Manhunt

I have been assigned a brief in which I will work with a team of 3 to create a playable board game that will be tested by our classmates on submisson day. We need to reinvent an old game while making it enjoyable to play. We will need to consider the mechanics of the original game and how we can convert them to work as a tabletop game.

The game we have chosen is: Manhunt.

Manhunt – Original Rules

Manhunt refers to a number of variations on the game of tag. The goal is to avoid being tagged by anyone designated as “it”. Those already “it” must tag anyone and everyone who has not been tagged. 

Some variations include:

  • teams and point scoring
  • playing in the dark
  • reaching an object or location without being tagged 
  • using flashlights or light sources of any kind

Rules – Version 1

Goal

The one player that is playing as the Manhunter must stop the other players from escaping by catching them. For the Prey it is a matter of staying alive, finding the key and getting out. The Prey need to use their torch each turn to move around the map checking for items such as the key and traps, whilst also keeping an eye out for the Manhunter, who will be trying to sneak up on them.

Set Up

Prey: Using the Prey board, the Prey must place their player tokens on a green tile of their choice, no more than one Prey can spawn in each room. One player must also shuffle the chance cards and place them in a pile face down.

Manhunter: Using the Manhunter board, (after the Prey has chosen their starting area) the Manhunter can place their token on a purple tile.

If the Manhunter is playing against 2 or 3 Prey then they may choose which of the spawn areas they wish to start in. If the Manhunter is playing against 1 Prey then they must spawn in the corresponding numbered area to the Prey. (room 1 = spawn 1, room 2 = spawn 2, room 3 = spawn 3).

Before play begins the Manhunter must place a key and several traps on the open floorboard tiles. 2 freeze traps are allowed in each room, 1 spawn trap is allowed in each room and 1 death trap can be placed in any one room. The Manhunter must ensure the Prey is not able to see their board.  

Turns and Movement

Movement is decided by dice rolls; the players may only move up, down, left or right. There is no diagonal movement. Players must move the number of tiles dictated by the dice and may change direction as many times as they wish during a turn (this includes moving back and forth on two adjacent tiles to land on a tile of choice). To move in and out of the corridor the players must move through a blue door tile. Prey player(s) always move before the Manhunter. To give the Prey a head start, the Manhunter must not move during the first round of turns. The Manhunter is the Mansion Master, meaning they must be paying attention to all player movements to make sure everyone is taking their turns correctly.

Torch

On each of the Prey’s turns, they must shine their torch either before or after movement. Prey can shine their torches for 3 tiles in any one adjacent direction (up, down, left or right). They must be looking for traps, the key or the Manhunter(s). Torches do not pass through the walls or doors meaning Prey must move in or out of a room to explore further. The Prey will ask the Manhunter to check each tile within their torchlight using the grid system, the Manhunter must tell the Prey what is in that area but does not need to specify which tile(s) any of the items are on. (For example, if a Prey were to shine their torch on B2, B3 and B4, and there was a trap on B2 and the key was on B4, the Hunter would just say, “there is a trap and a key in that area”.)

Traps and Keys

Death Trap: Instantly captures Prey and converts them to a Manhunter.
Spawn Trap: Instantly moves the Prey back to their original spawn.
Freeze Trap: Prey misses their next turn and must remain on that tile. To trigger a trap the Prey must stop directly on the tile the trap is on. To collect the key the Prey can land on or walk over it to pick it up. The Manhunter must alert the Prey when this has happened and either tell the Prey the effect of the trap they have landed on OR give the Prey player(s) the key counter from the Manhunter board. When the key is acquired all Prey can now escape through any exit.

Capture

To capture the Prey, the Manhunter must land on the Prey’s tile. This must also happen on the Manhunter’s turn.  If caught, the Prey must move to the same tile on the Manhunter’s board, then wait one turn before being able to move again, now they are also a Manhunter.   

Chance Cards

If the Prey land on a tile, they must pick up 1 chance card, these will give different benefits to the Prey to help them to survive. These cards are locked to the individual player who picked them up and are usable at any time during the game, provided they are used on that player’s turn. Once a card is used, it may be placed to the side in a discard pile.  (If a player gets captured in 1v2 or 1v3, all their cards are discarded).

Extra Rules of Play for 1v1

If the game is played with 1 Manhunter and 1 Prey, the rules differ:

  • all chance cards with the 1v1 symbol must be placed in the discard pile.
  • the death trap is now unavailable to use.
  • the Prey has three lives.
  • the Prey starts with one random chance card.
  • if the Prey is caught by the Manhunter, the Manhunter must return to their original spawn.

Board Drafts 1, 2 & 3

These are the most basic tile layouts for the game and formed the base for the actual board design later on.

Green Tiles: Prey Spawn
Red Tiles: Manhunter Spawn
Black Tiles: Obstacles
Grey Tiles: Rooms (may contain traps or keys)
White Tiles: Corridors
Yellow Tiles: Chance Cards
Blue Tiles: Doors Circles: Centre of Room

Changelog

Documentation on rule, board and mechanic changes throughout playtesting.

