The Salem Witch Hunt

Engine: Board Game

Role: Designer in student team of 3

Development Highlights:

  • Iteration on an existing Hidden Movement system
  • Most of the designs for this project were collaborative, however I specifically took on the challenge to:
    • Design new turn system after playtests revealed a trend of player confusion over what could/could not be done on their turn
    • Write out rules sheet that clearly and concisely explains how to play
  • Also played a large role in character creation, designing 4 distinct characters with fun and engaging abilities that contribute to the player goal.
  • Conducted playtest sessions and prepared specific questions to get the most honest responses from playtesters.
  • Designed the game board through multiple iterations, including paper prototyping.
  • Designed a new “evolution” mechanic for the Witch player

Concept: The assignment was to create a game (physical or digital – we chose to make a board game as not everyone in the group was familiar with game creation tools) using some cultural or historical significance as the theme, and then bring the concept to life in a full development cycle we had learned earlier in the semester. We chose to iterate on the hidden movement system from “Letters from Whitechapel” using the theme of the infamous 1692 witch trials in Salem.

Summary: The game plays out as 3 players control town officials hunting the witch, played by the opposing player. The witch secretly records her movements, aiming to collect evil artifacts marked on the board. She gains new abilities with each artifact collected, and once she gets 3 out of a possible 5, she has the option to unleash her powers, turning the game on its head. If she chooses to do so, the town officials become the hunted, and the witch the hunter. She must kill all 3 players using abilities granted to her based on the number of artifacts she has collected. If she chooses to wait to unleash her power, the game plays out normally until she has collected the 4th or 5th artifact, unlocking more powerful abilities to play with.

The game was voted “Best Game” at my university’s 2016 student show, and was also showcased at Buffalo Game Space.

Screenshots: (click to enlarge)

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