Interns of Hades is a quick set collection game for 2-4 players. As new hires in the underworld, players must forgive or condemn sinners as they arrive in the underworld. Each player only gets to see part of the scoring system, so players must carefully watch each other’s choices and work out exactly what it is that they’re supposed to be doing here.
The design started with the idea of a hidden scoring system. The main aim was to create a big surprise reveal at the end of the game, but when I started experimenting with the mechanic, a few other interesting dynamics appeared. In terms of decision scales, I find set collecting games often start out with a heavy focus on the personal scale, and only venture into the other scales when the interesting resources run dry. By obscuring the scoring system, the global scale becomes a lot more important at an early stage, and also a lot more positive. Rather than just trying to block other players, you have to look at their choices and work out which cards will be good for you as well.
One downside I encountered with the hidden scoring system was a potential lack of fairness. It’s very possible for a player to make a mistake in the first round which costs them the entire game, and they have no way of knowing this. I tried out various mechanics to mitigate this, but actually found this was one of the best stories the game could tell. Instead, I opted to make the game short enough and light enough that if a player does get handed an early game disaster, it’s a funny story to tell and fits the spirit of the game.
Development is still early on this project, but early playtests have been very positive.