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CYOW #3: Apocalypse Lisa Smedman Projects

Quest for Home

Creator: Lisa Smedman
Exhibition: CYOW 3: Apocalypse
Published: May 2020
Format: Tabletop Card Game / Twine Survival Game
Access: YouTube, itch.io, or Monkey Mind Games
Content Warning: Deals with death and illness.


I wanted to do something really different with the theme Apocalypse, and so decided to set my game at the dawn of the last ice age, approximately 30,000 BC, an era when the Neanderthals were dying out. The game forces the player to make tough choices about which members of the clan live or die.

Lisa Smedman

Description of the Work

Quest for Home is a single-player game that tells the story of a Neanderthal clan trying to find a new home. As they trek across a procedurally generated wilderness, members of the clan must forage, craft, keep up morale, and protect themselves.

Process & Project Photos

Creator’s Statement – Lisa Smedman

In early February, I posted to Facebook an announcement about the Papercut Arcade’s latest “Choose Your Own Way” event, and it’s theme: “Apocalypse.” Being a news junky (and hypochondriac) Covid-19 was already on my radar, and I blithely said the game jam would take place on May 3 – or when the real-world apocalypse struck, whichever came first.

How prophetic that was: the pandemic is upon us.

In light of that, The Papercut Arcade debated whether to change the theme, or to postpone the event. We chose to do neither. And so I pressed on with my game design: a card game about a neanderthal clan that needs to find a new cave to live in, due to the “apocalypse” of an ice age.

I completed the card game about a month ago, and tested and tuned it. I’m pretty happy with the system. It’s a single-player experience, so I figured people could just download and print the cards and rulebook. But not everyone has a printer. And so I decided to “port” my game into a digital experience, using the free engine Twine 1.4.2.

That was an interesting process. A couple of parts of the system were too tricky to implement, given the tight time frame. But I pressed on with the coding (hours and hours and hours of coding, and a whopping 298 variables!), and I’ve managed to replicate most of the system I designed. And I’m pretty pleased with the results.

So feel free to play the tabletop card game – or the digital version. Each provides a slightly different experience. I’ll be curious to hear the stories it generates.

Game Files (print & play tabletop version)

https://www.monkeymindgames.com/quest-for-home

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