Friday, February 10, 2012

Games on BGG, also Dice Works Rules

Two things to report...

1. I have submitted 3 of my games to the BoardGameGeek database. I did this for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that a game I know of was NOT in the database (even though it's almost done and is under consideration by a publisher), and recently another game with the very same title was announced by another publisher. It's too bad, too, because that game had an awesome title, and it' been around for years in the designer's blog.

So that spurred me to add some games I've been meaning to add, although I'm not too worried about my titles being used - they're not as good as that example was:

Dice Works
Alter Ego (not accepted yet)
Exhibit (not accepted yet)

2. I decided I would make Dice Works available for print and play though the BGG entry, so I was putting together a PDF of the player boards and the rules. It occurred to me that I had not written down (or could not find anyway) the latest version of the rules - the only set I could find was very out of date. I am astonished by how much space this is taking for how few rules it seems like the game has. I think I'm just being thick and that this could be much more succinct. So I'm going to ask you, faithful readers, to take a look and tell me how to rewrite this so it'll fit on 1 page! Is that possible? Here they are:

A fast and furious dice game of invention for 2-4 tinkerers.

80 Standard six-sided dice (best if they have squared corners, not rounded)
- 20 each in 4 colors (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow)
4 Player boards
4 Worker markers per player

Each player board shows several Invention Tracks. Each track space is labeled with some combination of die faces. Sometimes only the color of the die will matter (solid colored square), and sometimes both the color and the value will matter. There is one track for each color of die in the game. One side of the player board only has 3 columns - if using that side, only use Red, Green, and Blue dice. If using the side with 4 columns, all dice are used.

Dice Works is played over a series of rounds. Each round players will contribute some number of dice to the pool, the pool of dice will be rolled, players will draft dice out of the pool in real time to place on their player boards, and once all of the dice have been drafted, players will update their Worker markers to show their progress. The game is over when a player’s marker reaches the top space in 1 or 2 of their Invention columns, depending on which side of the player board you are using. That player is the winner! If more than 1 person accomplishes this in the same round, the tie is broken by the level of advancement of the next highest marker.

Round Structure
1. Contribute and Roll Dice
Each player notes the number of dice of each color that they contribute, based on the location of their Workers on their Invention tracks, and takes that number from the supply. All of these dice are rolled together.

2. Draft Dice
Players grab dice in real time (no turns) to complete sets on their player board. The following rules apply:
2a. Only 1 hand can be used to grab dice
2b. Only 1 die can be taken at a time
2c. Once a die is touched, it must be taken and placed on your board before another die can be taken
2d. Dice may only be placed in the lowest possible space in each column (the space ABOVE your Worker) - until that is full. Once a space is full, a player may begin placing dice into the next space up.
2e. Once placed, a die on your board may never be moved.
2f. Legal placements include:
* The die color matches the space it is placed on, and if the space indicates a particular number, that must match as well.
* For spaces where number is not specified but there exists an equal sign (=) between the spaces, the value of the first die placed does not matter, but the value of other dice must match it.
* No die can be placed in a box unless
a. It is the box directly above the player’s Worker in that column, or
b. It is a box directly above a series of boxes which are full oif dice.

3. Resolve Round
After all dice have been drafted and placed, players first check for illegal plays, and then advance their Workers on their player board for each column that qualifies.
3a. Any die that is not placed legally is moved to the Scrapyard of that die’s color.
3b. After checking for legal plays (and moving illegal plays to Scrap), any worker directly below a box that is full of dice moves up - discard those dice to the supply. Repeat this until all Workers have advanced as much as possible.
3c. Next, players may use dice in their scrapyard. The least advanced worker on your player board defines your scrap rate (on the left). You may discard that number of dice from any 1 Scrapyard in order to turn it onto a die of that color with the value you choose and place it in any legal space. You may repeat this as much as you like, and any time you complete a box, advance the worker below it.


Paul Owen said...

Seth, thanks for the opportunity to chop the rules a little. Actually, they look pretty succinct. It will be hard to shorten them by much.

I have a hard time understanding Rule 3c (use of dice in the Scrapyard) though. First of all, I assume from the use of the phrase "their Scrapyard" that each player has his own Scrapyard (i.e. it is not a common Scrapyard to all players).

Second, from Rule 3a, it looks as though the Scrapyard consists of dice that were illegally placed. That implies that a player could deliberately take dice and place them illegally to populate the Scrapyard.

Third, I'm not clear on what the limitation of the "scrap rate" is if "you may repeat this as much as you like." In other words, it seems that I can flood the Scrapyard with dice and then, one by one, convert them from the Scrapyard onto my Player Board wherever I need them in whatever values I need to advance my worker pawn as far as I can.

If you can clarify how the Scrapyard works, I think the rules will be in pretty good shape.

Seth Jaffee said...

Each player has 1 scrapyard for each color. I suppose I should have noted that you may place a die of any color into that color's scrapyard as a legal move!

The Scrap Rate starts at 4-for-1, so you can scrap 4 Blue dice into a Blue-3 (for example). Once you've upgraded each of your workers once, the scrap rate improves to 3-for-1. Upgrading again with each worker and it's still 3-for-1, but upgrade a 3rd time with each and you improve to 2-for-1 scrap rate.

The improved scrap rate is a benefit for even upgrading, but to win you want to 'specialize' in 1 or 2 (depending on which board) columns.