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Subject: Game mechanic: dice difference rss

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Colin Reid
Australia
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I thought of a game mechanic, and wondered if anyone's seen it used.

Each player has a stock of dice, laid out in front of them. Through the course of the game, players want to do things and need a certain amount of 'power' to succeed (or perhaps just more power than the opponent). For a power check, you pick one of your dice, make a note of the number on top of it, and roll. After rolling, you put the die back with its new orientation. Your score in the power check is the *difference* between the number it had on top before and the number it has now - so if it was a 5 and is now a 3, you score 2, but if it was a 1 and is now a 6, you score -5.

The point of this:
- player's die rolls are effectively forced to balance out over the course of the game, so players can't complain they got nothing but bad rolls
- players have some control over how much of their 'luck' they want to use in a particular action, but still with a big random element. So if you don't care about the outcome, you roll one of your '1's in the hope of turning it into something more useful for next time. In a do-or-die situation, you'll want to roll one of your '6's.

Here is a very simple game along these lines:

Play with a big bag of dice; ideally, each player has their own rolling area so that players don't lose track of who owns which die. Each player starts with one die with the '1' face up. Thereafter, new dice appear one by one. The new die is rolled (players take it in turns to do this), then players 'fight' for the new die by making a power check as described, with the players deciding in turn order which die of theirs to use. The winner gets to keep the new die with its current orientation; all ties are resolved in favour of the player to choose their die first (to balance out the disadvantage of choosing first). The winner at the end of the game is the player with the largest sum on their dice.
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Sounds like a great idea!
 
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linoleum blownaparte
United States
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Very good idea. Not so sure about having loads of dice, seems like about 3 per player would be all you'd need to have a variety of "luck investment choices."

With 3 dice, the chance of all of them being 5+6 for example is just 4%.
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Philip Migas
United States
Akron
Ohio
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First game sample:
New player (P): “Ok I want to do the move action”
Game explainer (E): “Ok than roll a die to activate the action”
P: “Ok I got a 1”
E: “Now subtract the 1 from what the die said before it was rolled”
P: “What did it say before I rolled?”
E: “I don’t know, you didn’t look at it?”
P: “No you didn’t tell me to remember what it was”
E: “OK let’s say it was a 4. So no 4 minus 1 is 3, so you have a 3.”
P: “No I have a 1.”
E: “No you have 3 points because you subtract what you have with what you rolled.”
P: “But I don’t know what I had before I rolled.”
E: “Yes but we are saying you had a 4 so you can move 3 spaces.”
P: “If I had a 4, than why can’t I just move 4?”
E: “Because now you rolled a 1.”
P: “Can we just play something easy like Monopoly?”
E: “Here I’ll do it.”
 
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Curt Woodard
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This sort of reminds me of Dice: The Evolution, but not quite.

Here is my suggestion for the game mechanic.

* You must have 2 sets of dice, in the case of 3 dice per player, each player has 6 dice. One set of 3 of one color, another set of 3 of another. (We'll say white and red).

* In the beginning, one die of each color is set to 1.

* As you add your dice to your "hand" you roll the white die and then match the rolled face with the red die. So if you roll a 3 on your white die, you turn your red die to 3 as well.

* The red die is considered your "record die" and your white die is your "action die".

* When you "fight" another player, you each roll your action die. The result of your attack is the difference between that roll and your record die. So, if you roll a 6 on your action die and you have a 3 on your record die, you have a -3 score.

* Compare scores, the person with the highest score wins the round.

* The winner returns his action die with the current face still showing and then sets his record die for that action die to match.

* The loser loses a die, loses points, whatever the way you track points/health/etc. is done.

So, this way, it's easy to remember what the score on the die was but you double the number of dice you need. So if you needed 6 dice, you have to have 12 to keep track. Luckily d6s are pretty common and in a bunch of different colors. I got a bunch from a store called 5 Below for about $5.00 (I forget the number of dice, it was more than a handful but sets of 6 dice in several different colors ;)
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Filip W.
Sweden
Linköping
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I've seen similar mechanics used (although not one exactly like this) and they've all had one problem: they're involved. It takes a lot of time to do this and unless it's a central part of the game then those decisions, and that time, is wasted as they're trivial.

Kingsburg does an involved dice mechanic and uses it at its main focus. Even so I find it to be a slow, uninvolving process.

I think that if you want to achieve a similar effect, where the randomness equals out over time, and do it fast and exciting then a cube tower (like in Wallenstein/Shogun) would work much better.
 
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