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Subject: zeppelin dice wars (Aether Captains) rss

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todd sanders
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i've started work on a dice game based on some ideas floating around in my head from other games. this will be a solo zeppelin steampunk style dice game where you have a zeppelin, 6 dice long, and are battling 6 random air pirates. the game viewpoint is top down to the battle.

the 6 dice for your zeppelin will rotate through 4 hit point/damage levels. individual ship sections control attack (with gun range across neighboring dice), defense (crew fortitude) and motive power and the harrier air pirates will have skills in one of those three areas as well.

as your zeppelin sections take on damage you will rotate the dice face down reducing capability (ex. Chunky Fighters) of armament, power to maneuver or crew/captain fortitude.

air pirate dice have various types of ships on each die face, allowing for 36 possible types of ships on the 6 dice. these dice will be rolled for their random attack profile.

all defense and attacks will use 12 sided dice. initial placement (ex. Space Hulk Death Angel genestealer placement) is based on the 12 possible side face placements around the 6 zeppelin dice. in the image example this can mean multiple ships attacking a section off port or starboard.

one captain die, with 6 possible captains act as as a bonus modifier die for the game.

i could see easy expandability to the main zeppelin as well as 2 player possibilities (ex. Wings of War)

the game is over when you defeat all 6 attacking air pirates. you lose if more than half of your ship is holed/destroyed.

the above image is a digital version right now as i work out mechanics/roles etc...
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Gill
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
Sounds interesting so far. How far along in development with the rules and such are you?
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Hank Panethiere
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
Sounds cool...subscribed.
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Kai Bettzieche
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
dumarest123 wrote:
i've started work on a dice game based on some ideas floating around in my head from other games...

Get it? Get it?

It's a ZEPPELIN game .. FLOATING around .. *groan*

Nice idea!

There can never be enough dice games .. roll on!
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todd sanders
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
an unintended pun is pun nonetheless kai

as to the other questions above. the game is in development stages, running parallel with artwork (since i am a graphic designer by day that often happens). i should be able to post a more fleshed out rule system and dice images by the beginning of next week. thanks all for the words of encouragement
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Brian Rayburn
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
Hmm... steampunky... I like. Subscribed as well. Keep us updated, looks like fun.

-Brian
 
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hiruko the goblin
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
schattentanz wrote:

There can never be enough dice games .. roll on!
And there definitely aren't enough Zeppelin games either!
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
Who dosen't love zepplins?
 
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todd sanders
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
tetsuo13 wrote:
schattentanz wrote:

There can never be enough dice games .. roll on!
And there definitely aren't enough Zeppelin games either!

now to work the zombies into the mix (majorly tongue in cheek)
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Leo Zappa
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
dumarest123 wrote:
tetsuo13 wrote:
schattentanz wrote:

There can never be enough dice games .. roll on!
And there definitely aren't enough Zeppelin games either!

now to work the zombies into the mix (majorly tongue in cheek)

and aliens. Alien zombies piloting zeppelins! Man, I'm so there!
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Gill
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
Zombie air pirates! Death from the skies.
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Chris Fee
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No fair! They're using brains against us! We removed our brains to make room for guns and explosives!
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
Armydillo978 wrote:
Zombie air pirates! Death from the skies.
So if the zombie air pirates are attacking, The zeppelins must be piloted by robot monkey ninjas.

Greatest game EVAR.
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Celina
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
manyslayer wrote:
Armydillo978 wrote:
Zombie air pirates! Death from the skies.
So if the zombie air pirates are attacking, The zeppelins must be piloted by robot monkey ninjas.

Greatest game EVAR.:p

I don't know, steampunk alone does it for me.

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Lucius Cornelius
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
Celinashope wrote:

No "hooters" reference yet? I'm impressed, gentlemen! wow
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Christopher
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
This looks interesting, and as has been said before: There cannot be to many Solo Dice Games!

Will it be PnP?

Looking forward to more info and/or playtesting files
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Gill
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
manyslayer wrote:
... The zeppelins must be piloted by robot monkey ninjas.

Greatest game EVAR.

With poop flinging cannons?
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todd sanders
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
fleshed out ruleset and new image files will be posted in the next day or two. thanks to everyone for their enthusiasm. working on the captains' bonuses right now
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Jason Shintaku
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
Armydillo978 wrote:
Zombie air pirates! Death from the skies.

So that means they fly around searching for..."Planes! Planes!"

