Labyrinth of Souls Designer’s Notebook
Designing the Labyrinth of Souls game
Game design is a wonderful interplay between logical and narrative elements. I really enjoy both aspects of design, and the chance to combine them is one of the reasons why I love making games. This post will cover my thoughts on game design in general and my design notes from Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls. It’s a bit long for a single blog post, so I’m just going share here the PDF Designer’s Notebook I made for the Labyrinth of Souls Kickstarter. Everything is contained within: the origins of Dungeon Solitaire, major influences, design philosophy, testing methods, original images, and thoughts on the various challenges, solutions, and variations that went into Dungeon Solitaire.
Click here or on the title page below to delve in. Download if you want … and enjoy. :)
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
The general release is here for the new Dungeon Solitaire game, Devil’s Playground! The new game book includes a stand-alone game, a two-player version, expansion rules for the Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls tarot game, four variants of a new original cardgame called Dungeon War, and guidelines for fortune telling using the Devil’s Playground custom card deck.
Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground is a fantasy adventure card game. Fight monstrous diabolisms, overcome obstacles, and endure misfortunes as you delve into the darkest dungeon in a quest to defeat three powerful demons. Along the way you will collect treasure and unique magic items, encounter strange locales, and acquire three divine graces. But beware, the dungeon is deep and even if you survive all immediate dangers, a fate worse than death awaits those who linger too long. You may face starvation and insanity, terrible curses and demonic possession, forever haunted, in the darkness of the pit.
Most of the games require the Devil’s Playground cards, available separately. Expansion rules also require the Labyrinth of Souls rulebook and cards. Dungeon Solitaire print rulebooks, PDF rulebooks, and custom card decks are available through the following outlets:
Print Rulebook: Amazon
PDF Rulebook: DriveThru RPG
Deluxe Cards: DriveThru RPG
Standard Cards: Gamecrafter
Learn more about the complete line of Dungeon Solitaire games and stand-alone novels here on the Labyrinth of Souls page. Gameplay videos can be found on my YouTube channel.
Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls and Devil’s Playground have both been the fruit of a wonderful collaboration between myself and artist Josephe Vandel. The rich world of dark fantasy he has created in the cards has been the perfect representation of the adventures, ideas, and themes I have been endeavoring to evoke in the rulebooks. And yet he has surprised me again and again with the scope and the imaginative originality and detail of the artwork.
Josephe’s skill as an artist were evident from his prior work, but the Dungeon Solitaire art has exceeded my expectation at every turn. So many pieces arrived on my screen to wide eyes and an agape jaw. The unexpected, the beautiful, the horrific, the weird, and the wonderful are all on display. He has delved deep into dark realms of the psyche, and researched rich architectural details. Time and again he has delivered pieces that are highly original and highly evocative.
We were absolutely thrilled by the funding success and reception of the Labyrinth of Souls, and are super-excited that so many backers have already made the Devil’s Playground Kickstarter such a success. We’ve had a lot of fun working together to create something incredible and unique for the gaming community. We talked quite a bit about what the Labyrinth of Souls and the Devil’s Playground are about thematically, and while Josephe has always been incredibly receptive to feedback and any direction I wanted to give, it has rarely been needed. I have been more than happy to give him plenty of latitude to express his vision, and the incredible results speak for themselves.
I am so grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with Josephe and for his contributions to Dungeon Solitaire. He has created something extraordinary in the Labyrinth of Souls and Devil’s Playground decks. At once, his illustrations are evocative, dark, and filled with symbolic depth. And ultimately, the cards have the same classic and timeless quality I hoped to achieve with the rules. Taken as a whole, the decks present a unified vision and a grand space for the imagination to play in.
This is just some of the incredible art featured in Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls and Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground.
Check out the Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground Kickstarter now!
The Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground Kickstarter was launched on February 1st, and reached base funding in under 24 hours! It has since smashed through five stretch goals, and we are well on our way to the sixth. New stretch goals have been announced and new card art by Josephe Vandel has been revealed in a number of updates. And there’s more to come as we move into the middle of the campaign.
