Lynnvander Studios, a game design studio founded in 2005 by Thomas Grofton, has recently announced that they will be producing a number of licensed board games with significant cache in the geek community in partnership with Jasco Games. One of the first games to be released will be a new Whedonverse inspired game entitled Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the Board Game.
When designing adventure games inspired by heroic fiction or tropes, designers tend to choose between one of two models. The first model, and that chosen by games like Heroquest and the majority of role playing games, is to have one player take responsibility for being the Game Master/Storyteller who controls the actions of all of the villains, adversaries, and non-central characters in the narrative. The second model is to create a cooperative game where all of the players take the role of characters central to the narrative. In a cooperative game, the players work together to overcome the game itself. While there has been a recent increase in the number of cooperative games available, these kinds of games existed earlier in the hobby with one of my favorites being Games Workshop's classic Warhammer Quest board game. Either form of game play can be rewarding, but one of the advantages of cooperative game designs is that they allow for more natural implementation of solitaire game play.
The Buffy game being designed by Lynnvander studios is a fully cooperative game for 1 to 6 players that should be able to be played
in about 40 to 60 minutes. The designers have decided to have the players take the roles of Buffy and her friends as they defend the town
of Sunnydale from an onslaught of vampires and demons, even as the players must also work to prevent a big bad’s plot and open the Hellmouth.
By the description of the game, it seems that the Lynnvander productions design will be closer in mechanics to Fantasy Flight Games' challenging Lord of the Rings card game than to classic Warhammer Quest. Both of those games are excellent, but each presents a different gaming experience. This is all speculation on my part based on the descriptions presented, but either way I am excited to see what a new Buffy game brings.
The game should be available from Jasco this October, just in time for Halloween.