Let’s talk about Havoc

Basic Setup

I’ve been working on a board game concept for years that has finally made it to playtesting.

Havoc is based on the interaction of four players moving pieces forward from opposing sides. There are multiple variations largely centering on escalating win conditions as well as an alternate simpler style of play that has fairly different movement rules.

With Havoc, I’m looking for a fast-moving, fun, lightly strategic game mechanic that I can expand upon digitally. The traditional set up involves a standard chess board as pictured but could be scaled down to six squares per side or up to a hundred and beyond. The key is that the number of pieces will always be the number of squares per side, n – 2, leaving only the corner squares open. In the traditional setup, the number of pieces must equal the number of sides on a pair of dice as well, which makes the 8 x 8 chess board such a natural fit with a pair of 6-sided dice!

Players can move each piece one square at a time forward or roll the pair of dice and move by coordinates. e.g. roll is 4 x 6, the player would move the piece in their 4th column 6 spaces forward OR the piece in their 6th column 4 spaces forward.havoc-board

Attacking and scoring involve contesting other players for occupied spaces and rolling a die apiece to determine winner of said space/piece. In more complex (but not overly complicated) versions, there are also MACs (macguffins) to capture and retrieve from players’ opponents as well as Power Chips to imbue pieces with extra attack, defense or movement capabilities.

The long term goal of Havoc is to lock down the rulesets for each variation and produce it digitally as an app/game for multiple platforms. I’m trying to create a game that can sit alongside checkers in its relative simplicity or that can wave at the strategy of chess from a distance. Additionally, I want to use it as a core mechanic to vary and iterate on for larger Puzzle Quest style adventures/RPGs.

The first playtest was incredibly informative as I had gotten too in the weeds with rules based on capturing MACs. Additionally, we found that the simplest version of the game currently termed Havoc: Wolves was really fun due to attack chaining unique to that variation. We were not able to test out any Power Chip iterations, but at the next playtest, I’m going to try and run multiple boards at the same time. Even so, taking the feedback and scope of play, I did go through and simplify some of the powers that I had been fretting over.