♫ Eric Herman ♫
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I had recently posted a request in this thread asking about more solo dice games with good theme and character, and then thought maybe I should just give it a shot myself to create one in a similar style to that Expedition game. I came up with an idea for an Old West journey kind of thing, and would really appreciate any feedback and input for it. One particular thing I'm looking for is a good title for the game, and also more specific ideas that could work for Events. But any input about any part of the game is certainly welcome.

Here is a direct link for a PDF of the playsheet as it is currently: http://www.erichermanmusic.com/dicegame.pdf You can also get the JPG version from my Gallery (see below). To play, you'll need at least 8 6-sided dice, three of one color and five of another. And ideally, you'd have a couple of d10s and another d6 or two to use for keeping track of resources, but you can also keep track of those on paper or with cubes or coins or whatever.

You should be able to play just from the instructions on the PDF sheet, but below is the current draft of the full rules, which might clarify some things. Please ask if you have any questions. It's still very much a work-in-progress... I've playtested through it a couple times, though, and I like it quite a lot so far. It probably needs some streamlining (the last change I made reduced the total distance from 100 to 80 and the Day target from 50 to 40, and it may need to come down from there, even), but I do like the different choices and elements that are there. In the two games I played, I lost once after rebounding from some close calls and then barely won, scoring 22 points but down to my last person. I especially enjoyed the long stretch between Towns, where I was just barely hanging on at some points but building up some Gold, hoping I could make it to the next Town where I was able to restock somewhat. I do want this to be challenging and something that you're more likely to have trouble finishing, at least at first, so anything that keeps the balance in favor of the game, but still winnable, is what I'm looking for. Most of the decisions are pretty obvious, I'll admit, so any more strategic/tactical elements that can be added would be good.

I'll probably make some custom dice sides for this at some point to give a better graphical representation to the dice choices (although I suppose that might mess up the poker element). I'm also planning on making a deck of cards split between Events, Poker Hands and Items instead of the dice rolls for those things, to give it more variety... any ideas or suggestions for Events would be great. Depicted below is one example I made for an Event/Item/Poker card...

 


Anyway, here's what I've got for now...

DICE GAME PDF

Or copy/print this JPG...

 



------------------------------------------

TITLE NEEDED!


STORY

You are the leader of a posse who has been hired to escort the infamous outlaw, Billy Griggs, from his current location in the town of Pyrite, California, to the courthouse in Reno where he is set to face charges for several crimes committed there in recent years. The preliminary hearing is in 40 days and if Billy is not there in time for that, there is a good chance that his lawyer will see to it that the charges against him are dropped. Certainly, a train would be the fastest method for transporting the criminal, but there have been numerous train robberies as of late, and with Griggs' gang still at large, the threat of a train incident to free Griggs is just too great. So you and your posse must lead Griggs through the outlying California terrain, taking a route off the beaten path whenever possible. However, as you set out and survey the paltry provisions and weapons you have, and the ragtag posse that was assembled to join you, you wonder if perhaps the person who hired you might be working for Griggs and might lead his Gang right to you. Word of a record heat wave that is hitting California doesn't make you feel any better about the journey ahead. But rumors have it that the path you're taking is ripe with untapped gold deposits, so perhaps, if you have any time to do some digging around in the hills and caves, and if you survive the journey, it will have been worth the trouble after all...


TURN SUMMARY

Roll all 8 dice (3 Red and 5 White).
Lock any 5's and 6's on the Red dice.
Lock any other dice you choose.
Roll up to two more times. After third roll, all dice are locked.

Resolve all dice in numerical order, 1's to 6's.
If movement passes Event, resolve that before resolving other dice.
If movement reaches Town, stop at Town. Resolve other dice after visiting Town.

When all dice are resolved, mark off the next Day.

Rinse and repeat until you either lose your entire Posse, run out of Food when everyone needs some, or make it all the way to Reno.



GAMEPLAY

Each turn, you roll three Red dice and five White dice (substitute colors as needed). You get three rolls and can lock as many dice as you want each time. However, any 5's or 6's rolled on the Red dice are immediately locked. You may "unlock" dice and reroll them on a later roll as you wish (other than 5's and 6's rolled on the Red dice). Dice that cannot be used (i.e. 3's less than a full set of three) are wasted.