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todd sanders
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
UPDATE2: these rules are now superceded by the ones on the next page


UPDATE: i enlarged all number circles to make the easier to read, and finished the other air pirates. new artwork is below. the image file is also larger so you can see the detail on the dice faces better. just click on the plus magnifying glass to see a big version

also since this is a steampunk world, it is coal, wind and steam powered so the zombie strike and the steamraven are both gliders. no propellers



i am pleased to present an initial set of rules, and artwork is moving along as well.

still have to align everything so people can PnP build the dice, and then start doing playtesting in earnest. but for now you all can read through everything, relating it to the artwork and offer comments. not that the final rule set will provide visual examples of all symbols, setup, adjacencies and such. the faces on each side of the zeppelin die sections read top to bottom.

i use 1" wooden dice from michael's craft store to build all my dice. the dice faces are sized to be slighty smaller than 1". print them on whatever stock paper you like (i use photo paper) and glue them on to the dice.

the images of the crew are sadly placeholders since they were designed by weta workshop - http://www.drgrordborts.com/ - and as much as i'd love to use them i can't in good conscience. (ok i have reversed my position on this. i will use this artwork, its really too fine and adds alot of theme color but since this is a PnP game i will heavily credit WETA everywhere, and if they end up having an issue i will change it)

some things i do like very much include the rotation of the air pirate dice as you deal them damage, i like this effect of them seeming to spin or reorient in air space. i also like the visual quality of seeing your zeppelin take damage. you zombie lovers will note i did work the zombies in.

ok onto the new graphics and rules:




zeppelin dice wars: an aether-ial assault solitaire dice game

items needed
6 dice for your zeppelin
6 air pirate dice
1 crew bonus die
1 12-sided d&d style die

the game is a solo dice game. you play the crew of the worthy vessel 'HMS Valiant' on patrol against vicious air pirates.
to win you must destroy a squadron of 6 air pirates, each represented by a die.
you lose if 4 sections of your ship are rotated to the black cross (shown in the lower left or right corner), due to damage sustained.

the dice:

zeppelin:
your zeppelin consists of 6 dice, numbered 1 through 6, there are 4 die faces for each ship section (with the 2 on the ends showing a cross section through the ship), these sections will rotate down as your ship takes on damage (indicated by explosion icons). as the dice faces rotate - attack, defense, repair and movement rolls will be harder to make

4 of your ship sections (marked 1, 2, 4, and 5) are gun emplacements and are used to attack the air pirates. they are designated with a red circle and a number, small black numbered circles are gun ranges used during your attack

1 of your ship sections (marked 3) is the command deck and controls repairs. it is designed with a yellow circle and a number

1 of your ship sections (marked 6) is the engine and is used to move your ship. it is designated with a green circle and a number

all ship sections also have a blue circle and a number, this is the defense value of each section.

during the course of the game you will be rolling a d12 and checking it against these colored circles with numbers. if the d12 value is higher than the value in the colored circle your roll is successful. as you will notice, when your ship starts to take on damage, these rolls are increasingly harder to make, though your crew members may offer a bonus to these rolls.

air pirates:
there are 6 types of air pirates you may encounter, these will be determined during the initial set up. each air pirate has a red circle and number for its attack value as well as a set of small black hit point numbers surrounding it. each air pirate also has a red triangle used for initial orientation.

crew:
there are 6 types of crew members, each allows a particular bonus during a round, with the exception of the first round! air pirates always start off with a sneak attack and surprise your crew.

d12:
your 12 sided die is used to position the air pirates during set up and used to make attack, defense, movement and repair rolls. (and why a d12? well i like d12s and they get little d&d love, so i am using them)




initial setup:

place the 6 ship dice in a row with the 6 numbers in the lower left or right corners oriented towards you with the dice in order left to right (marked 1-6). this represents your zeppelin.

roll the 6 air pirate dice to see what squadron of air pirates you will fight.
next roll a d12 to position each air pirate die. there are 12 possible positions the air pirates can strike, 6 portside, 6 starboard.
the upper side of zeppelin die 1 is position (1) and counting clockwise around the dice faces, the lower side of zeppelin die 1 is position (12). roll the d12 and position the air pirate dice, one by one with the red triangle facing your zeppelin. during this part of the setup several air pirates may be attacking from the same position. if this is the case stack the air pirate dice behind each other in a vertical row. these positions will be important later for gun ranges.


play:
the round consists of 4 phases

1. air pirate attack and your defense
2. movement or attack
3. repair
4. crew assignments



1. air pirate attack and your defense

the villainous air pirates always attack first during this phase of the round. air pirates always attack the section of the ship they are adjacent to. air pirates stacked behind each other also make an attack to the adjacent ship section. the diplomat allows you to choose one air pirate who will not attack during this round.

