Introducing the Dungeon Deck with a digital app for online playtests

Dreamstate is a tabletop role playing board game—you play it in-person, at a table.

Since it’s currently in development, we haven’t printed it yet, so most of the game is in digital form right now.

To playtest the game, we have come up with some creative solutions to simulate the experience, including using a whiteboard app, Discord for communication, and so on.

One of the big hang-ups has been simulating the Dungeon Deck of cards.

The Dungeon Deck is one of the Game Master’s tools to fight against players.

So far it has been very clunky to implement digitally…until now.

Over the past two weeks Caleb and I have worked together to build a visualized Dungeon Deck simulator.

Now when we run a playtest, we can screen-share the deck simulator so all participants can see the cards being drawn and played by the GM—which is something we are very excited about!

What is the Dungeon Deck though? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Dungeon Deck Overview

The Dungeon Deck is a unique set of 20 cards divided into 4 Houses (Suits) that grant special powers and abilities to the GM.

The four suits are:

  • Fates (spike traps)
  • Dreams (dart traps)
  • Light (summoning traps)
  • Death (poison gas traps)

Each suit is also associated with a kind of trap, as you can see above.

When a GM draws a card, it goes into their available hand.

Some cards can only be used on the GM’s turn, some are triggered by events in the game, while some are ongoing.

For cards that are used by the GM, they can exhaust (use) the card once per turn to perform the actions specified on the card.

As an alternative, the GM can forego the rules on the card and exhaust it in order to activate the card’s associated trap type (keep in mind traps are initially hidden from players).

Each session the GM begins with 0 cards. They may pass their turn, and take no actions, to draw one card from the deck. This card is placed face up in their play area and is public knowledge. The GM can have at most 3 cards. While the GM has 3 cards, they may draw another, but then will have to discard one in their hand or they card they just drew.

If the GM cycles through all the cards in the deck of 20, that’s it. They will have no more cards available to draw from for the remainder of the level.

If the GM discards too many cards to try and go after specific cards, they can severely hamper the aid the Dungeon Deck offers.

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