Designed by Jay Little, Dylan Shepherd, and Lucas Zerby
Pompeii: Wrath of Vesuvius has only two phases in the game – the Pompeii Phase and Vesuvius Phase. Which means it's easy to get into, but offers a variety of game play strategies with its cleverly designed building and bluffing mechanics. Co-designed in part by Jay Little, whose game design credits include: X-Wing Miniatures, Edge of Empire, and more!
During the first phase, the Pompeii Phase, players will be placing their warehouse tiles into various warehouse districts throughout the city of Pompeii. The tiles have a guild icon on one side and a numerical value on the other. Face down tiles are worth one influence on the cities district, and player may choose to reveal the numerical side to all the players in the game and gain influence equal to the numerical value of the tile, and any other tiles still face down in the district. Each district will be scored for first, second, and third place at the end of the Pompeii Phase.
During the second phase, the Vesuvius Phase, players take the role of the volcano, and begin placing lava tokens flowing down from Vesuvius into the city. Each lava token will give the player access to remove a warehouse tile from the board. After all lava tokens have been placed, players will flip up the numerical side of each warehouse tile still on the board and score bonus points for any tiles left. They will earn more points for each tile that is closer to the top of the volcano. The player with the most victory points wins!
Pompeii, a glorious city unaware of its own imminent demise. Powerful families vie for control over key districts throughout the city. Once the districts are complete, however, the mighty volcano erupts, sending its destructive lava to burn away what these families worked so hard to build.
Only a few remnants of the once proud city still stand. The family clever, and fortunate enough to secure its influence during both the development and destruction of Pompeii claims victory.
Pompeii: Wrath of Vesuvius was a real surprise for me. Like so many others in our test groups, I incorrectly judged the game based on its looks. There really isn’t much to the game to suggest what it’s all about. It’s only after you play a full game that you sit back, eyes wide, and say “Oh, now I get it”.
– Cyrus, Editor-in-Chief, Father Geek – READ MORE
"I had a blast playing this game. It makes people erupt with laughter. It’s great for burning off steam. Gameplay flows well.
Okay, I’m done with puns.
Pompeii: Wrath of Vesuvius is eccentric and awesome. Once understood, it teaches quickly, and gives you lots of reasons to play again."
– Chris Hecox – READ MORE
In addition to my freelance game design, I also teach game design at UW-Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsin. Back in January, I had the opportunity to teach a brand new class I had pitched to the curriculum committee -- Board Game Production & Processes. It was an intense, three week course that was a hybrid between traditional methods and a mock studio experience.
We met 8 AM to 5 PM every day. After a morning of lecture, assigned reading, and research, we spent the rest of the day working in a design studio / prototyping lab. Students were assigned roles in different departments and that part of class worked on projects in an environment trying to model an actual small size publisher in the tabletop industry.
One of the key projects was to fully develop a game from start to finish over the course of these three weeks. While other students were charged with marketing, production, distribution, and other tasks, I tasked two of the students with the game design itself.
Lucas Zerby was a senior in the video game design and development program who had a lot of experience with hobby games and was a regular gamer. Dylan Shepherd was an incoming freshman who hadn't declared a major yet, and was a video gamer who didn't have much experience with tabletop gaming. Lucas was able to tackle design leveraging his personal gaming knowledge and preferences along with four years of study in the game design program, while Dylan offered fresh perspectives and creativity that wasn't influenced or limited by existing games or what may have previously been done.
Given the time available, I set some constraints and guidelines for the game:
1. It had to accommodate 2-4 Players
2. Have a play time of 30-40 minutes (a "lunch time" game)
3. Feature "two phases" of gameplay that offered different types of strategy
4. Use a relatively small "footprint" in terms of size and components
They had a few other games to use for comparison and reference, butI left it up to them to figure out what "two phases" of gameplay meant. That first week, the class worked out a project proposal, outlined a production schedule, and developed a budget. Then design began in earnest...