RESOLVING THE DICE

What you can do each turn depends on what dice are locked after three rolls. Always include the Red dice when determining the total number of dice for 1's, 2's, 3's and 4's. Dice are resolved in numerical order (1's first, etc.).

1 = Move: move one space for each 1

2 = Find Food/Water: receive one Food for every two 2's

3 = Prospect: receive one Gold for every three 3's

4 = Hide/Fight/Shelter/Move: Decide whether to Hide, Fight, Seek Shelter or Move (you may split up any 4's rolled among these choices).
Hide = no Posse lost if number of 4's used for Hiding are equal to or greater than the number of attacking Gang members, but add an extra Day
Fight = reroll each 4 die used to Fight; for every 4-6 rolled disregard one 5 die that was rolled
Seek Shelter = reroll each 4 die used to Seek Shelter; for every 4-6 rolled, disregard one 6 die that was rolled
Move = Move one space for every two 4's used for Movement

5 = The Griggs Gang attacks! (immediately locks when rolled on a Red die): one Gang member attacks for each 5; you may automatically kill one Gang member for each Bullet you discard; each remaining Gang member kills one of your Posse

6 = Extreme Heat (immediately locks when rolled on a Red die): lose one Posse member for each Red 6; lose one Posse member for every two White 6's; you may save Posse members who would be lost by discarding 1 Food per person


STARTING RESOURCES

You start with 5 Food (d10), 3 Gold (pennies), 6 Bullets (d6) and a Posse of 10, including you (d10).


YOUR POSSE

You begin with 9 other people in your Posse, plus yourself. Use a 10 sided die to represent your total Posse. You can regain people for your Posse at Towns and through certain Events, but you can never have more than 10 in your Posse. If you and your Posse are ever killed off entirely, you lose the game. (Note that Billy Griggs is never considered a member of the Posse when counting for Food, etc.)


DAYS

Each turn is considered to be one Day. Some turns may end up costing more Days due to Events or other situations. Count the number of turns/Days as you go. Your goal is to reach your destination within 50 Days.


FOOD

You begin the game with 5 Food. At the end of every 5th Day you must spend one Food per person in your Posse, including you. If you don't have enough Food to feed everyone, you lose as many people as were not fed. If you have no Food left at a food checkpoint, you lose the game. You cannot carry more than 10 Food at a time. If you reach thd final destination and a 5th Day has passed, no Food is required.


EVENTS

One Event card is drawn and resolved at every 10 distance mark (and one at 77). Some Events are "nothing happens" and others have a choice to make or a situation that occurs that causes some kind of difficulty. (Disregard the Items/Poker sections of the cards when drawing for Events.)

For playtesting, until the Event/Item/Poker deck is finished, each time there is an Event, roll a die:
1 = nothing happens
2 = lose EITHER 2 Food, 3 Bullets, 1 Gold, 1 Posse Member or add 1 Day
3 = lose 1 Posse Member
4 = lose 1 Gold (if you have it)
5 = add 1 Day
6 = gain EITHER 2 Food, 3 Bullets, 1 Gold, 3 Movement or 1 Posse Member



TOWNS

You reach Towns at distances of 15, 35 and 55. At each Town, you can buy Items or play Poker in the local saloon. Movement always stops at a Town, even if you have more movement dice available, and whether or not you want to make use of the Items or Poker available at the Town.


ITEMS

Items include horses (travel faster), more bullets, posse members, food, better weapons (kill attacking Gang members easier), maps for better prospecting, etc. To see the available Items at a Town, draw the top card from the deck (disregard the Event/Poker sections of the card). You may buy as many Items as you wish and can afford, or none if you choose. You may buy Items at any time while in a Town (e.g. after playing Poker).

