"... kind of inspired by "How to Train your Dragon" here and there are those wonderful dog shows, I can imagine getting a Ribbon for best Working Class Dragon.

    As for the breeding of chocobos was more than just picking the two with the best stats and hoping to get something, it was questing to find the right nuts to bring those new traits to the next generation. So there could be some random treasure element or some breeds of Dragon may be like pigs/dogs hunting for truffles. You loose them for a turn but they come back with a treasure card.

    Depending on how much Catan you want to deal with, tiles could allow each person build their own farm in a confined space. Then a dragon's nesting (Roost?) area might be an interesting spacial limit to the size of the dragon you could present. Also, tiles could allow for a "Hoard" where you put your Coins (and the dragons love the shinny stuff to roll around in) and it becomes a place those nasty Kobolds (I just see thieving rat-guys for some reason) would try to take an opponents resources. Mushroom men could be used to tend fields of fungus for certain breeds or maybe it would be by Farmer (in which case its a little Last Night on Earth as they might have special abilities and/or Agendas that allow them to win).

    Just some random ideas... oh and don't forget Dragons love Sweet White Crystals (like rock candy?)

    Dave

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  4. Thanks so much, Dave. This actually helps flesh out some of the activities for the game quite a bit. I'll figure out how to best emulate this kind of stuff. I'm still trying to find the game's precise "center" before I stretch out the branches. I guess that's the next step of the development process, eh? :)

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  5. I would imagine so. Whenever you are ready for people to play, I will be the first to volunteer. I keep going tot he list of suggested names and see Dragon Dung Derby... that sounds like a great expansion name for when/if the time comes :)

    Do you know the tone you will go with it? I mean, I can see a more Candyland or My Little Ponies feel, but becuase we are dealing with Dung there could be a Garabage Pail Kids with a Pokeman approach.

    An interesting note on "Pellets" my daughter is in 5th grade and recent her science teacher had them take apart owl pellets and determine the diet of the owl... sounds like a good job for a farm hand to reclaim those alchemical riches.

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  6. Awesome! How old are kids in fifth grade? Maybe that's the right base age for the game.

    As far as tone, I imagine it as a pretty straight-faced presentation with most of the humor coming from wordplay, puns and so forth. For example, if I were to do a dragon-breeding expansion for Dung & Dragons, the subtitle would be "Love is in the Air." :P

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  7. Lets see, 5th graders are usually 10-11. So they are right in the thick of getting puns and delighting in the idea of the "gross."

    My daughter may not be representative of the norm, but she loves to look at the art of my old Rifts collection but hates the World of Darkness books... and yet likes Munchkin Cthulhu. Might be worth some crowd-sourcing to see where other kids are at for that sort of thing.

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  8. I would imagine so. Whenever you are ready for people to play, I will be the first to volunteer. I keep going tot he list of suggested names and see Dragon Dung Derby... that sounds like a great expansion name for when/if the time comes :)

    Do you know the tone you will go with it? I mean, I can see a more Candyland or My Little Ponies feel, but becuase we are dealing with Dung there could be a Garabage Pail Kids with a Pokeman approach.

    An interesting note on "Pellets" my daughter is in 5th grade and recent her science teacher had them take apart owl pellets and determine the diet of the owl... sounds like a good job for a farm hand to reclaim those alchemical riches.

    ReplyDelete

Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.