Thanks to all the backers have pledged already, and all our supporters who have shared the Kickstarter with friends and gaming groups, and on their blogs and social media. This kind of word of mouth really makes a huge difference!
I am super excited about all the content we’ll be including in the game, and looking forward to hitting more of our stretch goals! Support the Kickstarter now, and help us get there.
If you haven’t check out the dungeon-delving fantasy card game that is Dungeon Solitaire, the original game, Tomb of Four Kings, is available for free, and is playable with a standard deck of playing cards. The greatly expanded tarot game, Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls, launched with a hugely successful Kickstarter in 2015. The rulebook is available in print on Amazon and other online book retailers, and in PDF through DriveThruRPG, and custom tarot cards are available through Gamecrafter.
The Labyrinth of Souls has also inspired a series of stand-alone novels published by ShadowSpinners Press, with books by Elizabeth Engstrom, Christina Lay, Eric Witchey, Stephen T. Vessels, and myself so far, with new books on the way by Mary E. Lowd, John Reed, Cheryl Owen Wilson, Lisa Alber, Cynthia Coate-Ray, and Pamela Jean Herber!
I am more excited than ever that Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground is now in the works, once again expanding the labyrinth into the uncharted realms of the imagination. We’re going to deliver another great game!
Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground has been in development for a while, and has now launched an official Kickstarter campaign to reach its full potential.
Artist Josephe Vandel and I have teamed up again to bring you this new evocative fantasy adventure that includes a 54 card custom deck, with both a stand-alone game and expansion rules for the Labyrinth of Souls tarot game. There’s going to be gorgeous full-color artwork, higher quality cards, and plenty of extras. Creating the Labyrinth of Souls was a dream come true, and I am super excited about this new game, the new artwork, and the expansion rules. I hope we can all make this incredible journey together again, from Kickstarter to production. We’re planning to make the Devil’s Playground a reality, and we’re looking forward to delivering another great game!
If you don’t know what Dungeon Solitaire is, it’s a dungeon delving fantasy card game. The original game, Dungeon Solitaire: Tomb of Four Kings, is available for free, and is playable with a standard deck of playing cards. The greatly expanded tarot game, Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls, is available in print on Amazon and other online book retailers, and in PDF through DriveThruRPG, with custom cards available through Gamecrafter. The Labyrinth of Souls has also inspired a series of stand-alone novels published by ShadowSpinners Press, with books by Elizabeth Engstrom, Christina Lay, Eric Witchey, Stephen T. Vessels, and myself so far, with new books on the way by Mary E. Lowd, John Reed, Cheryl Owen Wilson, Lisa Alber, Cynthia Coate-Ray, and Pamela Jean Herber! And now, I am super excited to be creating a third Dungeon Solitaire game and once again expanding the world of Dungeon Solitaire.
Check out the Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground Kickstarter now, and support the creation of another great game!
With the holiday season in full swing, I probably should have posted this sooner, but hey it’s never too late for great gifts for yourself or loved ones. With that in mind, I’d like to highlight the ever increasing line of Dungeon Solitaire and Labyrinth of Souls books and games. So below are some links, including one for a free game. Book links are through Amazon where you can still get two-day shipping, but note that books can be found through other online retailers as well.
Dungeon Solitaire: Tomb of Four Kings is a free print-and-play game that uses a standard deck of playing card — perfect for whiling away the holiday hours and indulging your inner introvert at family gatherings. Download the PDF here, find a deck of cards, and you’re ready to play. A Spanish Edition is also available.
Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls is an expanded tarot version of Dungeon Solitaire. The 152 page rulebook contains Basic, Expert, and Advanced versions of the game, as well as a variety of exciting variants, including Two-Player, Dragon’s Lair, Undead Hordes, Megadungeon, Campaign Mode, and Cartomancy! This game can be played with any tarot deck, or with the custom Labyrinth of Souls tarot, with 10 extra arcana cards. Cards are sold separately and available through Gamecrafter with PDF Basic Rules included.
