Michael Judd – Endgame: An RPG Dungeon Adventure Board game



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What is Endgame?

Endgame is a dungeon adventure role-playing game, or RPG board game, where you travel through a dungeon discovering enemies, traps, and treasures! All while becoming a more powerful party along the way. These dungeon adventures range from terrifying spider monsters to powerful weapons you can wield. You can also incur penalties through certain actions such as failing a trap or fleeing from a fight. This can cause you to lose strength, slow you down, or even make you talk funny for a turn.

At some point during your adventure, a player will draw an Endgame card. These cards give you the possibility to start into the Endgame phase; a late-game event that can flip the entirety of your adventuring on its head. If the Endgame event starts then the players will choose 1 of 22 different endings from a shuffled “Endgame” Deck. They then read the corresponding description from the Endgame Booklet and follow the new rules or scenarios. These endings range from a player betraying their friends to the party working together to defeat a dragon king. If you successfully defeat the monster or survive the trial you win! Always remember that adventuring is a dangerous endeavor, whatever lurks around the next corner could spell certain doom for you. Good luck, and safe adventuring!

The Process

At the beginning of the semester, I started by figuring out all of the different pieces that we would have to make. I knew that alone working on it would be far higher than the 50 hours needed for the project so I enlisted some help from friends and family to help with some of the writing and design.

On the writing side, I had my wife Danielle and some old work friends, Sarah Anderson, Lizzy Pingree, and Dylan Kentish to help write out the myriad of types of content the board game would need. Danielle, Dylan, and Lizzy helped with a few event card descriptions and Sarah helped edit the bulk of the content to help with spelling and grammar.

On the design side Rachael Judd, Jamie Judd, and Breana Kentish helped with some of the complex designs needed. Rachael and Jamie designed all of the environmental art that would go onto the room tiles. Breana designed the character art that would go onto the character cards as well.

And now we are back to me! For myself, I designed and wrote everything else. I wrote the main bulk of all cards such as the event, trap, monster, treasures, and penalty cards. There are also 22 different endings to the game as mentioned before and all of the rules and descriptions of these were written by myself as well as by my wife.

Below you can see snippets from the excel document that was our Bible for all of the content written and put into all the different designs. In total there are 210 different cards, 41 unique rooms tiles, 6 playable characters, and 22 unique endings to this game.

The Designs

In total there were 21 separate design templates for all the cards, pieces, and so on. Listed out the designs are: Bonus Treasure Cards, Character Cards, Dices Designs, Endgame Event, Box Template, Endgame Lexicon (Player) Booklet, Endgame Lexicon (Endgame Boss) booklet, Endgame Token Cards, Enemy Cards, Monster tokens, Penalty Cards, Room Tiles, Rule-book, Trap Cards, and Treasure Cards.

Each design tries and fits within the theme of dark fantasy that the game portrays with metal, rock, and old leather textures to make each card feel old and weathered. Below you can see some of the different designs put into the board game.

Playtesting to Final Print

Initially, we made a mockup version of the game with just basic stand-ins for each of the pieces. Essentially we had stacks of paper with words and some quick symbols on them. We invited over various people and playtested how the game would work. To our happy surprise, every main concept of the game worked remarkably well and with a few minor tweaks to the wording of some things, the game felt completely playable.

What we noticed after a few playthroughs that the trigger point for the Endgame sometimes seemed extremely long and the game took far too long to complete, so we added in a new set of rules that would trigger the endgame after a certain amount of turns adding a few different play modes to the game itself. It ended up being super worth it and gave some variety to every time of person that could play. But after playing the game many different times we were able to solidify almost all the rules. With the game being so complex as it was it would have taken a very long time to playtest every single combination and possibility to make sure it worked perfectly. But it was as close as we could get, and all the main mechanics were solid and repeatable every game.

And finally, it came time to make the digital a reality. After creating numerous designs myself and gathering all of the designs of all those who helped with the room tiles and the characters it was time to send it off to print at and get a real physical copy ready to actually play. I went through an online company called “Board Game Makers” a fitting title for what I needed. Initially, it seemed great and though the prints came out fantastic on the other side, the pricing did jump up significantly from what we thought it was. Because of a misunderstanding of how Bulk pricing worked the game ended up being almost triple what were expecting. But we got some donations and were able to purchase and ship the boardgame. Below you can see some pictures of all of the different pieces and how they turned out in a real-life setting.


The Final End

This was an awesome challenge to go through and an amazing and motivating experience that I took. Though at the beginning I was hoping from some more help or a bigger team we ended up completing everything surrounding this and made a product that I am really proud of. It gives the confidence and the drive to have a huge vision like this and see it through to the end. Our goal from here is to find a place to print all of the pieces for cheaper per board game and then get a Kickstarter campaign, market this product out, and fund all of the printing we will need and get this out into the world. Looking forward to getting this out into the world and adding more expansions, game-modes, and so on that, we are already thinking about. Perhaps more and more board games down the road as well! Thanks for reading and If you pick up the game, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it!