Game Design Status Report #2: Meet the Dice

I have worked a little more on Dice! In! Spaaaaace! The rules are now approaching a semblance of actual rules, and more details are being fleshed out. I can now tell you a little bit more about it.

D!I!S! is a dice-building game in the style of Quarriors, but with some notable differences. For example, unlike Quarriors, it’s set in Spaaaaace.

I don’t care for Quarriors and part of the reason is that, while I’m not a gamer who hates randomness, piling a random die draw on a random die roll is just frustrating. So in D!I!S!, while you start with a set of initial dice and will gradually add to that mix, you aren’t pulling your dice for the turn out at random. Each turn you will choose which six dice you’ll use for that turn out of all the ones you’ve bought. And you can sell back ones you don’t want anymore, not to cull your supply, but to spend the cash on other things. (However, if you sell too many dice, you might get screwed, because they can break.)

The dice represent five parts of your ship: Engines, Lasers, Shields, Cargo, and Sensors. The dice you begin with have three “1”s, an “X”, and two blank faces. A “1” means one success, a blank means no success, and an “X” means a malfunction — that die is broken (can’t be used) until you get it repaired. You can buy upgraded dice that roll a little better, including dice with “2”s on them: double success!

Here are some Shield dice I made this weekend:

I’ve started prototyping dice for a couple of reasons. First, before I get too deep into the rest of the game (which is going to be a lot of work) I need to see if the core mechanic — the dice rolling — is any fun. If it’s not, I need to make it fun or scrap the whole thing. Second, I can do probability math on the dice all day long, but there’s a difference between looking at a statistical breakdown of averages and actually rolling some dice. I wanted to have the dice in my hand and know how those probabilities look and feel, if that makes any sense.

So I think shields will be purple, lasers orange, cargo green, sensors blue, and engines white. How does that sound?

More next week, I hope!

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