Labyrinth of Souls fiction from ShadowSpinners Press offers a series of stand-alone novels inspired by Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls. The Labyrinth of Souls is a manifestation of a mythic underworld, existing at a crossroads between people and cultures, between time and space, between the physical world and the deepest reaches of the psyche. It is a dark mirror held up to human experience, in which you may find your dreams… or your doom. Each Labyrinth of Souls novels features an adventure into a unique vision of a mythic underworld. Get ready to delve into the Labyrinth in a totally new way! Click on the book of your choice below, and look for more Labyrinth of Souls fiction coming out in 2018!
Dungeon Solitaire: Tomb of Four Kings is now available in a free Spanish language edition thanks to a translation by Pablo Sancho Fernández. Solitario de la Mazmorra: La Tumba de los Cuatros Reyes can be downloaded as a free print and play PDF here. Many thanks to Pablo Sancho Fernández for his generosity, his precise translation work, his many questions, and his patience in getting this edition out to the public. I am very happy to be able to share Dungeon Solitaire with Spanish speakers all over the world.
Help spread the excitement of Solitario de la Mazmorra by sharing the game with your Spanish speaking friends. This original version of the game is playable with any standard deck of playing cards, and is the basis for the larger, more expansive tarot version, Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls. The Labyrinth of Souls rulebook is available (currently English edition only) on Amazon and other online book retailers and the Labyrinth of Souls custom tarot deck is available through Gamecrafter.
Free PDF Download
Solitario de la Mazmorra: La Tumba de los Cuatros Reyes
Rulebooks for Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls are now available for $12.99 in the US. You can purchase copies direct from Createspace here (I do get a slightly higher royalty for these sales), but if you’re ordering other stuff, you can get it on Amazon with free shipping. You can also order through most Amazon International sites, immediately … or very soon.
In any case, please take a moment to a review the game on Amazon, or on your blog or social media. Reviews are huge help in spreading the word about Dungeon Solitaire and allowing me to continue making expansions and more games. Check out some quotes from previous reviews and Labyrinth of Souls Kickstarter backers below.
REVIEWS FOR THE ORIGINAL DUNGEON SOLITAIRE:
“It’s an amazing game …”
–Tim Snider, The Savage Afterworld
“It is called Dungeon Solitaire … and it is brilliant.”
–John Payne, Sycarion Diversions
LABYRINTH OF SOULS BACKER QUOTES
“An extremely awesome, super fun game.”
“Amazingly detailed and well thought out … Absolutely fantastic.”
“I have been consumed by this game and overjoyed at how much clever thought went into the making of this project.”
“There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of solitaire variants out there, but this is exactly what I’ve been looking for since the dawn of time. It’s amazing something like this hasn’t been created until now.”
“Received my book today and absolutely love it.”
“Arrived and I couldn’t stop playing it … :-)”
As of today, all print proofs are approved for Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls! The game is finished! I just put in an order for 325 rulebooks for our Kickstarter backers, and tomorrow I’ll be bulk ordering more than 800 decks of Labyrinth of Souls tarot cards! I’ll be waiting on the print runs, but everything should at least be in the process of shipping by the end of the month.
It’s been an amazing eight months of development, funding, and production. And incredibly, it’s been just about one year since the release of the original Dungeon Solitaire game last summer.
My work is not done yet though. While I wait for the print runs, I’ll be finishing the final stretch goals and rewards for major donors, including editing and layout for the Digital Designer’s Notebook and Digital Artbook pdfs, and fine art prints of one of my hand drawn dungeon maps. In the meantime, here’s a preview of what the final products will look like. For anybody who didn’t get in on the Kickstarter, there will be a public release around mid July. Stay tuned for more information as we get closer.
I’m very excited to reveal the rulebook cover for Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls! The beautiful artwork and design are by the game’s exclusive illustrator, Josephe Vandel. I’ve been so busy with the production process that I haven’t had much time to post updates here, but as we get closer to the end of this epic journey, I am more excited than ever to share this game with all our backers and then with the rest of the world.
I just ordered print proofs of both the standard and monochrome card decks. I’m super excited, but it will be a week or so before I get them. In the meantime, I’m putting in final corrections to the rulebook interior and will be ordering print proofs of that as well. If all goes well, we will be shipping to our backers on time toward the end of June. Expect a public release sometime in July.