Disaster Outpost was originally a cooperative game where you and up to 5 other players try to hold off disasters until reinforcements arrive. There are 5 types of disaster that spread with increasing intensity as the game goes along: fire, plague, troops, spies, and sabotage. There are 12 possible characters, each with a unique ability in the game. The entire object is to eradicate the disasters as they pop up and try to build resources to contain further disasters. The disasters intensify, and the only way to win is to hold off until reinforcements arrive.
I binge created this game over the course of 2 days. I had all the components designed – game board, cards, everything – and I was playtesting it with myself. It was a blast. I took inspiration for the intensifying mechanic from a couple of Matt Leacock games (Pandemic and Forbidden Island). I wanted to create a feeling of desperation and panic, which would reinforce the theme of the game. Everything is a damn emergency that needs to be handled before it gets out of hand.
The first thing I designed was the game board. I wanted to use hexes, given that I had just recently created HexCam, so that was my starting point. I also wanted the game board to change from game to game, so I incorporated some elements that can be placed beforehand, like helicopter landing pads, drop boxes, etc. There are also a few hexes crossed off on the board so you can’t build anything there, but you can move your pieces there still.
In addition to this, I wanted exactly 100 hexes because I needed an easy way to randomly place disasters (using percentage dice). Everything worked great for me, but I knew I needed to work out some kinks after the first playtest with other people. They had trouble understanding how to play, so I needed to simplify either the rules or the way I was explaining them.
The biggest bummer: they didn’t like the co-op of it. This could be because the wrinkles in the mechanics needed ironing or it could be that the game itself might be more fun as a player-vs-player setup. I still have yet to try making new rules to incorporate that. At any rate, this is where the game stands currently. It is awaiting new components that will enable players to go head to head.
Until then, enjoy this photo of one of the cards.