Movement & parkour
Runners! You know very well that the best way to bite it is to stay put. Hopefully, you’re still on the move, as that’s exactly what we’re covering in today’s Survivor’s Log—movement. Mind you, we’re offering no room for recreational walks in the park—it’s all about non-stop, edge-of-your-seat action!
BREATHING LIFE INTO PARKOUR
When we first embarked on this project, we immediately knew that capturing the essence of Dying Light meant nailing the parkour-inspired movement that defines the experience found in the video game. If for any reason you’re unfamiliar with the concept, parkour stands for probably the most spectacular way of getting from point A to point B. In the game, it’s a dynamic, fluid, and highly strategic mode of navigating the map. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the need to properly translate this energy into our board game was a no-brainer from the start.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DICE
We’ve already talked at some length about the way dice work in the game, including the basic, parkour, and combat dice which form each player’s action pool. If this is news to you, you might want to head right here to catch up: https://glasscannonunplugged.com/blog/do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night/
The use of dice serves as the foundation of our movement system. The gray, blue, and red dice used in the game represent different levels of stamina, which have a strong impact on the action capabilities of your character. Gray dice are your workhorses, offering a balanced mix of movement and attack. The red one drives you straight into the conflict, bolstering your attack power, pushing enemies to the side, or enhancing your defensive capabilities.
Today, it’s the blue die that is of most interest to us, as that’s the one used for parkour, where agility and calculated movement are paramount. To this end, it includes symbols which stand for High Jump or Fast Climb, enabling you to traverse the many obstacles scattered around the map much more efficiently than through standard movement. It also grants you a higher chance of maneuvering around enemies without increasing your Threat level.
In Dying Light: The Board Game every movement is an opportunity to strategize. Dashing between adjacent zones is all fine and dandy, but beware of the Threat mechanic. Leaving a zone through regular movement triggers a Threat roll, simulating the risk of encountering enemies or just bad luck and potential injuries resulting from, e.g. environmental hazards. The roll makes use of Risk dice, and serves to heighten the suspense of potential enemy spawns.
There’s no Dying Light without climbing and jumping, the staples of parkour. The Climb action requires calculated choices to get the advantage of your position versus the Biters, who can’t climb after you. This is where you use the blue dice to boost your ability to ascend and quickly navigate the cityscape. Leaping over gaps can be achieved by the Jump action, with landing zones available on the same or lower level. This is a nice way to bypass zones brimming with Infected, but you need to be ready to face the risks associated with doing so, as each Jump action forces you to additionally roll a Risk die. But that’s where all the fun is, right? The system is designed to offer the exhilaration of urban exploration captured in a marriage of dice rolling and decision-making.
MOMENTUM—STRATEGY ON THE GO
Momentum is where movement truly shines. The Momentum space on the action track rewards players who chain actions and maintain a certain flow with regard to movement. In return, you are given the possibility to unleash special bonuses and make use of positive modifiers. Whenever you hit the Momentum spot that you’ve kept from your last turn, you immediately gain an extra action die which you can use to accelerate your character even more, or keep for the unexpected as insurance. Momentum isn’t just about individual actions. It’s about crafting a narrative of daring moves that pay off in the most critical moments.
THE DANCE OF COMBAT AND DEFENSE
In a world overrun by zombies, movement isn’t just for evasion. Sure—it’s often the only way to remain in one piece, but there’s no way you can ignore all the other aspects of city exploration and simply sleep off the apocalypse. Sooner or later, you have to become involved in combat, with defense often being more important than offense. Your weapon in Dying Light: The Board Game is the red Combat die. You use it in a vast array of actions used for different tactical purposes. Push is used to manipulate enemies and trigger environmental effects. The Power Attack grants you extra damage dice, while the Defense symbol on the Combat dice lets you mitigate the damage you sustain, adding another layer of tactical depth to your strategy.
Combining combat actions with parkour maneuvers gives you the opportunity to adapt and reduce the risk of facing too many Infected. This is made much easier through the use of Skills. For example, the Air Kick grants you a free attack action right after jumping, while the Grapple Throw allows you to sidestep enemies and push them away each time your Defense exceeds their attack output.
NAVIGATING THROUGH THE CITY
We’ve gone deep into the mechanical innards of the game, but why not take a step back and take a look at the board used in the game? It’s a work of art in its own right. Through the use of flat, deserted streets littered with a wealth of atmosphere-building environmental hazards and obstacles, as well as 3D buildings which enhance the feeling of immersion, the board is sure to draw you in with its tangible urban environment, offering visual and strategic depth.
GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK
Crafting the movement and parkour mechanics for Dying Light: The Board Game was a journey of embracing the thrill, strategy, and risk of urban exploration known from the video game series. We wanted the players to become one with the pulse of the city, regardless of whether they prefer to skulk through its streets or hustle about its rooftops, looking for the next Infected skull to bash in. We proudly consider the result to be a system that captures the dynamic spirit of parkour while challenging the players to navigate myriads of threats, strategize their momentum, and keep on their toes, ready to face the unexpected.
So, when you roll your dice and leap over the next gap, remember that you’re not just playing a game. You’re immersing yourself in a heart-pounding journey of survival, movement, and struggle in a world gone dark. Gear up, choose your approach, and let’s navigate the night together.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes insights into the creation of Dying Light: The Board Game!