Nikki Valens

#221 Nikki Valens Talks Eldritch Horror

Designing Thematic Games


Dirk, David, and designer Nikki Valens kick off the Designing Thematic Games series with a discussion about the highly thematic games Nikki worked on at Fantasy Flight Games: Eldritch Horror, Arkham Horror, and Mansions of Madness.

Episode Outline

01:14 An introduction to Eldritch Horror and the Lovecraftian universe in general

03:54 Mechanical decisions made in Eldritch Horror to reinforce the Cthulhu mythos

05:54 Examining Eldritch Horror’s Omen mechanic and how it came to be

11:42 How the narrower focus of expanded content in Eldritch Horror affected its design

16:14 Why the impairment mechanic in Eldritch Horror didn’t work as well as the designers hoped

18:21 Designing mechanics for a theme of existential dread and expected failure

23:08 Nikki’s opportunities and limitations when building upon Arkham Horror with its third edition

26:05 The process of weighing thematic and mechanical improvements against a previous edition.

30:46 An overview of another Fantasy Flight game, Mansions of Madness 2nd edition

34:07 Changing the adversarial “one vs many” approach of Mansions of Madness 1st edition

36:06 How the companion app for Mansions of Madness helped improve the game and the thematic experience

39:05 A deeper look into building upon a popular work that is in the public domain vs a protected IP

42:42 What Nikki would like to see in future approaches to the theme

47:43 Grappling with Lovecraft’s bigotry and building games based on his works

52:28 Nikki briefly talks about her current project, Quirky Circuits

In this Episode

Nikki Valens - @valens116
David V. Heron - @davidvheron
Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer

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