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Subject: WIP - Dice racing game - Phase: playtest ready rss

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mads l. brynnum
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As I was working on my game for the PnP contest – Dice of Arkham - my wife suggested a title for a dice based racing game: Dice of Thunder. The title is too good not to use, so I’ve been thinking about some ideas for how to make it a game.

This is very much still an idea, but feedback is – as always – much appreciated.

Dice of Thunder (WIP)

The basics

Each player has a number of dice – six or seven, most likely. Each turn they are rolled secretly behind a screen and are then used during the turn to accelerate, manouver in a curve, and so on. Each player also has a card or a token showing which positions they currently have in the race. It should be a fast game playable in maybe 20 minutes depending on the number of players.

The goal of the game is to be in pole position when the game ends (doh!) after a certain amount of curves. I’m thinking that being in front should gain you some sort of benefit, but that the important part is who is in front when the race end. So yes, you could probably be in front the entire game, but still lose when overtaken on the last turn.

You play dice on your own car to gain speed, manouver, etc. But the other players can also play dice in reaction to what you do. So you could maybe block another car about to pass you in the formation (remove one of their speed dice or something), use another car’s slipstream to gain speed yourself (change your manouver dice to a speed result), but also increase the distance travelled. That last part is so that you don’t exactly know when you hit the next curve, and just speeding up will be a bit of a gamble. It may sound a bit abstract, but the idea is that you can disrupt each others’ game.

When each player has set their speed, blocked, maybe made it through a curve, you clean up. Maybe you don’t actually change the formation until now, but the important part is that now you have to decide how much of your speed you want to keep for the next turn. And in fact you can’t just take all your speed dice back – if you’re in too high a gear, you can’t just gear down and reduce speed.

The dice
Each dice should generate something like:

1 – 1 speed
2 – 2 speed
3 – 3 speed
4 – Manouver (can be used to block, turn, or follow)
5 - Manouver (can be used to block, turn, or follow)
6 – Brake (On your own turn you can take one or two speed dice in front of you and reroll them)

Maybe each player would also have a special dice with slightly different results and/or some alternative moves (maybe these would even be different from player to player), but that's a thing for the future.

A turn
Who goes first will most likely depend on your position. But maybe just changing the first player and going around the table clockwise could make for some interesting tactical decisions. Anyways, a turn would then look more or less like this:

1 – All players roll their dice secretly.

2 – The first player plays speed dice. Either you can only do this once every turn (so that you have to decide right away how fast to go), maybe it should be done secretly, or maybe you go around the table several times until everybody has passed. In the latter case playing more than one die at a time should give you a benefit. One such benefit could be that you overtake the car in front of you as soon as you have more speed than it.

3 – Now people can play interrupts. This can block a car attempting to pass you and so on, but the most important thing is that you can somehow bring the entire formation closer to the curve. Each curve is a certain number away (probably determined randomly) and either you sacrifice one of your dice for this turn to increase the distance travelled, or maybe it’s just a matter of you collective speed.

4 – Finally you see if you’re at the curve and check to see if each player can make it through. You have to pay a certain amount of manouvers (based on your speed) or else you take damage.

I hope this makes just a bit sense. What I’m aiming for is a game with lots of “oh-shit” and “take that” moments, and a game where every now and then a car will turn into molten debris flying through the air. And with lots of cursing the dice, of course.
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Cat Lord
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Re: WIP - Dice racing game - Phase: idea
For one, I'm sure Tom Cruise approves.

As far as the mechanic, I like the start of what I'm seeing, but the first big question I have is whether or not you can tank your dice until your next turn. How many dice carry over can greatly add to the tactical aspects.
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Levi Mote
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Re: WIP - Dice racing game - Phase: idea
I'm interested enough to subscribe to the thread and remember, "Rubbin' is racin'!"
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mads l. brynnum
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Re: WIP - Dice racing game - Phase: idea
My original idea was that you should roll your dice every turn, but maybe have a reroll or two like in Yahtzee. But the idea of saving one or two dice from turn to turn (if you don't use it, of course) is not bad.

I think I'll try and run a few solo laps, and for now this is what I'm going with:

1. Players roll their five or six dice (seven, I think, will be too many)
2. Lock and reroll dice simultaneously.
3. First player plays one or more speed dice, then next player etc. After each player has played (or passed) you can play interrupts.
4. After all players have passed you check to see if you've hit the curve (sum op the speed people have played).
5. I've you've hit a curve people have to play maneover based on their current speed.
6. Take back dice, maybe keep some, then rinse and repeat.

Some of the things I'll need to consider as I go along are:
- when will the formation change? After each playing of speed dice or only after all players are done?
- what benefit should going fast and leading give you? As it's written, it seems like going slow and going for maneovers until til final lap is the way to go. Especially since maneouvers can also be used for blocking. But maybe each turn being first should gain you speed that counts when people try to overtake you, but not when going into a curve.

