Recently we published an article by John Fredricks about how, as a GM, you should play now and again. This article has more or less the same gist. John’s point was that playing under another GM would help you perfect your technique. My point is that playing is fun, but that you don’t always have another GM to play under nor do you always have the time or occasion for a full formal 6 people around a table game.
Recently I purchased a copy of Exiles of the Wicked Maze by Fishwife Games. It promised to be a solo pen and paper rogue-like game, and it did not disappoint. The general premise is that you create a hapless prisoner, drop them in one corner of a maze, and guide them to the exit in another corner. Along the way they encounter monsters, other exiles, traps, treasures and other wonders. Hopefully by the time they reach the exit, they have accumulated enough riches to pay for their crimes.
In addition to a fun solo game, Exiles contains pages of ideas that can be stolen for your other games. In particular, the 13 page lore section has descriptions of all the traps, treasures and monsters found in the game ready to be stolen wholesale. This is no surprise from a company who has produced dozens of dollar pdfs with lists of 100 items of various types. Essentially you get a free list of 100 different dungeon encounters with this product. 20 potions, 20 mushrooms, 20 foes, 20 hazards, etc…
One thing that I felt was a little lacking in Exiles, however, was the fact that it comes with only 1 dungeon layout. It’s huge (48×60 squares) and all the encounters in the dungeon have some amount of randomness to them, so that’s not as big a deal as it might be, but I found myself wishing there were more layouts. I started working on a way to randomly generate dungeon layouts and populate them with symbols from the game, but given how massive the default dungeon is and how many symbols are in it (somewhere near 525), that task was a bit more work than was reasonable. In fact, considering the amount of work it would take to recreate a layout really hammers home the effort Fishwife games must have put into their product.
Luckily, I know a guy. Drow and I met on the Treasuretables.org forums back when that was still a thing. He’s a regular reader and commenter on the Stew and an all around talented guy. He runs donjon.bin.sh, home to all kinds of generators and tables. I bribed him a bit and he put together a random Wicked Maze generator. The results are roughly in the same distribution as the original but the random distribution can create results that are much harder or easier than a normal game.
All in all, Exiles of the Wicked Maze is a fun game, good for some quick solo play and easily worth the $6 asking price (there’s also a free expansion available that adds more monsters and treasures). It’s also a great source to mine for your games and a preview of the kind of material that can be found in other Fishwife products. If the above description sound interesting, you should give Exiles a shot.
That does sound interesting–and very lootable, as you said.
As the designer and publisher of Exiles Of The Wicked Maze I would like to take this time to personally thank Matthew J. Neagley, the staff of Gnome Stew, and that awesome programming wizard Drow for his amazing addition to my humble little game. When I first created Exiles I simply did with the primary interest of having something to play by myself when no gaming groups were available (a common element where I live) and something that I can do when the power is out (another common element in the rural area where I live). Naturally, as the owner of Fishwife Games, I hoped to make a least a few dollars off of it and hoped that at least a small handful of people liked the game well enough, but never realized that I would be getting the response that I have so far. The kind words about Exiles has been amazing, and the fact that someone liked the game so much that they would be willing to spend the time and headaches to make a random maze generator simply blows me away.
I am extremely grateful for the responses and interest that has been generated since the release of this article and wish I could have gotten home quicker to do a little something of my own… in order to do my own part to help generate a bit more interest, I have temporarily dropped the price of Exiles Of The Wicked Maze from $6 to $3. In other words, instead of the game being the same price as a typical fast food combo (my original goal), I’ve lowered it to what you would pay for a sandwich, fries, and drink off the value menu. This sale will continue until July 1. Its the least I can do… thanks to all again! 🙂
You could try making geomorphs of the maze with symbols on them. That way you can mix and match to make new maps or lay them out randomly so you don’t know the way out until you find it.
Chad, that’s a really good idea. I’ll make sure Dave sees it. He might want to do something with it. Fishwife actually has a product line of geomorph-like maps, so it might be a quick thing for them to build.
I’ve not forgotten about you! I honestly had to have Matthew explain to me what you meant (I apologize, I’m sorta an airhead in certain ways).. but understand now (aka “Its like that cube maze thingy toy I had one time where one maze on one side lead to another maze on another side”)… I’m currently playing around with a couple of possibilities.. which may work, and I would like to personally present them to you in a bit… and would love to hear feedback from you, personally about the options since you are the one to originally bring it up.
I must say that these ideas that I’m exploring would not be possible without the inclusion of the Random Maze Generator for Exiles Of The Wicked Maze- Thank you again Drow! Prior to this the work would have been simply been too much of a venture, layout wise, to make this expansion idea possible. Now, thanks to the maze generator, its just a matter of me downloading a few good looking created mazes and doing some hand tailored secondary work.
I’ll get back with you in a bit on some things that I’m looking at as well as some concerns that I have that I would like your input on in regards to how I should handle it (namely placement of the exits).
Plus, if I can throw this out there… there’s an idea sharing, development page for Exiles Of The Wicked Maze future installments on FB at this location:
I plan to address your idea here, naturally, but wanted to direct you to this page in regards to all other crazy different concepts that are going on for the game, as well as future maze based games of the same general mechanics.