Evacuate – Designer Diary
Evacuate came about because I thought, “What game wants the player to be in the middle of a pack? Not the first, but not the last.” In most games, you are racing to be the first, the one in the lead. So I had to think of a way to convince the player that they didn’t necessarily want to be in the lead. What if there was danger all around and you didn’t know what was around the next corner? Would you want to lead the pack? And if the danger is all around then you don’t want to be at the back of the pack either. You want to be protected like the president with people all around you.
Next, I wanted a game that everyone started equal and had the same opportunities to play cards. There is luck of the draw in most games or roll of the dice. Evacuate (basic game) gives the players the same set of cards in their hand. This allows the players be on equal footing, and pushes them to out think their opponents instead of hoping for a good draw. In Evacuate, players need to estimate what everyone else is going to do on a turn and play accordingly.
Deck building has been something that I really enjoy, but has been done many times in other games. I thought “What about everyone contributing to the deck that is built? That would be different.” So in Evacuate, if a player loses a miniature, then they get to decide what card is added to the Nomia Deck. The deck is built by the community of players during the game, of course it might start to segue in a certain direction trying to even the playing field.
Finally, randomness is a necessary evil in a game. I would prefer that their was not randomness or very little. I really think the key to randomness is that it is the same for all players. Meaning that all players have to deal with the same randomness, be it a die roll or a draw of a card. In Evacuate, their are two random events that happen. First, the community built Nomia Deck has a card drawn each turn. The card is random, but all players have knowledge of what cards are in the deck – giving them the ability to predict what card will be drawn next. The other randomness in the game is the corridor that the players are running on. The player that reaches the end of the current corridor gets to choose if the pack turns left or right – thus they draw two cards and choose one for the next corridor.
I hope that you find Evacuate as fun to play as I enjoyed designing it.