Mordgeist Design Ideas

Mordgeist is a semi-cooperative board game centering on a team of paranormal investigators for some terrible TV show. The crew finds themselves confronted by an actual supernatural presence and one of them gets possessed. The rest must survive the spirit’s evil machinations while trying to liberate their friend. Of course, they have no idea who is really possessed. They may save the whole group or damn innocent souls to an eternity of suffering.

The game focuses both on hidden roles and hidden movement. Every turn, players search for useful tools and prepare to fight the ever-present threats, and then secretly pick an adjacent location. After everyone has selected a place, the group closes their eyes and recites a nursery rhyme. The possessed player (and any players damned by wrongful banishments or death by the spirit) careful chooses a room to target with horrible monsters. If any players are caught, they do battle.

Fights are orchestrated by storytelling. Players get one-minute to describe how they prepare the room. Then, the enemy is revealed and the player gets another minute to describe how they fight, likely using one or more items they have found in the house. Everyone then evaluates the story, giving it a success rating from 1-6. The player rolls a die while narrating their final action: succeeding if the die roll is higher and failing if it is not. Failure to defend themselves gives the player injuries and, eventually, kills them.

The goal of the possessed player is to kill (or damn) everyone. The free players are trying to meet up and perform a ritual to banish the spirit. The ritual helps the possessed atone for a past sin the spirit is manipulating. When two players are in the same place, they use any items they have acquired for this ritual (the spirit has drawn precious things from across the world into this haunted place). As with combat, the ritual is described, given a rating, and rolled about. Banishing the possessed player cleanses them, causing the spirit to move to a new host. Banishing an innocent damns them, giving the dark forces a new ally.

Mordgeist’s goal is to highlight the tension and intrigue found in horror. We want players to put themselves in the story by coming up with tragic backstories and narrating their struggles against demons and rat swarms. They experience the fear of being hunted and the pressure to figure out the truth before it is too late.

Like Far Away, we are currently performing local playtests of Mordgeist. In the next couple months, we will setup print-and-play versions. Be sure to hop on our mailing list so you’re the first to know.