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Subject: Comments on the first draft of my rules? rss

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David Somerville
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Hi! I'm working on a dice-placement mountain-climbing game of certain death called Die Trying.

I'd love it if you'd take a look at my rules and let me know what you think! All edits and input welcome!

Rulebook: http://smrvl.com/bgg/dietrying-rules.pdf
PNP files (for context): http://smrvl.com/bgg/dietrying-pnp.pdf

(The only disclaimer I'll add is that I'm a graphic designer by trade, so I intentionally left illustrations/fancy design off the rulesheet so I could focus on the copy. Once the language is clear, I'll add in example illustrations, flavor, art, etc.)
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B C Z
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Am I a hiker? Or am I climber?

How are mountain cards oriented?
* Do I get to pick when I place them?
* Buried in the rules is that I'm moving vertically (4 rows to cross), but not if I get to pick from the 2 possible orientations of that card.

What are those feet symbols on the mountain cards?
* Are those meant to be "trails"?
* Perhaps instead...
** Green Circles
** Blue Squares
** Red Triangles
** Black Diamonds
** "X" events
... and green circles are 'free' movement.

Please explain why in the starting equipment...
1 campfire == 2 picks == 3 ropes
In other words, what strategic/balancing is in this choice?

The word "Rock" is mentioned exactly two times:
* Rock cannot be traversed without equipment. To move your hiker out of it, you must spend a rope or a pick, or burn a die.
* Pick tokens act as free movements. Spend 1 pick by move through a space with any kind of terrain (including rocks events), disregarding their contents and moving your hiker one space in any direction.

Terrains need icons in the rules.

Are "Rocks" the black squares? If so, one presumes they cannot be entered willfully. Except you'd think a "pick" would allow that, but Picks indicate they can be used to free-pass "any kind of terrain (including rock events)" and do not say "any kind of terrain (including rocks)". Or do you mean "any kind of terrain (including rocks *OR* events)".

So... if Picks can be used to cross black squares willfully, and picks|rope|burn can be used to *exit* a Rock entered due to an event card (like "shortcut"), then that's the difference in equipment types. But it's not clear in the rules that that's what's happening.

What currency is used to pay for Pathfinder ($6)? The word "Pay" does not appear in the rules.

What is this "buying equipment" that the "Expert Trader" card refers to? Does it mean repair? Who am I trading with? Why are they all the way up this mountain? (The rules mention the word "buy" 0 times.)

Can Yeti Coat/Climbing Gloves be combined?

Is Jetpack a single use? If so, where does it go once used? If not, how does it come back? Will it ever come back? Is it appropriate in an otherwise fairly realistic game?

What player choices are there?
* Which dice to bank
* Which dice to use / path to take
Primarily, decisions seem to be made "at camp", just as you reveal the next mountain card, and if I'm not mistaken, you'll either know:
1/ you're going to make it across with what you have
2/ you're not going to make it unless you risk the Event
So in essence, what your actual decision is on each mountain is "am I risking the event"?

What player interaction is there?
* I literally detect *none*. It looks like two players is 2 full prints of the game, each of us doing their own thing, and doing nothing to interact with the opponent.

Why are events location based (and thus avoidable if possible)?

-----

The most important questions when I first look at a game are:
What are the meaningful decisions?
This seems like it will have some as you plan your path across each card - though I believe that each card is either "solvable" or "not" when at the camp location, if you can avoid the red "X" spaces.

What is the player interaction?
In this case, I see precious little.

I recommend trying to decide if you're making a solo experience or a multiplayer one, and stick to that.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Nice game!

Like Byron, I think the game sounds more like hiking than climbing. You can probably emphasize the theme with proper artwork, however.

The game also reminded me of a game I made for a 24 hr challenge. Completely different rules and mechanics ... but the "roll dice and then move across to another card" is the common link.

[Final-PNP-Jan2013-24hr] Drill-to-the-Core (Solitaire, Dice)

You may want to consider the hex grid movement I used there. Then again, it might make forward movement too easy.
 
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Stormtower wrote:
Like Byron, I think the game sounds more like hiking than climbing. You can probably emphasize the theme with proper artwork, however.


I don't carry rope or picks when I hike, but I expect I would if I were climbing.
 
