God of War: The Board Game Design Diary 2 – From Screen to Tabletop – by Patrick Fernandes

Hello everyone! This is Patrick Fernandes, one of the Game Designers of God of War: The Board Game, and today, I am going to talk a bit about transposing video game mechanics and vibes to a board game.

Our main goal with this board game was to give players the same “feel” of the video game while not trying to import all the moving pieces and mechanics of the digital game. You see, we still want players to feel as powerful as Kratos and as agile as Atreus, but in a whole new way. The goal is not to emulate all aspects of the video game, but to transpose the same feeling into board game mechanics and use the best aspects that a physical tabletop game has to offer as well.

With that in mind, it was clear to us that the board game needed to be a dungeon crawler. The whole God of War franchise revolves around combat and defeating monsters, both in epic and strategic ways (the latter mostly seen in the newer entries).

In these fights, we aimed for players to feel powerful, but also like they have to play it smart to outwit the monsters’ activations. This was one of the reasons why we opted to give players a big turn before the monsters could threaten them, so they could feel like they are having an awesome turn with lots of attacks and actions, but also having to keep in mind that after they are finished, they will be exposed to the monsters’ activations.

There are also two other aspects of the digital game that we aimed to emulate, which are the rewards when defeating a monster and the Rage abilities.

For the first one, in the video game, every time you defeat a monster, a lot of rewards pop out of it. Health crystals to restore Kratos’ Health bar, Rage crystals to allow him to use his Rage special abilities, and many more. Also, you never know what you are going to receive or in what quantity. So, our tabletop take on representing this was to create a Reward Die that a player would roll after they defeated a monster, possibly obtaining a different reward every time they roll it.

Secondly, but also linked to the previous representation, is that in the video game there is a Rage bar that goes up after Kratos deals or receives damage and when he obtains the aforementioned Rage crystals. When this Rage bar hits its maximum value, Kratos can enter into a super powerful god mode, dealing tons of damage to enemies and destroying everything in his way. This is one of the most powerful and amazing moments you have in the video game, and we knew we had to represent it in some way.

So, our take on it was to have a bar on each player’s dashboard that goes up every time they obtain a Ultimate symbol when rolling the Reward die. When this track reaches its last threshold, players are able to unleash a devastating attack that can certainly turn the tide of battles in their favor!

Kratos and Atreus’ ultimate abilities are quite different from each other but both are very, very powerful!

Thanks for stopping by. This is just a quick taste of what’s coming in God of War: The Board Game.

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