Board Game Development Diary: Terror Cell

31 October 2017

The decision

The game we chose to take forwards was... Terror Cell! Coming to this decision was a result of evaluating the all the other ideas and considering which is the most feasible to make.

Despite the fact we were very much in love with this idea, we found with the hospital game that we were copying hospital simulation games meaning our idea didn't feel too 'unique'. We did however like the idea of managing departments which we hope to use in Terror Cell. The hipster game was an entertaining idea, but we felt it may be too much of an inside joke and may offend certain people without doing lots of research into psychology and sociology. Cards Against Humanity is a good balance of offence and laughter without taking it too far and we felt it would be too challenging to match anything like this.

Terror Cell overview

A terror cell has been operating in your city and there is evidence they are planning something bad which could be anything from a bomb in the town centre to a biological weapon released in a hospital. Your unit must work with the other units in the police to gather clues and evidence to take down the terrorist(s) before they can do anything.

Initial ideas for mechanics

Objective: stop a terror attack

Game board: customisable layout of tiles of hexagons with central points of interest split into hubs such as suburbs, city centre, rural, market, harbourside, docks. Also have player hubs such as training areas, admin offices, hideout.

4 player, cooperative, upgrade each squad to make the game 'easier'.

Turn by turn: event cards or places of interest pop up. Roll dice to move around the board

Possible player squads:

  • Detectives: no uniform, undercover, bonus investigation and observation skills, unarmed therefore less attack damage
  • Armed police: aggressive, immune to riots and can diffuse them, better damage, slow moving, presence increases public tension
  • Analysts: predict enemies. Could be merged with support role
  • Beat cops: higher chance of finding and detaining suspects, more likely to be detected/ambushed
  • Forensics: event card or playable? Building a case on the suspect
  • Canine unit/dog handler: higher detection skill, higher chance of stopping suspects from fleeing, low health
  • Admin/support role: no active gameplay role, assists other players, more accessible
  • Mounted police: better at controlling riots, low amount of armour
  • River police: can search rivers for contraband, can only travel in water, slow moving

Emotions we want players to feel: panic, time pressure, despair

Suspects: each have their own player card, gather information and figure out which one(s) are going to carry out the terror attack, have a narrative hinting to their whereabouts

Balancing levels: have panic and terror levels which always need to be watched, consequences if they get too high

Research into the topic

Our game will revolve around awareness into anti-terrorism strategies as well as the efforts the forces make on a daily basis to keep cities under control and safe from harm.

New heavily armed face of counter terror policing is revealed: "600 additional armed officers are ready to start work in the capital, equiped with semi-automatic weapons and sidearms. They're capable of racing to the scene of any potential incident on board specially adapted motorcycles that can reach speeds of 120mph. The SAS style officers are also trained to cary out water borne assaults." The Met chief has warned that an attack in Britain is a matter of "when, not if" so it's incredibily important that we're prepared for it. Steve White, the chairman of the Police Federation stated that if there is an attack, it's unlikely to be an isolated incident.