Daily Design: Day 149

Daily Design is a series of game concepts devised daily through all of 2016. These are just basic concepts, designed based on three randomly generated words. Today, they are;

Arena, Bet and Legend.

As such, the game I’ve designed today is…

Dead Heat


Dead Heat is a singleplayer “roguelite” management game, in which players manage a gladiator as they rise through the ranks and try to earn their freedom.

Initially, the player is given a slave to manage. The goal is to train and manage the slave as they become famous warriors, eventually either earning their freedom or dying (permanently) in the arena.

The gladiator is randomly generated, with their own “traits”. These traits can be things like “Bloodthirsty”, which pushes the fighter to go for the killing blow even when it isn’t necessary or wise to do so. Another is “Timid”, which makes them less aggressive and much less likely to do something crowd-pleasing.

These traits are generated when the slave is created, but they can also be changed, earned or lost in the arena. A fighter that’s nearly killed may become more timid, whereas a gladiator who wins many easy fights may become overconfident.

The fights themselves are automatic, and the player just has to watch them unfold (or skip them and view the results). Fights play out according to how well trained and equipped the gladiator is, and if they die, that’s it – the player will have to manage a new slave from scratch.

The player, however, never dies. They continue to amass money and skills of their own, which help to train each subsequent gladiator more easily. As the player increases their own “Renown” by winning matches, the gladiators that are created for them have better starting stats, and eventually players may be recruiting volunteers, soldiers or veteran gladiators rather than slaves.

If a gladiator wins a certain number of fights, they may be retired. In the case of slaves, they will be automatically granted their freedom, though bloodthirsty slaves may choose to stay on as a gladiator. Successfully training a warrior to freedom results in a large bonus of renown and gold for the player.

Players can also choose to retire their own gladiators at any time, though it’s not necessarily wise to do so. Retiring a gladiator early results in a small loss of renown and no earned gold, but the loss is much worse if the gladiator dies in combat. There’s another option, however – players can choose to bet on a match. This is typically used to earn bonus gold by betting on their own fighter, can crafty players can put a weak gladiator into a match and bet big on the competition.

This results in a large bonus to gold, but also a huge loss of renown. Gold can be used to buy new equipment, which is retained if a gladiator dies but can also be broken in combat (especially by careless warriors).

Finally, there’s training. Between matches the player has to decide how to train their gladiator, by increasing certain stats, such as strength, speed or health. Different gladiators will earn stats at increased rates depending on their traits – the key is to focus on the best stats and equipment for a given gladiator.

For example, a heavy-set gladiator won’t benefit much from speed training, but will get a lot more out of strength. Similarly, they’re better suited to wielding an axe than a whip.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with another quick game concept.



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