Dungeons of Carcassonne

A conversation on Google+ has made me think, more and more, about adapting Carcassonne as a tile-based dungeon crawl.

I don’t have the details in mind yet, but here are some ideas to start

  • ‘Roads’ are now ‘passages’, complete with branches and loops.
  • ‘Cities’ are now ‘rooms’ (or caverns, whatever).
  • Fields are basically impassable, unless something else comes up.
  • I have no idea at this point what the river is or does.  Might be entirely optional or dropped entirely.
  • The dungeon boss is represented by/located at the cathedral (city cloister).

Not sure what to do about play, though.

One thing that comes to mind is laying out the tiles following the normal rules, but do not place meeples on the features (roads and cities).  I don’t know what to do with the passages, if they’re worth anything or just something you want to make sure you have available so you can move from room to room.

When you complete a room you may explore it.  Danger is proportional to the size of the room (cheesy-twos are pretty easy, if you can get to them, but not worth much), XP gained from the room (used just for scoring, I think) is based on room size as well.  However, shield squares (and I think the trade goods tiles are a good inclusion… probably going to need a few different kinds of tokens) give you ‘magic’ that directly increase your power or survivability.

  • If you are victorious you gain the XP from the room and the loot (see below).
  • If you are not victorious you lose a meeple.  When you run out of meeples, you are out of the game.
    • If you are not victorious, clearly someone else can try the same room… but whoever finishes the room gets first shot, if they want it.
    • Once someone has been victorious, I’m not sure what should happen. If each room can be dealt with once you have a finite game… but I can imagine an ending where no one can defeat the boss because the tools needed get used up earlier.  I think I’ll assume each resource type is finite (fixed number of tokens).  If there are none available when you defeat a room you can’t have any of those tokens (you get any other tokens available and the points for the room, of course).
    • Perhaps a failure means the room is clearly more dangerous than expected — leave the ‘dead meeples’ in the room and danger is increased by the number of meeples.  This might be reduced each time someone successfully explores a room.
  • Loot is probably consumed when used.
    • Shields might provide ablative protection — if you would lose a meeple, you can lose a shield instead.
    • Trade goods… one might let you draw and place two tiles on your turn, another might give you a temporary level bump, perhaps one is a wildcard, or gets used in place of another one.  Maybe one can be used to allow travel through a field (cavern wall), which can help solve a disjoint map.

Apart from joining up the rooms, I don’t know what the passages are good for.  Part of me is trying to find a way to handle ‘movement’ — all meeples enter at the same place (or at any edge… maybe you can enter via incomplete cities?) and it costs to move.  Maybe each turn consists of drawing a tile, placing the tile, then moving your meeple to the next intersection or room.  This leaves room for the intersections to mean something (I like the idea that an item lets you move farther more than I like it letting you draw and place another tile).  You have to be present at a room before you can explore it, so you are likely to want to (but are not required to) finish one you are close to.

Hmm.  Maybe you can have more than one meeple in play.  You can only move one per turn (unless you have an item that lets you do otherwise), so your mobility is still limited.

The end game is probably pretty straightforward.  When you run out of tiles, the game ends.  It is likely possible to win the game without defeating the boss (focus on manageable rooms — the boss tile is city on four sides, so is likely to need nine tiles to complete, and I’ve seen it get really big), and it’s possible the boss room doesn’t even get completed. Scoring is based on how many (and how dangerous) the rooms are you completed, and there are probably bonuses for remaining meeples and unused loot.

This is pretty loose right now, but I think this could be workable.

Any other ideas about how this could fit together?  I’m basically scribbling things down as I think of them, so while I’m always open for suggestions, in this case I’m unusually so.

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