This is a post about the design and development of a currently unnamed Shipwreck Game. You can see the other Blog posts at the Index for the Game.
These refer to the overall look of the terrain on an Island Space. For example, Grasslands can be flat, or undulating, or have an uphill gradient towards the centre of the Island. Forests can be sparsely or densely populated. Rocky terrain, can be boulders that need to be traversed, or a barren patch of rock that rises to an unscale-able cliff face (unless you have the right Skills and Items). These are things that give the island terrain … well … character.
Originally I was going to make these randomly generated, like the choice of Terrain itself. I made up tables, and a draw from the deck would assign characteristics, depending on your terrain and location, much like adding the terrain itself. (Well not actually tables, because there was a couple of sentences there instead of just a word, so it was a list of small numbered paragraphs, but you get the idea.) The different types of characteristics were not just descriptions for their own sake, but were meant to do something to the Map, and traversing that particular space. Make it easier to give a player an extra movement, or make it harder, to slow them down and perhaps use up a Hydration. But after moving through a couple of different spaces, you have looked up a couple of entries that haven’t actually added anything much to the game. This seems especially pointless, when you also have to look up Key Features.
Key Features in a Space
These were a separate look up, that showed the standout feature of each space you entered. A washed up dead tree on the beach. A water fall cascading over a high rock wall. A series of termite mounds that dot the grassland. The reason these were originally separate was to increase the variability. But in practice, that really just meant variability of description, and it didn’t effect game play at all. So combining the Terrain Characteristics and Key Features into a single random draw seemed like the thing to do. As such, I’ll talk more about the Key Features table, in another entry.