For playtesting, until the Event/Item/Poker deck is finished, the following Items are available at every Town:
2 Food for 1 Gold
Up to 3 Posse Members for 1 Gold each
3 Bullets for 1 Gold (you may spend 2 Gold to get up to 6 Bullets)

Roll a die to see what Special Item is available (only one per Town, reroll if you already have an Item):
1 = Prospecting Map for 2 Gold = Gain one Gold for every two 3's rolled
2 = Pick Axe for 2 Gold = Gain one extra Gold when successfully Prospecting on a turn and one of the 3's is a Red dice
3 = Faster Horses for 2 Gold = Red 1's rolled count as 2 moves
4 = Hunter for 2 Gold = Counts as a Posse member; when Finding Food/Water, any Red 2's count as 2 dice (Hunter is lost if Posse is ever reduced to 1)
5 = Better Rifles for 2 Gold = fighting is successful on rolls of 3-6
6 = Medicine/Bandages for 2 Gold = prevent all Posse loss from a single source, then discard (i.e. Gang attacks and kills 3 Posse members in one turn, discard Medicine/Bandages to prevent that)



POKER

At each Town, you can opt to play Poker. Wager an amount of Gold and roll the best hand you can in three rolls with the White dice, then draw the top card from the Event/item/Poker deck (disregard the Event/Item section of the card) and compare your hand to the hand on the card. Before drawing the card to see what hand you have to beat, you may raise your bet by up to 2 Gold. You win or lose the amount of Gold that you wagered. If there is a tie, start over.

Poker hand rankings:
Five of a Kind > Four of a Kind > Straight > Full House > Three of a Kind > Two Pair > One Pair > High card

For playtesting, until the deck is finished, roll a die to determine the hand you have to beat (after rolling your hand):
1 = High card (1 3 4 5 6)
2 = Two pair (5 5 3 3 2)
3 = Full House (4 4 4 2 2)
4 = Straight (1 2 3 4 5)
5 = Four of a Kind (3 3 3 3 6)
6 = Five of a Kind (4 4 4 4 4)



TRAVELING

You may pass more than one checkpoint on a given day (event and town). If so, resolve them in the order in which they occur. Dice are resolved in numerical order, so 1's happen first (moving) and anything passed while moving is resolved before the other dice are accounted for on that turn.


END OF THE GAME

You must reach the destination (80 distance) in no less than 40 Days or you lose. Or, you can finish past the deadline but you get -10 points for each extra day. Once the distance of 80 is passed, any other dice are disregarded for that turn, but if the Event at 77 is passed with the same turn's movement dice, that must be resolved first before the end is reached.

If you reach your goal within 40 days, you receive 5 Gold in payment. You may sell any special items you have for 1 Gold each.


SCORING

Each Day you arrived ahead of 40 = 5 points
Each remaining Posse member = 3 points
Each Gold you have = 2 points
Each Food you have = 1 point
Every 2 Bullets you have = 1 point
Each Day you arrived after 40 = -10 points


THE MAP

10 event
15 town
20 event
35 town
30 event
40 event
50 event
55 town
60 event
70 event
77 event
80 destination
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Anthony Friedman
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Just some titles I can think of from your description.

Western Justice
Vigilante Justice
The Trial of Billy Griggs
No Train to Reno
One-Way Ticket to Reno
Of Western Courts and Prospects
The Prospects of Billy Griggs
The Prospects of Billy Griggs' Trial
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Pete Belli
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Interesting!

thumbsup

A few random thoughts...

Quote:
EVENTS

One Event card is drawn and resolved at every 10 distance mark (and one at 77). Some Events are "nothing happens" and others have a choice to make or a situation that occurs that causes some kind of difficulty.


Random events that cause a player to lose things are a drag... it might be better to start with fewer items and have the event cards add more stuff. Also, events that are not events ("nothing happens") are another downer... make something happen even it is an extremely minor event.

Title suggestions:

Dry Gulch

Reno 1891 (just kidding)

40 Days To Reno

Print-N-Play Posse

Blazing Dice Tower (OK, kidding again)

Seven Horses, Six Riders (or whatever number matches your game)

Good Luck!






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Robert Wesley
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First to 'mind' were: "Bushwhack!"; then "Lawdog Lament"; or even "Fool's Goal!"; and even something more dramatic with: "The Gold, the Badman, & the Ugly Facts!"
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Anthony Friedman
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Also, depending on how long of a title you want, you could always add a tagline or some such or even combine two titles.