Thanks for tuning in, I'll post again as soon as I've tried a few things.
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mads l. brynnum
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Re: WIP - Dice racing game - Phase: idea
I've now tested a few different versions of this and thought I'd post some preliminary rules in case some of your guys are still with me. And if you want to give it a spin, you can find a file with the cards needed here: http://boardgamegeek.com/image/1431296/mads-b

Please note that since I don't have pictures or components to show, this might be a bit hard to follow. But I hope everything makes sense when you get to the end.

Goal of the game
To be in pole position at the end of the final game round.

Number of players
3-5

Playing time
15 minutes

Components
Each player needs six d6 and some sort of screen. You also need a print of the different cards (curve cards, cars, and curve resolution cards) and pen and paper to record distance.

Overview
During the game players play dice to gain speed and/or to block each other. Speed also generates distance, and at a certain distance you hit a curve. Curves reguire a certain speed and/or that you can play manouvers - otherwise you are penalised. After a set number of curves the game ends.

The dice
The dice symbolize the following:

1 - 1 speed
2 - 2 speed
3 - 3 speed
4 - maneuver
5 - maneuver
6 - brake

Setup
Place the cars next to each other facing the same way. At the beginning of the game no car is in pole position. Shuffle a number of curve cards and draw the first one. Then shuffle the curve resolution cards and place them face down.

The game round
Each game round has three phases.

1. Roll dice. Each player secretly rolls his dice behind his screen. You may reroll some or all of your dice a total of two times (like in Yahtzee).

2. Player turns. The player in pole position always has first turn and then you progress clockwise. At the beginning of the game determine a random player. More abouut player turns below.

3. Upkeep. When all players have passed the round ends. Take all your dice back behind your screen and make ready to roll them again. Exception: dice placed on the cars are not taken back behind your screen, but are placed next to your car instead. The player currently in pole position gains the Pole Position token (use a coin or something). Se below how to use that.

Player turns
On your turn you can do either a, b, or c.

A - Play speed.
B - Brake.
C - Pass.

Playing speed
When playing speed pick one or more dice and place them in front of your screen. These can be speed dice or maneuver dice (see below). After this you check to see if you match or exceed the speed of the car in front of you (more about this below). If not, adjust the distance with the amount of speed just played, check to see if you hit a curve (see below) and then move to next player.

Braking
When braking take a brake die and pick one other die placed in front of your screen on a previous turn. Now roll both dice behind your screen. This does not change the position of any car nor does it affect distance.

Passing
If you pass you cannot play speed nor brake on a future until next round. You may still block.

Other concepts

Maneuvers
Maneuvers are used for three different things: to block, to gain extra speed, and to manage a curve.

If you want to use a maneuver die for speed, the player controlling the car just in front of you must have played one or more speed dice in front of his screen. If so you may take a maneuver die and change it to speed matching one of his dice minus one (minimum of one). Your maneuver die now counts as a speed die. You may play as many maneuver and/or speed dice on your turn as you like.

You can block another player if is car is just behind you and he plays enough speed to match or exceed your current speed. If so you may play one or more maneuver(s) removing one of the speed dice just played (your choice). Your used maneuver dice and blocked speed dice are placed to the side of your respective screens.

You also need maneuvers when you hit a curve, but only if your speed is higher than the max speed allowed.

Adjusting the formation
If a car has a speed equal to the car just in front of it (after blocking) you place those two cars next to each other. If a car's speed exceeds that in front of it (after blocking) switch their positions. The next car may then block after which you might have to adjust the formation again. The formation can also be changed after a curve (see below).

Hitting a curve
After a player has played speed (and after blocking) adjust the distance. When the distance equals the distance number on the current curve card, you have a chance of hitting the curve. Draw one curve resolution card for each point of distance greater than the distance number. So if the distance number is 9 and the current distance is 11, you draw two cards. If it's a straight arrow, nothing happens, if it's a curved arrow, you hit the curve.

When hitting a curve every player has to check his speed beginning with the car in pole position. If a car's current speed is equal to or less than the max speed allowed, nothing happens. If not you have to play one maneuver dice for each speed dice you have in front of your screen. So if the max speed is 3 and you have a 1, 1, 2, 3 in front of your screen, you have to play a total of four maneuver dice. For every maneuver dice you don't pay, you have to turn one speed die to the side showing 1. Also, if you can't pay all the reguired maneuvers, you have to place 1 speed die on your car (your choice). This die will not be returned to you next round, but not until the round after representing the strain you've put on your car.

After all players have checked speed and maybe played maneuvers, you check the cars speed and adjust the formation. Put the fastest car in pole position and so on (cars at equal speed are placed next to each other).

Now draw a new curve card and continue the round as normal.

Pole position token
When the game round ends the player in pole position is given the pole position token. At any time next round that token can be used to reroll one die once behind your screen. If two or more players are tied for pole position, noone gains the token.

Winning the game
When the game round ends after passing the final curve, the game ends. The winner is the player in pole position. If two or more players share this position, they share the victory. Or you could give both players 1 point and drive three laps.
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