A mysterious event brings undead back to life and turns the life of a local gravekeeper into pure hell. Zombies, after rising from their resting places run around and quickly discover a local, slightly rundown theme park. After years of boredom they want to ride the rides, visit attractions and get their pale hands on many souvenirs. And yes, you will play as them.
The Game Laboratory
The story of “Bedeville Carnival” starts back 2018 on a certain board gaming event in Poland called Laboratorium Gier (lit. Game Laboratory). It’s a regular gathering of both beginner and successful board game designers and has been going for quite some time. The events are scattered all through the country and involve tons of seminars, workshops, gatherings and most importantly game design jams.
How does creating games at such jams work? People willing to participate are divided into teams, get their own consultant, a theme that they need to follow and a limited amount of time to complete a playable prototype. Usually between 1 to 3 days, nights included if the team wants to spend them designing.
In recent years many publishers flock to these events to find young talented designers and games that have lots of potential. Ever heard about Flick of Faith by Awaken Realms Lite? It was first designed at the very same event. Same with Paranormal Detectives by Lucky Duck Games. Bedeville Carnival or rather as it was called back then “The Gravekeeper ” was also one of these games.
The people responsible for the game are Alicja Bator, Paweł Zygar, Wojciech Wons and Bartłomiej Zielonka under the professional and caring direction of very experienced Michał Gołębiowski, one of the co-creators of “Destinies”. Having met on one of the editions of Laboratorium Gier they came up with the first prototype of the game. The concept was simple. They wanted to create a fast paced and competitive game where undead try to visit attractions of a theme park located near their graveyard. They keep getting constantly chased by the so-called Gravekeeper – an elderly man holding a sickle. Visiting attractions brings them closer to victory, but one meeting with the main villain puts them back into their graves. The game featured a set of tiny coffins used to hold tokens and add some atmosphere.
The Game Evolves
Some time after the event the game found its publisher in the form of LOODO NINJA – a game studio and publisher company. The game was already quite unique and interesting but still needed plenty of tests to check what’s the best direction it could take from now on. Our team at LOODO NINJA x KA led by the creative vision of Gwido Idziak from KA Board Game News has started conducting a big amount of tests with various audiences – luckily for the game a group of people were able to try their hands on the game to ensure the highest possible level of testing. Starting with friends, testing was expanded to local board game cafes and tester communities. In the end, the game was tested hundreds of times over the course of 1 and a half years. Luckily the majority of testing concluded before 2020, although tests were still run in smaller groups later on.
The game was slowly taking a new shape thanks to all the feedback gotten from players.
So what have we changed over all months of testing? First of all the idea of a Souvenir store evolved into multiple Souvenir booths, each tied to a different Attraction and dealt randomly at the beginning of the game. This way there’s much more randomization at the beginning and every game features a different order of Souvenirs appearing.
Another big change was turning cardboard coffins into gravestone-like player screens. The functionality of hiding components remained, but the new solution was better at keeping everything secret and seems much easier to manufacture. However, being quite fond of the coffins, the idea of using them in the Gamefound Collector’s Edition of the game was accepted as a nice homage to the past and to all backers.
Many changes were also made in the card department. Most lengthy effect descriptions were changed into few word long ones featuring easy to remember icons. Thanks to that players are able to focus on strategizing instead of reading what each of Attraction’s actions does.
One of the most important changes was to introduce character’s cards describing their unique abilities and skills. Having characters differ from each other not only visually but also by ensuring different playstyle was something that was welcomed very warmly as it ensured the higher replayability of the game and made the whole experience more unique. Even at that time the characters had it all – a fantastic, unique and picturesque graphic representation created by our artists and in-game playstyle personality due to their abilities.
There were many other changes, like removal of the graveyard card in favor of hiding players caught by the gravedigger behind personal player screens.
Meet Mr. Carl – Expanding the Theme
While the mechanics were still evolving we have begun to work on the theme of the game. The general idea remained similar but the whole setting got darker and a bit more grotesque. After tons of brainstorming and coming up with the craziest ideas everyone agreed on around 20 park Attractions inspired by various horror movies and other pop culture sources from songs to movies.
All attractions came to life thanks to our very own artist and illustrator Paulina Opak – as stated previously – the illustrator behind all art used in the game. Paulina feels confident with both realistic and not-so-realistic styles, and her style was a match made in heaven. It made the game really shine and come to life.
The final steps included developing an expansion to the game. We’ve introduced a small variant – Fleabag – a cat that changes how the game is played a lot and works great for players who have played Bedeville Carnival more than a few times. The variant was tested only after the entire core version was completed. A new series of tests have confirmed that players like this addition and the publisher decided to include this to the base version of the game.
It was a difficult decision and we were also considering Kickstarter. However ultimately we believe Gamefound to be the right choice when it comes to crowdfunding initiatives for board games. In the end Gamefound is a platform that offers board game developers the most and being that one extra project that can also promote Gamefound in the world was something we wished strongly for. We are sure that Gamefound will go far and that we’re here for the ride!
So what’s going to happen with the game after it gets funded? We at LOODO NINJA are dead set on expanding the game even more with new expansions, characters and all sorts of add ons. Only time will tell what comes…