Un-Subdermatoglyphics is an Adventure-Card game with dice mechanics and continuous conflict spanned across multiple boards acting as regions put together to form a bigger board like the games’ main interface. It’s derived from the popular American-style board game, Ameritrash where individuality is one of the key aspects of the game for each player as gameplay will revolve around the takedowns of other players. The title of the game, Un-Subdermatoglyphics comes from the word ‘dermatoglyphic’ which is the scientific study of fingerprints, lines, mounts and shapes of hands, but that definition along with subdermatoglyphic’s definition doesn’t mean anything to the game as I wanted to make the title of the game make as little as sense as possible. This is shown in the ‘Un’ of the game along with ‘subdermatoglyphic’ being the longest English word without using the same letter twice and yet I added another ‘s’, the title stands out more that way in my opinion.
This type of game arrives as a conflicting card game between players as well as a roll-and-move game since each region/time era has its own die that players roll along with a Movement Dice that just displays a 1-6. This game also contains family game elements as the setting of intrusion, separation and fighting makes a pretty good collaboration piece which all fits in the multiple time era settings. 2-4 players are the amount and if there’s ever an expansion pack more can play together considering there’s a rift to battle cards with on.
Knowing that this can be considered a family game ages can range from 8 and onwards because of a large collection of miniature pieces that is included in Un-Subdermatoglyphics and when looking at the mechanics and rules, it’s not as simple as a generic roll-and-move game where the game basically plays itself. You have to know & understand passive and active actions occurring no matter where you are a more realistic attempt for an age rating would be 12-13+ and most importantly people who enjoy having choices at any given point and feel in control of their arsenal of cards, as well as people who enjoy multiple things happening but not too much to overcomplicate everything.
Setting & Theme
Un-Subdermatoglyphics is set in multiple different time eras of the same location, spread out into four time era’s/location the world of the game has been split due to a massive time rift creating openings and barriers for inhabitants of each time era to crossover and see what has happened or what will happen to the place they call ‘home’.
Seeing this at least one inhabitant from each region, a faceless explorer will have to travel to the rift combining each time era to become strangers in another’s ‘home’ and with the help of their Grand Tower for summoning ‘minions’ on its side, your side of the rift you’ll be assisted wherever you go, however, there’s good and bad to being a stranger or an inhabitant no matter where you go. There are multiple time era’s that each act as a region with unique characteristics that will be the main point of control for the player.
These constantly mentioned regions/time eras are:
- Cerezity, a modern city engulfed in red lighting to syndicate its abnormality of what classifies as a “modern” or “normal” city as well as ill intentions for anyone that doesn’t want to comply with it.
- Ever-Blooming Forest, a mystical natural environment surrounding an enormous elder tree whose sole purpose is to sustain and improve the forest with the assistance of its magical properties.
- W.A.T.E.R, (Wayback Aquatic Technological Ergonomic Rooms) a massive futuristic aquatic centre that dwells on the waters of what’s left of land as the energy used from artifacts of its past coincides with the resource that is closest and plentiful to whoever is there.
- Hyaline Desert, a barren land of sand that shines with purpose and potential, with symbols and signs of a thriving race of organisms that exists only through memories left behind in the form of crystals.
Finally, the time rift, a mysterious and captivating force that separates and combines the previous mentioned locations of time together, the openings and closures only lead to dangerous curiosity and discovery for anyone daring enough to send its inhabitants there.
Each time era of this unknown territory combines the elements of fantastical and sci-fi into its gameplay and setting, science-fiction is more leaned on in this scenario as the whole premise of the game’s functionality revolves around the time rift which means ‘time travel’ even though the ‘travelling’ part is more focused in the game.
Overall, the overarching theme of this game is science/fantasy with some extended mechanics to fit “complicated” in the game of Un-Subdermatoglyphics better.
How to Start & Play
First thing, a player is always one of two things, an inhabitant (the player is in their assigned region) and a stranger (when the player is in a different region), each region will have an effect on both types of people to take advantage of and avoid.
Each player starts with a Region board with a dedicated Grand Tower and 3 cards and one rift fragment (or if you start in Hyaline Desert take a gem instead) which players gain at the start of every round.
Cards are collected throughout the game; you collect cards from the region-specific decks. The cards represent a minion or a spell to play in the rift.
The aim for each player is to keep their assigned Grand Tower that consists of 25 hit-points safe.
Each player will roll a pair of six-sided dice per round: The Movement Dice and the Region Dice.
Once, each die is rolled the player chooses to move up their player token to the number of spaces on the die OR activate the action of the region dice.
Afterwards, a player can pay the cost to play a card, minion, or spell.
You win if you are the last person standing or the most hit-points if your party decides to end the game. If you’re out return all cards to their original deck.
Once the dice is rolled and the player moves or activates the region dice; you will either play a minion or activate the Region Activity
Region Activities are part of a two-way mechanic for each region as everywhere you go will contain a Passive Ability and an Active Ability.