roll the d12 for each air pirate going clockwise around the zeppelin and check the value against the attack number of the air pirate (the number inside the red circle) if it is lower than this red number or a tie it is not a successful attack. if it is higher, the attack is successful. next roll a d12 again for the particular ship section needed to be defended (the steam welder allows a +2 bonus to this die roll). if the roll value is higher than the blue defense value your defenses hold and no damage is incurred. if the roll value is less than or equal to the blue defense number your defense has failed, rotate the die one quarter turn to the next die face (you can always check which face to rotate to by the number of explosions indicated. if one explosion is showing, rotate the die to 2 explosions, etc...) to show the new damage.



2. movement or attack

you may now decide to move your ship or attack the air pirates. you may not do both during this phase unless indicated by the lieutenant.

moving allows you to bring your guns into range or to fly damaged ship sections out of range of an air pirate's attack. movement may take you out of range of one or more air pirates. if this is the case leave all air pirate dice in their respective positions, you will have to move back in order to engage them. they will not be able to attack you either. however you may not move more than 2 dice positions out of range of the furthest air pirate die from you.

if you decide to move, roll a d12 and if the value is higher than the number in the green circle on ship section 6 you may move your entire ship to the left or to the right one die position. the tactician can add a +1 value to this roll.

if you decide to attack roll a d12 for each gun emplacement (the small black numbered circles on ship sections 1, 2, 4 and 5). the small black number indicate the range of the guns, either laterally along the sides of your zeppelin. each gun fires only once during a round but multiple guns may be used to attack the same air pirate target. the captain can add a +2 to your attack roll. compare this d12 value to the red number indicated on the ship section to see if it is successful.

(in our example gun emplacement die 2 has a gun range of 3 on its starboard and port sides, this means it can hit an air pirate adjacent to die 1, 3 or 4, or a range outward to any stacked air pirates, so die 2 could hit the air pirate behind the one adjacent to die 3 as well)

port guns can only reach air pirates on the port side, and starboard guns can only reach those air pirates on the starboard side. as your ships takes on damage you will notice the gun range decreases and you may also lose a gun completely on one side of your ship.

if your attack is successful against an air pirate, roll a d12 and divide by 3, rounding down for your damage value for that gun's attack. rotate the air pirate die clockwise to the next lowest hit point number, one point for each point of damage you have given to the air pirate. (note when first positioning your enemy craft you will have oriented the red triangle so that it points towards your zeppelin, showing the highest hit point value). if the air pirate's hit points go below 1, that craft has been destroyed and your job has gotten a bit easier. if multiple air pirates are stacked vertically adjacent to each other, move the next air pirate down so it is adjacent to your zeppelin.



3. repair

you may now try and repair damaged sections of your ship.

roll a d12 and if this value is higher than the number in the yellow circle on ship section 3 you may rotate a section of your ship of your choice up one damage level (i.e. 2 explosion to 1 explosion, etc..), repairing it. the engineer allows you to repair one additional ship section of your choice during this phase.



4. crew assignments

roll the crew die to see what crew member can offer bonuses next round.


repeat the phases of each round in order until you destroy all the air pirates or die in the attempt. good luck.

_________________________________________

and now a few notes on my thoughts on the rules and the game.

playtesting will balance some of the ship section numbers for attack, defense, move and repair. i was basically trying for a good balance of achievable rolls as long as your ship remains undamaged. but until i try out a series of games i dont know if these rolls are too hard or too easy to make or beat.

i tried to make all phases do the same type of roll: roll the d12, compare the number on the section to see if it higher. this way you do not need any charts or tables, everything is right in front of you.

i think the loss of gun emplacements as you take on damage, as well as their decreasing range, work well with the context of the game, as does your loss of mobility. your ship is a ponderous behemoth so it can't ever move very far from the air pirates. if i did not have the bit about no more than 2 dice positions away a player could just move out of range, completely repair the ship and then move back fully re-armed. this game is all about the heat of battle and snap decisions made. as you lose guns you may need to move your ship left or right to bring guns into range and protect damaged sections of the ship.

the 6, or perhaps more types of air pirates (i have 36 die faces to work with for the initial setup) will have different attack levels as well as hit point values assigned to them. both they and the zeppelins, i think, have a great possibility of expansions. you could have a longer zeppelin with more guns, have to defeat more air pirates, or even waves of them, a game where you have to defend a cargo hold, or even have a 2 player game where two zeppelins come midship and battle it out. i definitely want to explore some other zeppelin configurations and swappable ship sections.

artwork-wise i am still looking to turn the dial up on the steampunk imagery and would welcome any suggestions to that effect. or if anyone sees any rule possibilities for piling on more theme i am all for them. my plan is to come up with 6 different pirate ship classes each with a steampunk theme name and artwork for the base game.

luckwise, yes its rolling dice and comparing values, the initial setup has a luck based component for the air pirates you will have to fight. i think these things are both fine. this is a dice game, not a high strategy game, through there are some decisions to make about moving or attacking, what areas of your ship to defend and so on...

so my patient and supportive commenters, have at it. let me know what you think.



