Inspired by the classic short story of the same name, The Most Dangerous Game is a pulp-era tabletop game of cat and mouse based on deduction and skill. One player takes on the role of The Huntsman as they track up to four Captives that have been lured to a private Island to be hunted for sport.
The Hunter aims to track, hunt, and kill their prey lest they otherwise escape. The catch being that while The Hunter is visible, the Captives are not. Using coordination, ingenuity and the resources at their disposal, the Captives must do everything they can to survive The Most Dangerous Game.
The team is incredibly small, and tall. The idea originated from Tyler Penrod, who designed and fabricated most of the game. The other half of the team is Iryna Olyva, who helped refine design decisions and acted as a sounding board for many of the ideas. The third team member is James Taylor, the artist commissioned in creating the pulp era art style with the cover, the Hunter art, and eventually the rest of the art in the game. All development has been done over the past six months to get the game to this point.
Originally designed for the CUDO Plays Board Game Design competition in Champaign-Urbana, IL, I had the idea for a game involving hunting others ala The Hunger Games or Battle Royale. Doing some research, I discovered the original story of that theme, The Most Dangerous Game written in 1924 by Richard Connell, had entered the public domain. I decided using that theme and setting as inspiration would give a unique spin in an area filled with Fantasy and Zombies. I wanted the game art to reflect old pulp magazine covers and movies of that era.
The game’s design drew inspiration from games such as Scotland Yard, Fury of Dracula, and Letters from Whitechapel. Each of these games involves a group of people hunting down one invisible player. It seemed to me that everyone wanted to be the person hiding, to feel as if they were outsmarting the rest. So the basic concept of the game was to flip that script and have one player hunting down four other hidden individuals.
This allowed me to tip the power scales towards the singular hunter, with the aim of making each player running feel the intensity of near misses and the satisfaction of outwitting their pursuer. It also allows the player trying to find these players a higher percentage chance of being successful. I wanted to avoid the scenario where players spend all game looking for something they never manage to actually find.
For gamers who find the Hunter is a little too good at hunting, The Power Cards were introduced to modify or tip the scales towards either side. This allowed the basic rules to be kept simple, with modification available. This level of modification can be seen with the Scenarios, Captive Cards, and other rules, making the game easily expandable and tweak-able.