For example, "Western Law and Golden Prospects: The Ballad of Billy Griggs"
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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Thanks for the great suggestions, everyone! So far I'm liking "No Train to Reno" or "40 Days to Reno" the best, but other things are certainly possibilities. One thing I just thought, though, is that I might like to make a series out of this general idea, so this would in essence be the first of the series, in which case, maybe there should be a certain title that would work for the series, and then a subtitle for each individual one. So maybe "The PNP Posse: 40 Days to Reno", or something like that... And then the next one could be "The PNP Posse: The Not-So-Great Train Robbery" or whatever.

pete belli wrote:
Random events that cause a player to lose things are a drag... it might be better to start with fewer items and have the event cards add more stuff. Also, events that are not events ("nothing happens") are another downer... make something happen even it is an extremely minor event.


Well, our tastes may differ, and that's fine, but I tend to prefer things that continually increase the challenge for games like this, so I like when there are things taken away, and in that sense, when there is an Event where nothing happens, that's actually a good thing (I'm thinking of the die roll in LOTR where you love to get the blank side). But ideally there would be a choice involved for most Events, as in the one example where you choose to lose either food, gold, bullets, etc. My thinking for developing a card deck for the Events/Items/Poker would be to offer much more of a variety in that sense, and to have more detailed encounters. The dice options for the Events were just thrown together quickly so I could start playtesting... So maybe, yes, you can gain some special items or benefits through some Events, but there is some kind of choice or challenge, and depending on how that turns out, you might get either a benefit or a detriment.

Anyway, I really appreciate the input. "Nothing happens" is lame, no doubt, especially when you only encounter a handful of events in the game.
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Michael Barlow
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I'll second "No Train to Reno". It has a nice ring to it.

So all you need to play are the dice and the sheet, pencil and eraser? cool
And the d10s are only optionally used to track food and posse members?
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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I have 3 Red and 5 White in the rules because they make a good contrast, but any 3-5 set will do. For the games I playtested I used 5 of the darker dice I got for Arkham Horror and three other random six-siders... It doesn't matter what colors they are as long as the 5 are the same and the other 3 are different from the 5.

Other than that, yeah, everything can be tracked with a pencil and paper, or a Notepad on the computer, and any kind of tokens or cubes or counters would work, too. The d10s are nice for the Posse and Food, though.

 
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Willy Adam
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Great game!
I just playtested it using your pdf... I found it very interesting and I managed a win but that was down to a lot of good luck in the end...

In the 1st third of the game, I kept losing posse members to gang attacks, heat and lack of food. Once I settled with 3 or 4 posse members, it was much more manageable and I think that most games would tend to rest on this balance.
What saved me in the end were the rolls on the Event table. These can be devastating as I discovered early on but for the last 6 events, I rolled in order: 1,1,6,6,6,6! Unreal. I suspect that I would have lost if not for these bonuses.

All in all, it was a fun and tense game. I recommended it to anyone who likes dice challenges and I look forward to see both its own page here on BGG and to try out any new features you might add to it...
Good luck and once again, well done!

Stats for your info:
Finished with 33 pts (Arrived before the end of the 36th day=20pts; 4 posse members=12pts; 0 Gold=0pt; 1 Food=1pt; 1 Bullet=0pt)
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Tony Ackroyd
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"Posse in my Pocket?"

or maybe just:

Posse!

or even

Billy, Don't Be a Hero!
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Randy Cox
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Change the name Pyrite to Rock Ridge and call it

The Sheriff of Rock Ridge
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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"Posse in My Pocket." Nice, but the only thing is it'll be thought of as a variant to ZIMP. Posse! isn't bad, though, and would work well with one of the subtitles for a series thing, as in "Posse!: 40 Days to Reno".

Yeah, the names Pyrite and Reno are completely arbitrary, and anything else could be substituted there, although Reno is kind of nice for that.

Someone elsewhere suggested using "bones" somehow, as it has an Old West flavor and works with the dice thing. Not sure what might work with that, though.
 
