Roll Camera: Murder Mystery and X-Mas Movie Story Packs
About Story Packs
The Murder Mystery and X-mas Movie Story Packs are mini-expansions for the cooperative film making game Roll Camera! Designed by Malachi Ray Rempen and John Velgus, and published by Keen Bean Studio, each of these highly thematic packs adds new content and a novel rules twist.
In the Murder Mystery Story Pack, players must carefully arrange specific dice on Set to rule out suspects for their movie's culprit. The X-mas Movie Story Pack has players managing a cheer tracker to monitor the holiday mood of their crew: let it fall too low and there will be grumpiness penalties, but giving each other gifts will keep spirits high and grant special one-time effects and ongoing bonuses.
Before this project, Brieger Creative developer John Velgus had worked with Keen Bean Studio on the large Roll Camera: The B-movie Expansion which added new mechanics, new player roles, and a lot more content to the base game. The team has a great understanding of what makes a game like Roll Camera play well, and when the client was ready to further expand the line the Brieger Creative team was eager to hop in.
The goal of Story Packs is to be focused thematic experiences that are compact on size and complexity yet big on gameplay and emotional impact. Our project began by working with the client to figure out which movie genre for each pack would be most appropriate. The best genres would be popular, have interesting layers to build game mechanics and content around, and be very distinct from each other to provide unique experiences.
The client had already created a Super Hero Story Pack, which was well received. We closely examined the format used and pushed for creating new packs with thematically linked gameplay twists. Drawing on Malachi and Velgus's extensive previous knowledge of the game system and conversations with playtesters, additional content in the form of Idea, Problem, and Equipment cards were added to the product. Story Pack rules were tweaked for easier comprehension and maximum player flexibility.
- Expansion Design
- Content Design
- Playtest Coordination
Case Study: Designing Around Theme
Roll Camera is a very thematic game. Players take on the role of department heads, roll and assign crew, and work with all elements of working on a film set in a hectic environment. The game has unique art and flavor text on every card, and is known for its quirky humor and whismy. It feels like players are making a movie.
Each Story Pack is focused on a particular movie genre. While the team developed several engaging possible mechanics, it was clear that if they didn't resonate with the theme players were disappointed and disengaged. For example, when you buy the Murder Mystery pack, you expect the tropes of a mystery — suspects, intrigue, deduction, and puzzling things out. We had some great potential gameplay mechanics like a push-your-luck minigame and a dice progression efficiency puzzle, which players enjoyed when presented as a generic game addition, but didn't care for when presented as a mystery.
Things came together when we created a spatial puzzle on the set grid that gave players "clues" to eliminate murder suspects from a set of 15 cards, having players tell a unique mystery narrative each game. Theme was further enhanced with content and flavor text throughout the packs, like the Red Herring that has players being distracted by a false lead interfering with their movie and the optional X-mas Prop tokens that lets players dress up their movie scenes with festive décor.
Brieger Creative Team
- John Velgus