Conveyor Belt Board Game
The Abyss is a competitive board game where you try to knock your friends off a moving conveyor belt hovering over an abyss. After every round, the last space on the board falls off and moves to the front. Falling off the back or running off the front will remove that piece from the game. When a player lands on a space, they have a chance to move another player's piece if they roll a specific number. The direction of the conveyor belt can also change during the game, completely changing the potential danger of each player. The game was produced in a team in under one week.
Creating a game where the board moves like a conveyor belt
The initial idea was inspired by another game called "Up the River." In that game, board tiles are moved back one every turn as the players try to make it to the end. We wanted to put a spin on this mechanic by turning the river tiles into a conveyor belt and making the objective to remain on the conveyor belt the longest. From there, we added extra components to expand this idea.
The main game loop is to roll a die, choose a piece to move, and roll another die to determine if you move another piece. Players manage their dice rolls between their pieces to keep them on the conveyor belt. Being too far behind means you could fall off the back or being too far ahead means another player can push you off the front. This is done to keep players on their toes and encourage interaction between the players. If a 10 is ever rolled when attempting to push a player, the movement of the conveyor belt is reversed and players must start moving the opposite direction. This is meant to change the situation of the game dramatically to create a frantic experience.
Multiple prototypes were produced and performed with groups of testers to improve the game. The rules were also tweaked a lot to make them easier to understand. New mechanics were introduced as a result, such as players pushing each other on the board. Tests were proctored but mostly observed as if the testers had just received the game from the store and had no idea how to play it. This would provide us with the most accurate vision of how playable and fun the current game is.