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Am I the only one who thinks a "Pocket Posse" is a bad idea? whistle
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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rathmourne wrote:
Great game!
I just playtested it using your pdf... I found it very interesting and I managed a win but that was down to a lot of good luck in the end...

In the 1st third of the game, I kept losing posse members to gang attacks, heat and lack of food. Once I settled with 3 or 4 posse members, it was much more manageable and I think that most games would tend to rest on this balance.
What saved me in the end were the rolls on the Event table. These can be devastating as I discovered early on but for the last 6 events, I rolled in order: 1,1,6,6,6,6! Unreal. I suspect that I would have lost if not for these bonuses.

All in all, it was a fun and tense game. I recommended it to anyone who likes dice challenges and I look forward to see both its own page here on BGG and to try out any new features you might add to it...
Good luck and once again, well done!

Stats for your info:
Finished with 33 pts (Arrived before the end of the 36th day=20pts; 4 posse members=12pts; 0 Gold=0pt; 1 Food=1pt; 1 Bullet=0pt)


Thanks, Willy. I really appreciate the feedback. I knew I liked it from playing it, but until someone else gives it a try and offers feedback, I have no idea if it really works that well outside of my own brain.

In the three games I've played now, there is the point after the 5th day when you have to dish out the food for the first time, and suddenly there is no food left and possibly a few Posse members have left and you're like, oh crap, can I make it to the next town, even? And then finding more food becomes a real necessity from that point on, but you don't necessarily have the time or means to do that so easily. I really like that in a narrative sense, and similar things happen throughout... you might stock up on bullets at the next town and feel like you're safe for a while, but once they're used up, then look out if you get a run of 5's and no 4's to offset them.

It's still not quite where I want it to be, but it's definitely in the ballpark and at least works to play around with for now. One thing I'd like to add or change, in addition to the more detailed Event cards that I mentioned already, is to have some kind of different thing that can be done with the Red dice. I like the idea of the 5's and 6's automatically locking on those... you need that danger inherent in every turn... but in the games I've played it's been extremely rare that I've ever re-rolled any of the Red dice that weren't 5's or 6's, because either they're a good choice to begin with (which is a perfectly good reason not to reroll), or because I don't want to risk getting a 5 or 6. That's also a good reason not to reroll, but I just don't want that to seem so obvious, or I want there to be some reason to compel you, either by necessity or chance of reward, to go for certain rerolls on the Red dice. There are some Red dice effects in one or two of the special items that you can buy at towns, where for example a Red 1 equals two movement instead of one move, but in my games the ability to buy those items is rare... I've bought one in one game, two in one game and none in another game... so you wouldn't necessarily get that kind of item, anyway.

I've thought of maybe changing it so that 5's and 6's on the Red dice only lock on the first roll, so if you get a 5 or 6 on the second roll you can still reroll it on the 3rd roll, which might compel you to reroll for example a Red 3 from your first roll if you were really trying to go for a Red 1 to work with your horses to give you extra movement. Or maybe it would be more thematic to say that Red 5's and 6's only lock on the 2nd or 3rd roll, as they are "closer" then and can't be avoided. The only thing is that seems like a screwy thing to remember and also gives a decided advantage to the player, who might get three Red 6's on their first roll and reroll them all into Red 1's on the second roll. Yeah, I think if anything it should be that they only lock on the first roll. I'll try it that way and see how it goes...

Anyway, I don't want to change or overhaul too much at this point as it seems to work reasonably well as it is, but there still might be some balance issues and anywhere I can add in something that's more of an active decision, that would be good. There are a decent number of decisions in the game... what dice to lock and reroll, when to use bullets, when to lose food or posse for heat, which choice(s) to use your 4's for, what to buy at the towns, when to take a chance playing poker, etc. But most of them seem very obvious at the time, and I'd like to try to incorporate something with a little more thought to it.

Of course, any suggestions are very welcome and appreciated!
 