Version 1.0 

Problem:

  • door mechanic needs to be changed 
  • ability to teleport between doors allows for the Manhunter to very quickly catch up to Prey who have just teleported

Solution:

  • a grid has been added to the hallway and dice-rolls determine how far you get, no teleportation
  • two doors have also been repositioned to account for the new grid system

Problem:

  • exit not specified
  • this led to any of the doors being the exit, and for games to end quick

Solution:

  • along with the bigger grid added to the corridor, an exit has been placed at the top of the corridor

Problem:

  • spawns not specified
  • players started on random tiles

Solution:

  • spawns will now be placed along the outside walls of each room

Problem:

  • hunter underpowered in 1v1 playtest

Solution: 

  • given the hunter back his tier 2 traps (for now)

Problem:

  • torch shining mechanic not clear enough

Solution:

  • can use the torch before and after movement

Version 1.1 Notes:

First Test between developers ran well, balanced with only minor problems and extra clarification required to the rules, replaying with reversed roles.

Problem:

  • ‘Beam Me Up’ Card not clear
  • not specified that if the player beams onto a trap, they are caught in the trap

Solution:

  • add clarification to the Card  

Problem:

  • no chance card variety 

Solution:

  • more chance cards
  • also added a card that reveals the position of the key              

Problem:

  • bottom room has no centre

Solution:

  • centres will be specified on the next version of the board, along with the obstacles of the bottom board being shifted

Version 1.2

Problem:

  • Manhunter is too powerful

Solution:

  • sudden death rule?

Additions:

  • added chance card ‘Polo!’
  • minor changes to ‘Beam Me Up’
  • 1v1: when on last life, the Manhunter must reveal which room the Key is in
  • 1vX: when only one player left, the Manhunters must say which room the key is in (’Back From the Brink’ still works)
  • card which forces the Manhunter to say whether the Key is in the room that the player with the card is in
  • key can’t be in the room the hunted spawns in (1v1 Only)
  • total map rehaul, bigger areas, divided into rooms
  • shining the torch on the Manhunter/s repositions them could be a rule to implement in the future?
  • the hunted can now shine their torch 3 tiles in any direction, as opposed to 2

Version 1.3

Additions:

  • added changes to the rulebook to advise keeping something to write notes on, so the players can keep track of trap locations
  • hunted are now called prey, easier to understand

Potential Changes:

  • move doors
  • change colour of centre tiles
  • change in the rules when players can shine their torches, make it clearer the importance of the torches
  • prey get two moves at the start of the game to get away from the Hunter

Version 1.4

Additions:

  • changed the catching mechanic in 1vX so that when the Manhunter meets a prey the turn ends immediately

Potention Changes

  • think of adding a way for the prey to keep track of the tiles they have already worked over

Version 1.5

Additions:

  • added more chance cards, ones that allow Prey to add movement to their rolls, giving them more of a fighting chance
  • some cards will have an OR feature, where cards have two options on them and you can use on or the other
  • the top door on the bottom room has been shifted one to the left, to prevent players being able to launch immediately from the centre
  • player counters are reversible, one side has a Prey symbol, the other has a Manhunter symbol
  • ‘Beam Me Up’ ability has been corrected

Version 1.6

Additions:

  • changed the Manhunter spawn tiles from red to purple so they look less dangerous to Prey given that they are also the target for escape
  • changed the chance card tiles from yellow to just a bloodied question mark to match the actual chance cards
  • removed the D from the blue door tiles to make the board look less busy/more user friendly
  • reworded the chance cards to clarify which tiles players may move to when teleporting to allies
  • reworded the chance cards to clarify what happens when more than one Manhunter are playing when cards are drawn
  • added transparent dotted lines as visual guidance to help players read the coordinates easier when manoeuvring around corridors

Version 1.7

Additions to Rules:

  • Prey starting movement
  • Manhunters board visibility
  • terminology changes
  • torch abilities
  • trap definitions
  • new rule in which the Manhunter needs to roll the EXACT number to capture Prey
  • ability to discard a chance card to re-roll your dice for better movement

Final Board Design

The final board design is based around the abandoned mansion that the game is supposedly set in.

The Manhunter and Prey Board are separate. The Manhunter Board will have a shield that lifts open. The two side shields will slot into this to create a fully protected board. This will allow the Manhunter to view the Prey’s board but not the other way around.

Template Chance Cards

These initial designs gave us an idea of what the cards should say and appear. This was useful in creating the final design.

Final Chance Card and Counter Design

The final design of the chance cards was based on the idea of notes. These cards are supposed to look as though they were handwritten by the last victim of the Manhunter before they were captured.

The counters were kept very simple and cleanly designed.
Man in Target: Prey Side (reversible)
Eye: Manhunter Side (reversible)
Hearts: Life Counters
Snowflakes: Freeze Traps
Arrows: Start Traps
Skull: Death Trap

Final Ruleset

This is the final adaptation of the rules and uses the same theme as the chance cards. Images of the player tokens, traps and keys are spread throughout the pages in order to clarify rules and break up the text.