Northanger Abbey Deathmatch: A Loose adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel with pirates

This game is loosely based on the novel Northanger Abbey by revered author Jane Austen. It takes place within Henry and Catherine’s imagination. Our game is based on a part of the book where Catherine is excited about being able to see a real abbey and Henry adds to her excitement by creating a story about this a mystical gothic place filled with secret passages and mysterious chests. Here’s the twist we added pirates to the game which would accompany Henry and Catherine in the imaginary abbey to sprawl for treasure as the two’s enemies. This brings us to the idea for our game which is a battle between our heroes and the dreaded pirates.

The Rules

Movement is determined by a dice roll and the game requires 2 teams of two people or 2 opposing players. One team is the hero team consisting of Henry and Catherine, the other is the pirates.

The player piece that represent the pirates.

The heroes are represented by cut outs of these two characters.

There are many secret passages in the game; in order to enter one of them you must roll the specific number that on the die. After fulfilling this requirement you then follow the path of the passage to your new position.

Chests are found in side passages on the map. They contain bonuses but are guarded by ghosts. To defeat a ghost you must perform a battle sequence. This consists of first rolling the die for the ghost. This number constitutes its strength. Then in order to beat it you must roll higher than its strength. After you defeat the ghost you obtain the item from the chest.


Chests will contain either a positive or a negative bonus card. Positive ones are what you would expect extra dice roll, extra movement spaces etc. Negative cards however have a more strategic role. Once you get a negative card you put it into your own negative card pile. To add a sense of strategy negative cards are not used on your next turn but are instead called upon by your opponents. For example, say the person playing as Henry got a negative card from his chest that reduced his roll by 2.

The game board during production.

This card would not be used immediately but instead when one of the pirates chooses. So henry might start a turn three turns from when he got the card and a pirate might command him to use his negative card, because the pirate told him to henry must now use his card and lose 2 on his dice roll. The strategy comes in because the pirates don’t  know what the negative card is and it could be completely useless for the current turn. For example, henry might have had a -1 to attack for that turn on the card. In this case unless henry would have had a fight that turn the pirates would have wasted their advantage. Remember Positive cards are used immediately while negative cards are used only at the command of your enemy.

The cards, the red ones are negative, the green ones are positive and the purple ones are trap cards.

While traversing the board, if a pirate and a hero land on the same block they will initiate combat. Combat is a variation of the ghost combat.  Each person rolls and the one with the higher roll (including any card modifications) wins, it will be best 2 out of 3. The person who wins is allowed to continue while the person who loses is forced to stand by and lose a turn thus making this combat slightly more dangerous than the ghost combat. In order to win the game you must defeat your opponent until they run out of lives.

My Experience

We were given a week to make this game, however other projects due within the week would take priority and I had trouble finding a group of people to work with. But fortunately I found a group with my friend Raffaele Collarusso whom I’ve worked with before and Sascha Maurer. We sat around discussing what to do by brainstorming, after thinking of the foundation we came up with the rules. The day after we finally got together and discussed the concept and rules just to make sure we were all on the right page and if there’s anything we can add or cut out. Then we finally got into the process of creating the game by coming up with a path, where to put the treasure chests and traps, and making things visual by adding pieces that represent what they’re supposed & drawing out the surrounding. This was a difficult & tiresome process as it took all day but I’m happy to say that we’re satisfied with the final product, it has a great concept, fulfills the requirement, has interesting rules and mechanics that promise a fun and competitive experience. I hope all our classmates enjoy it.





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