Well folks, here we are! Our first of what will hopefully be many blog posts to come. I (Jeremy) am going to start off by apologizing because I am a recovering double-space addict. I’ve already had to correct myself on every sentence so far, so don’t get mad if I miss one at some point in this post. We’ll make it through this together, I promise.
Now that that’s out of the way, welcome to Sophisticated Cerberus’ official blog! The plan is to post weekly updates that cover what we’ve been up to during the previous week, along with occasional one-offs for things such as conventions, Kickstarter info, events, and more.
Speaking of conventions, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that our first public playtests will be happening at Gen Con Online at the end of the month! We’ll cover more about Gen Con in our next post, but I had to throw that out there.
Getting back on track, the journey of The Stifling Dark began before our company was even founded. Ethan had an idea to make a board game for his game group back in late 2019, but little did he know what would happen next.
While Ethan was talking to Matt about his horror board game, I approached Matt with the idea for a different game and asked if he wanted to start a board game company. Matt mentioned that Ethan was also thinking of creating a game, so we joined forces and started Sophisticated Cerberus.
The first game we officially started developing was actually a space exploration game, not The Stifling Dark. Development on the space game started in November of 2019, but after a couple months of working on that game we hit a roadblock and decided to shift our focus to what would become The Stifling Dark.
Our core concept was simple: create a horror board game that would bring true tension to the table. Sure, there are lots of horror board games out there, but we wanted to make something truly unique. Something that actually got you engaged and on the edge of your seat. But first, we had to figure out the basics.
We knew we wanted the Adversary to have hidden movement, but we also wanted an innovative way in which the Victims could spot them. Enter flashlights. We went through quite a few iterations of how the flashlights would look and work, some of which were quite interesting. Come to think of it, the evolution of the flashlight would be a great topic for a blog post someday…
While we were in the process of developing the flashlights, we were simultaneously hard at work on determining how exactly our map was going to function. We initially started out with a grid but quickly realized that wouldn’t be the best fit for our game. Hexes were brought into the equation (aren’t they always) but were thrown out shortly thereafter.
I know the suspense is killing you, so I’ll cut to the chase. We combined multiple approaches and ended up using circles arranged in a hex pattern. A circle hex grid of sorts. This allowed us to have a consistent pattern that worked with our flashlights while also providing some spacing so the movement area wasn’t so cramped.
Now that we finalized the map layout we were also able to finalize the flashlight functionality and start getting into the meat of the game. This meant developing the backstory, characters, and overall feel of the game. Additionally, we had to start thinking through the gameplay itself. What does a turn look like? How many actions should each player have? Who goes first? Whose microphone keeps echoing?
These and many other questions were answered over the following months. We have put in many late nights, weekends, and playtests since then and I’m sure there are many more to come. I hope you enjoyed this insight into how The Stifling Dark came to be! If so, you’re in luck because we’ll be posting here regularly to keep you updated on how things are going.
Stay safe out there!