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Orcs and guns: Idea for colony managment/strategy/survival

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I got an idea for a game inspired by:

  • Dead of winter (boardgame)
  • Fallout shelter
  • State of decay (the colony management part)
  • Retro and modern X-COM (the colony management part)
  • Day R Survival
  • Rebuild 3

You run a colony of survivors. But instead of zombies or postapoc radition-freaks portals have opened and fantasy creatures invades the land; Orcs, trolls, skeletons, dragons etc. Because fun setting! There is some main mechanics:

  • Manage the colony and build facilities like living quarters, infirmary, farm, crafting workshop, generators etc
  • Manage scavaging expeditions ("supply runs") to get resources and new survivors
  • Defend the colony against attacks

Resources would be something like:

  • Food and water
  • Fuel (for generators, driving vehicles and some traps)
  • Medicine (to heal wounded survivors)
  • Ammo (to shoot. melee weapons doesnt require ammo. For some traps) 
  • Materials (to build facilities and traps)
  • Tools (to repair stuff, weapons and equipment)
  • Electronics (for hi-tech stuff like solar panels)
  • Morale/hope. If too low the survivors will flee your colony into the wilderness.

It's realtime. Time can be compressed or paused. You assign survivors to jobs like contruction, farming, crafting or send them on supply runs. Supply expeditions will find locations like "gas station" that has high chance of fuel and "drug store" that often has medicine. You can choose where to go and what to risk.


The monsters will periodically attack your colony, and may attack you when you are out on supply runs. This is simplified and also in realtime (paus to give orders). The overhead time/colony will pause during fights.  Monsters get closer in lanes and your guys defend (front row with melee weapons, back with ranged weapons). Weapons have different efficiency in different ranges. If they ambushed you they start closer to you or start even right in your face. Skeletons are hard to shoot but weak against blunt weapons etc. Monsters have mostly melee weapons but can have bows, javelins etc. You can build barricades and traps in the lanes.

The colony starts with one "entrance" but gets more as it grows in size. You need to split your defences as enemies can enter in all entrances at the same time.


  1. How to make the base building fun and vivid? Do you simply expand? (you are in some sort of wilderness or small town). Do you need to "gain more land" somehow? I liked in modern XCOM how you dig out new area for your buildings but that doesnt work here.
  2. Is scavanging done on an actual map or just abstracted (like in fallout shelter)? If real map, how do I not make the player run out of places to visit?
  3. What is the goal or end? Just survive against increasing attacks? Find the evil wizard, raid his stronghold and close the portals once and for all?


Edited by suliman

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1 -

The "Gain more land" aspect of things could be handled by way of requiring 'secure land' in order to build up. Maybe allow the player to establish some things outside the 'secured zones', but make them questionably valuable due to the risk to the people/buildings/resources from raids. 

Depending how how you want the game to play out,  you could have some interesting options in how you allow a player to choose to develop and defend with styles like:

- All-Wall Citadel build up: Everything is build up within the strong central walls of the main settlement, and you force combat into pre-defined choke points due to how much you invest into the walls. Pros: You know where the fights will be, Cons: You spend TONS of cash on the walls, and limit your growth.

- Ring wall and Fall Back: Colony builds up in layers, with zones dividing into cells. Defence becomes all about limiting the speed at which the attackers can overrun an area. Pros: You can spread out more for less investment. Cons: An attack is likely to cause at least some damage, and possibly lose colonists. 

- Walled Outposts: Rather than centralizing things, you let the colony expand out to farther flung parts of the map to take better advantage of resource nodes or something more effectively. Pros: Best use of natural resources on map, rather than relying as heavily on scavenging missions for resources. Cons: Reinforcing against attacks becomes far harder due to greater distances.

- Tower-house Outposts: Like walled outposts, but further concentrate defence resources into a smaller area that colonists retreat too when attacked. Pros: Less resources for a stronger defence (Of those who make it to the tower) Cons: Building damage is far more likely.



2 -

Personally I would run an early concept prototype for the project, and see how gameplay feels if you use a mechanic like "Send a group out on a mission", with a very abstract view on any out of colony activities. Consider the player as being the colony manager, not an expedition leader. Start off with just giving the player a window for who is going out to where on the world map, what their priorities are, and other settings, and then give the user a nicely formatted report on how things went. See how this feels, and if the rest of the game becomes engaging enough or not. You have lots of wiggle room for flavour text and events in this kind of system.

However, if you feel it is lacking, then I would look towards procedural generation of towns/villages/points of interest: Rogue like kind of thing with a build up generation rule set you can adapt and expand over time. 


3 -

End goals could be any number of things, and it comes down to just how you want your game to feel when playing. Are you facing an endless horde of enemies, and attempting to hit a high score in the face of an otherwise unwinnable situation? Maybe "Survive X years" and get a high score screen. In addition to the "Find and kill the wizard", you have options like "Contact X number of survivor colonies, and achieve Y total population/power" to retake control over the area and make things safe again.



Good luck with the project.

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Cool ideas!

Im leaning towards a randomly generated grid of "city blocks" (on a square grid of tiles) such as apartments, scarse homes, park, police station, hospital on a rather well populated city map. You explore and unvail tiles and chooses which ones to investigate/loot from. This will reduce the scale of the gameworld and I will then probably skip driving around in vehicles entirely. Similar to how rebuild 3 works (but far less cluttered!) see pic below. So I could even use famous locations like manhattan for game worlds /scenarios. Some tiles could spawn portals that needs to be destoyed to stop spawning of enemies. Once a tile has been fully looted no more resources are found there (unless it's some special resource node).

Expeditions (groups of 1-5 survivors) would walk in realtime and spend time in locations, but needs to get back to base to unload loot and refill food and ammo. Also nighttime should be more dangerous (orcs gets more active!) so better stay indoors then!

The main colony would be a tile in the middle of the city, but other bases ("outposts") could be built in other tiles (to better access resource nodes or act as safe havens when exploring/looting as you suggest).


Edited by suliman

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What about if you could enter portals and get to the "other side". Where you need to take down the evil wizard at his own turf? Might split  the focus of the game a bit, but might also be fun!


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