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Subject: Co-op Variant - multiplying monsters with water rising mechanic rss

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Robert R
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I have a mixture of older kids and younger kids. All of them like Disc Duelers. My 6-year-old son, Jack, has no trouble holding his own against me with a few small tweaks. He has the flicking part down and the rules to Disc Duelers are simple enough he caught on in the first few minutes and he remembers them whenever we pick it up again. Since Jack is my youngest, competitive play is great fun with any of my kids. But, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to play this game cooperatively. So on a recent visit to play games with my older brother, we came up with a variant that I would call a good start. As of right now, it's untested.

Synopsis:
An alien creature has invaded the world of Indines. This creature is powerful and has the ability to multiply which has a high potential to overpower anyone trying to fight them in shear numbers. The nations of Indines must work together to save the world from this threat. Unfortunately, these creatures emit a special form of radiation that causes damage to anyone who tries to attack them. There is a rare substance on the planet that can counter the radiation. In fact, this substance also slows the monster's multiplying rate. Scientist found a way to infuse weapons and other gear with this special substance so that the monsters could be hurt without suffering from the radiation. Unfortunately, the substance is exhausted on use. Less of this substance means faster multiplying abilities for the monsters. It is a race to destroy them all before they overrun the world.

Setup:
Place terrain normally based on PvP standard rules. Maximum number of monsters is 2n, where n = # of characters in play. The monsters are represented by standard d6's. Drop the max number of monsters 2 feet above the center of the playing area, then rotate each dice to 3 as their starting health. Then drop item crates according to base item drop rules. Now bring in your characters one at a time, starting from any edge and flicking each one up to two times. Shuffle the item deck and draw three stacks of 2n cards. This represents the "water rises" timer where starting health of monsters equals 3 + (3 - # of remaining item stacks).

NOTES: The item stacks changed to 2n. The setup order might also need to be adjusted if adding the discs last proves to be too easy of a head start. It might also be a good idea to filter the item deck before creating the stacks. The element of luck is welcome, but we don't want that to end the game unfairly. Of course, these things could just be tweaked for difficulty based on the experience and age of the players.

Gameplay:
Play by standard Disc Duelers rules. Players work as a team to destroy the monsters. If a monster is knocked off the table and not killed, the player turn ends and the monster immediately multiplies and both monster dice are dropped in the center of the playing area.

A player turn is the exhaustion of one character, as in the base rules, and that character is unready until all other characters have been activated. If a player turn ever ends without damage to any monster, all monster dice rotate up by 1.

Every time all characters are reset to ready, all monsters rotate up by 1.

If a monster is ever rotated to a 6, it immediately multiplies and is set to the base health according to the item stacks.

Any new monster is dropped in the center of the playing area and is set to base health according to the item stacks.

If a character attacks one or more monsters while holding an item, he does not take radiation damage.

If a character attacks one or more monsters without any items, the radiation damage is equal to all cumulative damage done to monsters during that character's activation. This radiation damage is the same for ranged or melee attacks. Although, it might be fun to toy with the idea of lowering the radiation damage with a ranged attack from a certain distance. Maybe a ranged attack at a cards length is a -1 on radiation damage or you don't suffer radiation at all if the ranged strike was flicked from 1 foot or more away from the target. This might be too easy for anyone using Rukyuk though. But, I guess it does introduce yet another way to tweak difficulty.

If an attack changes the face of the dice, that is the new health of the monster before damage from the strike is resolved. If it lands on 6, it does immediately multiply and then set back to the current base health. I'm not certain how well this will work. It probably depends on the dice and how easily they roll when hit. I liked the idea enough that I want to try it in the initial testing. It adds a chance for a lucky easy kill or a spontaneous multiply when you least expect it. It also encourages careful flicks.

At the end of a player turn, if any damage was done to any number of monsters, the player has to discard one item from the character who caused the damage.

Instead of losing an item at the end of a turn with a successful attack, losing an item after each successful attack seems to make it more tense.

NOTES: Two things I wanted to toy with. One, it would be interesting to add an item passing mechanic. This would either be line of site where a straight line could be drawn from any part of the active player to the disc that has the item you need without passing through any terrain. Or make it more difficult where you have to make a collision that is declared as an item pass in advance. And two, if it turns out too easy, it might be fun to try requiring you to knock the monster off the edge in order to finish it off. The monster would need to be already at one health before falling or the fall wouldn't actually kill it and it would multiply and respawn in the middle of the play area as described above.

Winning/Losing Conditions:
If a monster ever tries to multiply and there are no more monster dice available, the players have lost.

If any character is killed, the game ends and the players have lost.

If at any point the item stacks are depleted, it is likely you will lose since any monster spawned into the game through a multiply or falling off the table now starts at 6 which means it will immediately spawn another monster and another until all monster dice are used which will trigger the top lose condition.

The players win if all monsters are destroyed and no character was killed.

NOTES: According to the win condition, if you die and kill the last monster at the same time, you still lose. But maybe thematically it would be interesting to say that radiation damage is calculated last and the game ends immediately when the last monster is killed. Which allows the players to make that one last sacrificial attack to win the game.

Most of the credit for this initial draft goes to my brother. We also played around with the idea of diffusing a bunch of bombs, but some of the character powers just didn't seem like they worked well with that theme. As I stated at the top of this post, this is untested. I plan on trying it out with my kids and since it's full co-op, it could technically be played solo. Let me know what you think and if you try it, I'd love to see your comments. I think all you really need is a bunch of dice. Maybe wooden dice or at least larger dice would work best.

I just realized that this could actually be a game on it's own, without the World of Indines theme or the Disc Duelers character abilities. It could be themed any way you want. You just need enough wooden discs to represent the number of characters you want in the field. They have to be color coded or have some sort of image on them so you can easily mark damage. You need some sort of terrain. You need wooden cubes or dice that can represent the enemy. And the items cards don't actually have to be able to do anything. They don't even have to be cards. If they are cards, they could have a chance to cause a multiply or maybe even have some helpful benefits at the luck of the draw. This VARIANT is really just an idea for a cooperative dexterity game. Although, I do like many of the rules already existing in Disc Duelers so the final rules to this game would be very derivative. Just thinking out loud, with a red foreground.
 
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Robert R
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Smithfield
Utah
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Play test 1
Characters: Tatsumi, Hepzibah
4 monsters
Using 2n for item cards

Notes: way too easy. Never had a round where I didn't hit a monster. Need to try with monsters all rotating up every round no matter what. Maybe also remove items on successful attack instead of the end of a complete turn.
 
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Robert R
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Play test 2:
Characters: Tatsumi, Hepzibah
Used 2n for water rising
Monsters rotate every time all characters are reset to ready
Items are removed after each successful attack rather than the end of a turn

Notes: Much better! This time it felt tense. Only had two cards left in the third item pile and Hepzibah was one damage away from death. If I had accidentally triggered a monster multiply, I likely would have lost. Something to note here is that I am play testing on a very large table and it's glass. So the distance to cover is hard for two characters and glass surfaces tend to make the dice and item cubes bounce a lot.

I will continue testing with these new rules on different surfaces and sizes. Another thing to try to make it even harder might be to add a monster, if available, every time an item pile is depleted.
 
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