Games that went nowhere – Bunker 13

Bunker 13 card game where players are stuck in a nuclear bunker/vaultBunker 13 was a card game idea where players have to survive for 30 rounds on limited food and resources in a nuclear bunker. After 30 rounds the fallout would have dissipated enough for players to successfully leave the vault and survive.

The problem was that players only begin with enough food to last ten turns (with 4 players) and less if there were more players.

Players had to contend not only with starvation, but also radiation and health problems, as well as a suspicious overabundance of weapons stored in the vault.

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Players receive a random job at the beginning of the game and get their own deck, starting with 5 cards. Each of the decks are job specific but also with a set number of food and weapons cards shared equally, for example the chef may recieve 5 standard food cards as well as an extra 10 randomly shuffled into his deck as the chef.

Players then vote for who the bunker leader is, however as some players such as the security team have a better chance of drawing weapons, the vote is often either ‘persuaded’ to be a certain member, or fully taken over by the person with the largest weapons cache in hand. This then decides who sets the policies for the bunker.

Policies include limiting food and weapons to the crew or opening and closing the bunker doors.

The game was playtested a few times, and whilst it was quite fun in parts, it needs a lot of work to make it truly playable – it is too complicated and players who are killed at the beginning of the game then have to wait until the game ends, which could be 20-30 minutes. Removing players from games is usually a bad idea in lengthy card games, so an alternative is needed – such as making them an outside group of raiders or traders.

Overall: an interesting idea and one I would like to return to in a simpler format, but one that needs a lot of work to make fun.

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