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Game Idea A Week: Flea Infestation

Week Thirty-Three (19/05/2010)

In the idea for this week, you play as a flea who wants to be queen and take over the neighbourhood. Command the other fleas to coordinate taking over the suburb, one house at a time. Watch out for pesky humans who try to eradicate you, then conquer them with bites that render them helpless.

Flea standing off against a dog and a human





Why it needs to be made:

The idea of taking over a neighbourhood appeals to people's desire to be in control and the leader of a great force. Most people hate fleas and want to eradicate them, however many people do not understand the flea life cycle and what counter-measures are effective. Looking at the game from a flea's perspective gives the game more appeal than a realistic simulation, so that players can subtly learn about how to eliminate fleas humourously.


Once fleas invade a household or area, it can be very difficult (as humans) to eliminate them. In this game you are trying to do the exact opposite: you want the fleas to take over the neighbourhood. Fleas don't traditionally have queens, but in this game, you play one flea who has decided to become the Queen Flea and band together to take over the neighbourhood.

Flea Infestation is played as though from a bird's eye view. Territory is gained by overwhelmingly infecting hosts such as humans, pets and other stray animals. You, the new Queen Flea, can direct your adult fleas to jump to a new host or lay eggs. Once the eggs are laid you must wait for them to hatch and pass through the larvae and pupae stages. When they are ready in the pupae (cocoon) phase, you can tell them to hatch at just the right moment so that the new fleas can jump onto a host to infect them.

Humans can use pesticides on individual hosts to eradicate those fleas, and can also use an area pesticide to decontaminate an area of their land. However, once a human as been overwhelmed by enough fleas for a long enough period of time, they will stop fighting back and the land will be considered conquered by your flea army.

You start with one adult flea on a pet and begin by deciding where to start laying your hundreds of eggs. Humidity is an issue, so the bird's eye view shows areas which have high humidity and are therefore good areas to lay eggs. A household is considered won when each of the available hosts (warm bodies) on the land have been infested with sufficient adult fleas. You can then start looking further afield to nearby properties. You need to lay some eggs on the new property or jump an adult flea to a host on the new property. Each property will has an individual humidity layout as well as different numbers of humans and other animals. Some properties don't have any humans at all, so the stray animals you find are easy pickings. Other properties have many humans who will start attacking your eggs and adult humans. Some humans are not very smart and will only attack either the eggs or the adults, you will find these humans are easier to conquer.

Why it will be a compelling game:

Players will get a sense of accomplishment as they conquer each household and take over the neighbourhood. Determining a good invasion strategy and maintaining flea levels on conquered territory will mean that players must remain attentive and battle on multiple fronts. Although it will be stressful taking a household, once this is done, there will be an automatic lull in the game as the player builds up for the next invasion. Players cannot actively stop human attacks, so they must wear them down and plan ahead well.

Other thoughts:

This idea is inspired by a suggestion from a friend, Nick Tyler.

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