Game Design

The Systems Design of Tharsis

Zach Gage of Choice Provisions was the System Designer of Tharsis, a turn-based space strategy game involving dice and cannibalism.

Dice? Many video games involve random number generators, and some games such as Roguelikes use random numbers inspired by dice used in Dungeons & Dragons.

But Tharsis doesn’t just use random numbers to dictate results. It allows the player to roll simulated dice, then make decisions based on the results.

In this YouTube video, Gage explains his thinking behind the design of the systems of Tharsis and how the roll of the dice results in tense situations for the player:

And if you’re not familiar with Tharsis, here’s a tutorial video that explains how it works, giving some context to the previous behind-the-scenes video:

Although the Indie MEGABOOTH Tharsis page mentions it is supposed to be available for GNU/Linux, the Steam forums indicate that there are no current plans for a port, which is too bad. B-(