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Brian Rayburn
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
The rotating dice for damage kind of reminds me of Diceland OGRE, which I greatly enjoy. I also like the mechanic of rolling the Pirate dice to determine the starting attacking force. Definitely want to give this one a try. And good job on the graphics, they capture the feel of what I was thinking the game would be like. Let's see more!

-Brian
 
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todd sanders
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
new changes to the artwork and rule set above. its been a fun evening of building all this and working bugs in the rules out. looking forward to group comments.

one question for the masses, as far as PnP construction goes do you all want a cross shaped set of dice you'll cut, fold and tape into a cube or do you want rows and columns of dice faces to cut out and glue onto wooden cubes. i prefer the wooden cube option because i like things made out of wood but i am open to what the community wants.

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Hank Panethiere
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
dumarest123 wrote:
new changes to the artwork and rule set above. its been a fun evening of building all this and working bugs in the rules out. looking forward to group comments.

one question for the masses, as far as PnP construction goes do you all want a cross shaped set of dice you'll cut, fold and tape into a cube or do you want rows and columns of dice faces to cut out and glue onto wooden cubes. i prefer the wooden cube option because i like things made out of wood but i am open to what the community wants.


Columns of faces to glue on cubes thumbsup
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Tom Shields
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
Here here on the rows to cut 'n paste onto wooden cubes.
(Really nice work!)
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Kevin B. Smith
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
Looks great so far. Lots of really good details. Here are my thoughts...

I love the physical manifestation of the zep. As soon as you can, please post a photo of a game in progress. It was hard for me to visualize how it all fit together at first. Eventually you'll want lots of examples in the rules.

The front/back ends are very clever visually. At first I was surprised that pirates couldn't attack there, but I see why. Maybe you can explain it away in the rules that there are HUGE guns fore and aft, so no sane pirate would come at you from those directions. Something like that.

It's not a theme I'm particularly interested in, but I think it works. The mechanics seem to fit well with the theme, which is important to me.

I like the simple D12 success rolls. The crew members sound good.

I'm a bit concerned that the game could have a runaway winner problem. Once damage accumulates, it could spin downhill quickly. Or once you start knocking off pirates, it could become a walk in the park. Playtesting should refute or confirm this.

It seems a bit odd that you could pull away from the pirates and make leisurely repairs. I would like to see them try to come toward you. Maybe a die roll against your engines?

In case someone wants to make paper dice, you might want to create an alternate sheet with the sides in a standard "t" configuration.

If I get a chance, I'll see if I can write up a very simple computer version of the game. I did that for Epidemic Express and has been invaluable for rapid playtesting. I can get through games 2-5x faster than rolling actual dice, and I can't accidentally break a rule. Plus I end up with a record of the game that I can review later, and can use as the basis of a session report.
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todd sanders
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Re: zeppelin dice wars
thanks kevin, really productive comments. yes now that i have it at this stage i can build a copy and test it. i will take photos explaining each stage as well to help everyone visualize.

i will probably end up doing both dice layouts yes. easy enough in InDesign to rearrange the faces.

as to pulling away well you can only pull away a maximum of 2 spaces in one direction or another so the repairs are more on the fly in my mind (in my narrative thought you get a air current break and pull a slight bit ahead of the attackers, but they soon catch up again). its really a way to get a vulnerable area of the ship slightly out of range of the attack fleet. but since you can either move OR attack in a round (unless you roll the lieutenant, your aide de camp right hand man, who can be anywhere and everywhere) you have a choice to make.

i think the simple d12 works well too, and i like there are 12 dice + a d12 + a role die, somehow it is very neat and tidy to me.

and yes i thought about the front and back sections of the zeppelin and attacking there and such, visually to me the game is just more tidy with action happening broadsides. i like your idea though of the story part, the front of the ship is heavily armored and not worth attacking and the back kicks up such an unholy cloud of coal smoke and boiling steam, no pirate in his right mind would dare fly there to attack.

if you want to run some computer simulations that would be really generous. thanks
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