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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I just had another thought about the Red dice thing... Perhaps you can only lock a Red dice (other than 5 or 6) if you can guarantee its use. In other words, you can always lock a Red 1 and use that to Move 1, but you can only lock a Red 2 if you have a white 2 to go with it to guarantee a Food, and can only lock a Red 3 if you have two white 3's to guarantee a Gold. I kind of like that, but again it's a bit fiddly and doesn't really involve a choice... whereas if the Red 5's and 6's only lock on the first turn, you might decide to reroll some or all of your Red dice if there's a particular number you're going for, knowing that even if you get a 5 or 6 on the 2nd roll you'll have another chance to change that on the 3rd. Yeah, I think that's still better...

I also wonder if there should be some kind of reward if you lock all of your dice before the 3rd roll, which might compel you to do that even if the current dice aren't entirely ideal...
 
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Tony Ripley
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Eric,
Your game is coming together very nicely. I should have my updated "Lukuga River Challenge" ready by this Friday as I targeted.

Names:
go ahead and create a character and then successive games will be like serialized episodes; like old time radio shows.

Marshall Flint: the Grigg's Gang lament
Marshall Flint: the Nevada Express derailed
etc.

Onward!
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Anthony Friedman
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I think Pyrite is a good name, since there's the "chance" of finding gold on the trail. It's a nice subtlety to have the town named after Fool's Gold.

That said, I don't see anything wrong with keeping Pyrite and Reno.
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rolnam wrote:
Eric,
Your game is coming together very nicely. I should have my updated "Lukuga River Challenge" ready by this Friday as I targeted.

Names:
go ahead and create a character and then successive games will be like serialized episodes; like old time radio shows.

Marshall Flint: the Grigg's Gang lament
Marshall Flint: the Nevada Express derailed
etc.

Onward!


Yeah, that's a good idea, too. A lot of good options...

And I wanted to say thanks again, Tony, for inspiring me to try making this game. Lukuga River is really cool and I'm eager to try the next version!
 
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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Stix_Remix wrote:
I think Pyrite is a good name, since there's the "chance" of finding gold on the trail. It's a nice subtlety to have the town named after Fool's Gold.

That said, I don't see anything wrong with keeping Pyrite and Reno.


Well, of course it's not a real name of a town, but yeah, it popped into my head as something that sounded okay and had some relevance to the setting... For now, it's fine, but if there's a title for the game itself that might sound better than "The Pyrite Posse" (which doesn't sound good at all), where the name of the starting town would replace "Pyrite", then that might be cool.

Or, I'm thinking maybe something like "Parker's Posse". The only thing is, during the three games I've played, I believe there has been a time in each game where it's been down to 1 person only. Actually, considering I've lost 2 out of the 3 games, then it's ended up with 0 people twice. Not much of a "posse", eh? So in that sense, maybe keeping it to an individual character as Tony suggested would be best. I'm not crazy about "Marshall Flint", specifically, but something else would probably work well...
 
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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On another forum, someone suggested "The d6 Shooters". I like that a lot. The only thing is, there isn't a lot of shooting in this game, or at least it's almost entirely abstracted with the bullets. I wonder if there's a good way to make combat with the gang members a little bit more of a "shoot-out" kind of thing, without adding too much more complexity. Any ideas?
 
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
United States
West Richland
Washington
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I like elephants. I like how they swing through trees.
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I think I'm going with "The d6 Shooters: Long Road to Reno" for this. And even though I'm still not done with this one and have no idea how the next installment will play, I do have a cool name for that: "The d6 Shooters: Ghost Town Showdown". I do need to see if I can find a way to add some kind of "shootout" or simple combat element to this system, though, if I'm going with that name. That's another reason I like the idea of having Event cards with more detail to them, because one or more of them could involve a shootout that needs to be resolved in some way. But regardless of that, I'm looking at a way for the 5's rolled, where the gang members attack, to be resolved as more of a back-and-forth shootout. I may not change that, though... we'll see. But for now, unless anyone strenuously objects and persuades me otherwise, it's "The d6 Shooters". cool
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
United States
West Richland
Washington
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I like elephants. I like how they swing through trees.
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The d6 Shooters cool

Please play, rate, comment, thumb, etc.
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J Holmes
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All I can say is, wow, that looks so cool. Very very impressive for sure, well done!
 
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