Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rock & Roll revisited (Game Design Attack #4)

I played Rock & Roll at Game Design Attack #4 this weekend, and Tim had a really neat idea of a slightly different sort of structure, making it a bit more like a standard Yahtzee-style press your luck game. I thought of a related way to make sure there was some interaction so the game didn't feel solitary, and after a prototype update I was able to try the new version a couple of times and I think it might be a step in the right direction. The new version is highly thematic as well -- now there are song cards, so instead of scoring individual crowd tokens for as many points as possible, you play a song in order to please as many crowd members as possible. The songs have specific die results in a specific order.

Three of these songs are dealt out in a supply, and you start your turn by rolling 6 dice bearing symbols for Vocals, Drums, Guitar, Bass, Solo, and Gaffe. Gaffes are mistakes, and you are forced to lock those in when they come up. After rolling, you must lock in at least 1 symbol required for the song, and those symbols must be done in order from left to right as you play through the song. At this point if you fail to lock in a symbol required by the song, you must end your turn, and you get a small scoring penalty. However, as long as you did lock in a symbol, you can choose to stop and score, or roll any number of the unlocked dice trying to get the next required symbol.

Of course, you can also use cards to help you. You will start with just 1 card, but you can get more: at the end of your turn, you'll draw a new card for every 2 Gaffes you had. Also, if you are able to complete the entire song, you'll collect a completion bonus, which may be extra points, or perhaps a card.

As long as you don't fail, then you score some points based on the number of dice you were able to lock in, and you take the song and place it in front of you. Any player may either choose to play a new song from the center, or attempt to outperform you on your song. In order to do so, they must lock in more dice than you were able to, and if you were able to complete the song then they must also lock in 1 additional Solo -- if they are to outperform you then they must perform the song with more gusto and flair than you did! At the beginning of your next turn, if nobody has outperformed you on your song, then you place it into your "set list" and save it for potential end game bonus scoring.

A suggestion was made to add something -- I'd call them Record Labels perhaps -- which could act like the nobles in Splendor: an in-game scoring opportunity based on the genres of songs in your set list.

When the supply of crowd tokens (VPs) is exhausted and all players have had an equal number of turns, the game ends and there will be some set collection scoring based on genres of songs in your set list.

I'm excited about this new version, and I hope to play it with a few more groups to see how it goes over.

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