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Marc Missildine
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looks like a cool little game!

One thing that seems missing:
Some of the cards indicate a 'buying phase', yet in the rulebook, there is no 'buy' action, nor any method to acquire currency to buy anything, nor any prices for anything. Maybe those are just old cards?


secondly, you allow a starting choice of 3 ropes, but there are only 3 rope tokens included with the game (as indicated in the components section). Are the other players then out of luck, or do you need to include 12 rope tokens in case all 4 players choose that starting option?
(ninja edit... WOOPS, didn't realize that you include those components for EACH PLAYER. i see that now.)
You could probably cut down on productions costs by making everything a shared resource. Including 28 custom dice will certainly be quite pricey, let alone the costs for cards/tokens.

So if there are different decks for each player, are the players climbing different mountains? Not sure why we all wouldn't be climbing the same mountain.
 
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David Somerville
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byronczimmer wrote:
Am I a hiker? Or am I climber?

I'm ignorant enough that I hadn't known the difference. You're a climber. I'll make that change.

byronczimmer wrote:
How are mountain cards oriented?
* Do I get to pick when I place them?
* Buried in the rules is that I'm moving vertically (4 rows to cross), but not if I get to pick from the 2 possible orientations of that card.

Great point, I'll add that! You must flip it and position it vertically.

byronczimmer wrote:
What are those feet symbols on the mountain cards?
* Are those meant to be "trails"?
* Perhaps instead...
** Green Circles
** Blue Squares
** Red Triangles
** Black Diamonds
** "X" events
... and green circles are 'free' movement.

Those are trails. I'll add a graphic showing which terrain is which.

byronczimmer wrote:
Please explain why in the starting equipment...
1 campfire == 2 picks == 3 ropes
In other words, what strategic/balancing is in this choice?

Campfires are amazing, because they let you re-roll your dice and will save your life 9 times out of 10. Picks are great because they let you move through any kind of space without spending a die. Ropes are okay because they'll help you when you don't have the right die but can't get you out of real trouble. The prices reflect that scale.

byronczimmer wrote:
The word "Rock" is mentioned exactly two times:
* Rock cannot be traversed without equipment. To move your hiker out of it, you must spend a rope or a pick, or burn a die.
* Pick tokens act as free movements. Spend 1 pick by move through a space with any kind of terrain (including rocks events), disregarding their contents and moving your hiker one space in any direction.

Terrains need icons in the rules.

Are "Rocks" the black squares? If so, one presumes they cannot be entered willfully. Except you'd think a "pick" would allow that, but Picks indicate they can be used to free-pass "any kind of terrain (including rock events)" and do not say "any kind of terrain (including rocks)". Or do you mean "any kind of terrain (including rocks *OR* events)".

Agreed that terrains need icons in the rules. I'll clarify this in the rules, but you can move INTO any kind of terrain with any die. It's moving OUT OF terrain that requires equipment or extra effort. And you're right, I did mean "OR," thanks for that catch!

byronczimmer wrote:
So... if Picks can be used to cross black squares willfully, and picks|rope|burn can be used to *exit* a Rock entered due to an event card (like "shortcut"), then that's the difference in equipment types. But it's not clear in the rules that that's what's happening.

Got it, I'll clarify that.

byronczimmer wrote:
What currency is used to pay for Pathfinder ($6)? The word "Pay" does not appear in the rules.

Whoops, good catch. I'll need to update. Originally "repair" was "buy" and "energy" was "dollars," but it didn't make sense that you'd have nifty little shops all the way up a mountain. I'll tweak the card text to say "6 energy."

byronczimmer wrote:
What is this "buying equipment" that the "Expert Trader" card refers to? Does it mean repair? Who am I trading with? Why are they all the way up this mountain? (The rules mention the word "buy" 0 times.)

You got it... it's an accidental leftover from the earlier version of Repair. That's what I get for uploading PNP sets before coffee.

byronczimmer wrote:
Can Yeti Coat/Climbing Gloves be combined?

Is Jetpack a single use? If so, where does it go once used? If not, how does it come back? Will it ever come back? Is it appropriate in an otherwise fairly realistic game?

