Death Path: Why am I creating this game?

Death Path: Why am I creating this game?


Death Path. Not the most innovative name – I know. Here’s the deal.

Fans of my tabletop podcast, Zlurpcast (plug!) may remember Episode 67 where I discussed a game that my friends and I created in 6th grade. We are talking like 1989. We would stay inside during our 2nd recess and play a game we invented called “Death Path”. Basically, it consisted of drawings that we traced out of a book called “How to Draw Monsters” and a map out of construction paper. Each character had an attribute that the whole group needed. So in order to go into the cave, someone had a light. In order to climb up a wall, one of us had a rope. At this time, my only gaming experience was Risk with my brother and ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books. Sidenote: Lone Wolf: Caverns of Kalte blew my mind as a kid. Last page had random numbers where you drop a pencil on it to decide random numbers. Eventually I remembered exactly where to drop the pencil for optimal results. Like Plinko.

28 years later, many ideas for new game concepts live and die in my notebook, and more modernly, my Google Drive. Some games made it further than others. In 2000, I worked with a friend of mine to create a pro wrestling game with miniatures. It died. Had crowdfunding been around then, who knows what could have happened.

Currently, there are other game ideas in the works with my business partner, fellow Zlurpcast founder and co-host, Bryan. For Death Path in particular, I’ve also enlisted my art and design team of Scott and Brock.

Speaking of Death Path. Let’s talk about that. Why do this now?

I’m turning 40 this year.

I need to let this sink in, hang on.

When I turned 30, I went back to school to get into radio broadcasting. Pretty scary being a 30 year old intern handing out bumper stickers at some local festival. Let’s not forget leaving a relatively stable corporate America job to make minimum wage if you’re lucky. After 3 months as an intern I was hired by a radio station to work the promotional events. After 3 more months I had my first on-air shift. Thankfully it was at 2am and only a few guys in a White Castle drive thru heard my mistakes. A few years later, I was helping to produce a nationally syndicated show. A few years after that, I had my own show during afternoon drive on a rock station. Dream accomplished.

During that time, I knew talking into a microphone wasn’t everything. Dream aside, paying bills is important to, So I eventually honed my skills in the Digital Marketing world. I’ve worked for full service ad agencies, software start-ups, and SEO/lead generation companies. Let’s take that knowledge and combine it with experiences of playing games with friends. Already about a lifetime’s worth of that experience right there!

Another 10 years have passed, and another dream needs to begin.

The desire to come up with a quick, easy, and fun game was born. This game is simple. You are navigating through a maze, but just as a series of cards flipping over. I’ve scaled down the complexity of this game so many times already. I’m not ready for anything more detailed just yet.

I have had ideas in the past to use cards to indicate portions of a map that you haven’t gotten to yet. For example, I always wondered why most dungeon crawl games lets you see the whole map. You don’t know where you are going yet!

One day… sure, miniatures, a cool board, the whole thing — but not as my first game produced.

So I combined that simple idea with a game mechanic about using different sided dice for different weapons you encounter. It allows for an seemingly endless combination of abilities and items. Expansions for more characters and more weapons are in the works — including the obligatory stretch goal to make your own character.

If the game is just dice and cards and comes in a small box, it seems like it can be done pretty easily. Just need a theme. Originally Death Path was monsters! It’s now evolved into a Running Man/Hunger Games sort of thing set in the near future and fighting is only part of the game. The goal of Death Path is to get to the end of a maze before other “Subjects” do — and stay alive of course.

If you want to know more about this game, stay tuned. For now check out the Zlurpcast Studios Facebook Group and  sign up to the Death Path mailing list and stay in the loop.

When the time comes to launch the Death Path Kickstarter, help me make this game happen. If it doesn’t, the 11 year old version of me dies a little more inside. You can’t live with that.

Thanks for getting through my babble.

Jonny P

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