A passive ability happens automatically, and an active ability is something a player can choose to do instead of playing a minion for the cost of 4 rift fragments, this cost goes down by one for each minion you have on the rift that belongs to that region.
Combat is the main mechanic of how a Grand Tower can be taken down to progress the game. Firstly, play a minion after the dice roll as mentioned previously then on your next turn you can attack someone’s Grand Tower if they have no minions to block you.
When a minion hits another minion they both deal damage to each other’s health and if one dies any excess damage that might have been done goes to the Grand Tower. When any minion dies, or a spell is played discard it to the deck where it came from. The health/hit-points for minions or Grand Towers will be quantified by the players (dice or keeping physical score, etc). Keywords are certain attributes that some minions and spells have which will is better explained here:
Even though the amount of information needed to know to play may be daunting, there is a simpler way to explain this game’s loop.
After everything is assigned to each player the game will go in this direction.
- Collect resources
- Roll dice
- Move or use ability
- Enter combat or use ability
- Next player’s turn
The player experience of this game like any other board game forms in three acts:
Act 1. The setup is where everyone tries to understand the multiple elements and mechanics that is implemented into Un-Subdermatoglyphics, once that is done, a few turns will happen for each player and resources will slowly be allocated. Players will slowly put minions on the board and start to trade minions with each other at a conservative rate. Grand Towers will range from 25-20 as the game is just starting.
Act 2. Confrontations start to arise here as players start to put more minions on the board as well as collecting more cards to use against each other. As more people start to get comfortable with the rules of the game, explore other regions and abilities the rift will start to have multiple minions from every region or so and Grand Towers will range from 22-15 around this point.
Act 3. Resolutions and Conclusions to one game of Un-Subdermatoglyphics will arrive in the form of people targeting whoever has the healthiest Grand Tower or work on keeping themselves alive by going to the right regions to sustain themselves. The gameplay loop has been memorised by each player at this point and the Grand Towers should have 16 hit-points or lower.
Inspiration & Comparable products
A lot of games inspired Un-Subdermatoglyphics as aspects of the game such as the types of cards, the region boards being separate to put it together as one, the dice, etc. The functionalities of the game have been designed to work together and even though there are some comparable products that designed the game, the original ideas coinciding with some inspired ideas will hopefully make Un-Subdermatoglyphics stand out a little. Products such as:
Legends of Runeterra (2020) by Riot Games
Super Mario Party (2018) by Nintendo
King of Tokyo (2011) by IELLO
Diamonsters (2013) by IDW Games
Brief Card Walkthrough
The cards and their functions are one of the core processes of the game as it’ll determine how a player starts their turns and how they will end the game in total. There are two types of cards, minions, and spells:
Here are two examples of cards that will be in the game:
And here is the rest in detail: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1202rRFmSdD7Nv9Y_s5mlnrMEgeqJHjC1R267qxx8esk/edit?usp=sharing
This prototype consists of 40 cards, 4 player tokens, 5 dice and 5 boards, rift fragments and gems can be any object that is plentiful. Grand Towers will consist of a decoration on each board for now. Each region will have a card on the side to itself displaying the passive and active region ability.
Ever-Blooming Forest Cards
Hyaline Desert Cards
ALL Dice (Colours match their respective region + Neutral Dice)
Passive and Active Region Abilities (Each will be its own card)
Player Tokens (Actual tokens will be more developed in the future, I promise)
Cerezity, Ever-Blooming Forest, W.A.T.E.R, Hyaline Desert
I have played through this game a numerous amount of times with friends and my university lecturers and even though several times Act 3 was the most intense, some useful feedback was:
Separate Boards instead of one, teleport at the edges.
Player Tokens should be more unique as they’re not in masses like the rift fragments and gems.
Take away some mechanics
Minions should both take damage in combat
Put directional arrows on the board(s) as it will make it clear what direction each player should be going.
Nerf some abilities of regions and cards as they seem too strong and overpowering
Less spaces should make the game a somewhat perfect pace.
The whole purpose of this was to make sure that new players don’t ask too many questions about their goals.
The main market for this game is to CCG (collectible card game) players looking for board game experience and when considering that age rating, it is the perfect market where most people would have at least some money to purchase and DLC/extra content that comes from this game and by that I mean, another pack or two where new boards, dice and cards will be introduced that can be mixed and swapped with some of the original region boards, new regions means new capabilities and potential that more then four players can play Un-Subdermatoglyphics at the same time. If this project goes a Kickstarter for this game which is plausible as there can be more ideas to explore for what could be a memorable board game.
Un-Subdermatoglyphics is a card, collectible, adventure, board game that is inspired from a multitude of different games to make something that is mainly an Ameritrash game full of conflict it has potential to take more elements of Eurogames as well because this game is very well thought out and developed, it is still in an early stage of actual development for it to be profited over. With enough time and resources, Un-Subdermatoglyphics can be a big name if cared for correctly, I, TheMegaGamerGuy, Joshua Martins am very proud with how this turned out and even with the few mishaps here and there this is one the best results I could’ve hoped for.