I think the equipment probably needs another pass, to answer all of these questions.

byronczimmer wrote:
What player choices are there?
* Which dice to bank
* Which dice to use / path to take
Primarily, decisions seem to be made "at camp", just as you reveal the next mountain card, and if I'm not mistaken, you'll either know:
1/ you're going to make it across with what you have
2/ you're not going to make it unless you risk the Event
So in essence, what your actual decision is on each mountain is "am I risking the event"?

It's mostly about risking the event and solving the puzzle of how to combine dice optimally. It's a light game, for sure.

byronczimmer wrote:
What player interaction is there?
* I literally detect *none*. It looks like two players is 2 full prints of the game, each of us doing their own thing, and doing nothing to interact with the opponent.

That's true. There's VERY mild player interaction in the "Shared Slope" variation, but still not much. This was originally developed as a solo game, and may need some rethinking to make meaningful player interaction possible.

byronczimmer wrote:
Why are events location based (and thus avoidable if possible)?

I had thought of it as "questionable/uncertain terrain" or "weather," which you could try and climb around. My logic for making it avoidable was that some of it is good and some bad, so going towards it becomes a decision/desperation act, which seemed to me to give the player more agency in an otherwise very light game. But what d you think?

-----

byronczimmer wrote:
The most important questions when I first look at a game are:
What are the meaningful decisions?
This seems like it will have some as you plan your path across each card - though I believe that each card is either "solvable" or "not" when at the camp location, if you can avoid the red "X" spaces.

What is the player interaction?
In this case, I see precious little.

I recommend trying to decide if you're making a solo experience or a multiplayer one, and stick to that.

All three of these are excellent points, and may actually mutually resolve! I wonder if the opportunity for player interaction involves making the game less solvable from camp... allowing players to mess with each other's dice, equipment, terrain, etc. That bears a lot of thinking on...

This is HUGELY HELPFUL feedback!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to go through the rules and comment. I don't take it for granted at all, and urgently need this kind of help to turn the game into something real!
 
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David Somerville
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Stormtower wrote:
Nice game!

Like Byron, I think the game sounds more like hiking than climbing. You can probably emphasize the theme with proper artwork, however.

You're both right, it really does need to be switched to climber.

Stormtower wrote:
The game also reminded me of a game I made for a 24 hr challenge. Completely different rules and mechanics ... but the "roll dice and then move across to another card" is the common link.

[Final-PNP-Jan2013-24hr] Drill-to-the-Core (Solitaire, Dice)

You may want to consider the hex grid movement I used there. Then again, it might make forward movement too easy.

Oh, cool, I'll check it out! Thanks!!
 
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David Somerville
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byronczimmer wrote:
Stormtower wrote:
Like Byron, I think the game sounds more like hiking than climbing. You can probably emphasize the theme with proper artwork, however.


I don't carry rope or picks when I hike, but I expect I would if I were climbing.

Climbing it is!
 
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David Somerville
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jmissild123 wrote:
looks like a cool little game!

One thing that seems missing:
Some of the cards indicate a 'buying phase', yet in the rulebook, there is no 'buy' action, nor any method to acquire currency to buy anything, nor any prices for anything. Maybe those are just old cards?

Thanks! Yeah, those are old language... it should be "repair" and "energy." I'll make the change ASAP!

jmissild123 wrote:
You could probably cut down on productions costs by making everything a shared resource. Including 28 custom dice will certainly be quite pricey, let alone the costs for cards/tokens.

That's a great point, and may help with the existing lack of player interaction. I'll look into that.

jmissild123 wrote:
So if there are different decks for each player, are the players climbing different mountains? Not sure why we all wouldn't be climbing the same mountain.

My biggest reason was because you'd have to be sitting side by side or playing on a turntable. But I do have a variation for that. Can you think of any ways to make this work? Ideally, I'd love to have everyone be sharing the mountain!
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Multiplayer suggestion:

everyone starts on the same card.

One card is marked as "the summit", and is shuffled into the bottom X cards of the deck. The goal is to reach the summit (or die trying)...

... but maybe the "reach the next card" requirement for survival can be dropped. In which case, you can lay out the entire deck (face down) on the table, defining the limits of the mountain you're climbing.


I'm thinking that players who are in the "lead" will suffer slightly because they just never know what the next new card has.

Meanwhile, those who lag behind will benefit from seeing what lies ahead of them.
 
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