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advice on generic game supplies for prototyping

3 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/17/2010

I'm not much of a game maker. For me, making a game is a game in itself. I'm looking for what I think is pretty generic game components. Yet they're just odd enough I can't seem to find them anywhere. I thought I'd toss the question here in hopes of picking up a good lead.

* Weighted dice - There's two weighted dice schemes I really like:

d6 {1,1,1,2,2,3}
d12 {1,1,1,2,2,2,2,3,3,3,3,3}

The two weight schemes seem pretty generic to me, yet I can't find them anywhere. I can use regular dice and use a lookup table, but I thought I'd look for existing dice if I can.

* Card/Tiles - I'd like to build what I think is a pretty generic deck. The deck consists of 60 cards, where each card has 3 properties. The first property is one of 3 values, the second property is one of 4 values, and the third property is one of 5 values. Thereby making the deck 3x4x5 = 60 cards (ie: all cards are unique).

This is in contrast to a regular deck of cards where each card has only two properties (ie: suite and rank).

I've had a few substitute idea's. One is to use three identical decks of cards and remove the A,1,2,3,4,5 from each deck. Cards from the first deck, draw a circle around the value. Cards from the second deck, draw a square around the value. Cards from the third deck, put a triangle around the value.

A second idea is to use a Mahjong tile set and take the 1,2,3,4,5 from the three suites. Then differentiate each of the identical 4 tiles by marking them with a heart, spade, diamond, or club.

Does anyone have another good idea? It seems like this type of 60 card deck isn't too odd. The Math driving it seems pretty common and it has many nice features. If this type of deck sounds familiar, please tell me as I'd like to pick one up. It seems like a near ideal deck for exploring new types of card/tile games which is what i'm currently doing. I have no focus on a particular game. Just a fascination to play with this type of deck. Small enough to manage (ie: only 8 more cards than a regular deck), yet the Math driving it has many nice features.

For example: A regular deck only has 13 cards per suite. With this 60 card deck, you have the option of grouping the cards as 15 cards in 4 suites, or 12 cards in 5 suites, or 20 cards in 3 suites. Or games with trump, introduce the concept of an alternate trump suite. Or games where alliances can shift.

I don't have a particular game idea, but I'd like to create a "quality" prototype of such a deck. If the deck proves to have nice features, I'd very much like to create a weighted d12 die that compliments the deck (ie: the 3,4,5 weight scheme). I could see how such a die would fit nicely in games that require random chance.

Lastly, another deck i'm investigating now is a 24 card deck built around the grouping of 2x3x4. Like the 60 card deck, each card would have three properties. Thus providing the groups of 6 cards in 4 suites, 12 cards in 2 suites, or 8 cards in 3 suites. For a card game, such a deck isn't as interesting, but it might have promise for a good tile game as 24 tiles is a whole lot more manageable than 60 tiles.

Any pointers on where I might be able to create a good prototype for these decks? Being so generic, I'm hoping they already exist and I can just start playing with them.

Thanks so much in advance.

Ludomancer's picture
Joined: 06/25/2011
Not 'generic'

There's nothing generic about anything you mentionned. The only generic cards out there are poker decks, and the only generic dice are standard dice. If you can figure out a way to modify a poker deck to work with your concept, you will get to the 'testing' stage must faster.

You can buy blank dice from several providers (check ebay or the internet) and then paint or sticker them with whatever you want.

Joined: 09/17/2010
My request was non-standard,

My request was non-standard, but I don't think it's very unique. I figured such a system/mechanic must have been thought of many times before. I was hoping to leverage someone else's game parts, but as you mentioned, seems my request is anything but generic.

Ironically, my main motivation for the cards was the generic appeal. I liked the ability to create various groupings using the same deck. Not for a specific game, but rather for the ability to create more diverse games.

I'm liking the idea of using a Mahjong tile set to achieve my vision. Mostly because it leverages common suites (ie: circles, characters, bamboos) from Asian games as well as common suites (ie: hearts, diamonds, spades, clubs) of western games. Basically using two classic systems as a base for a new deck. Novel, yet interesting.

As an example of how this new tile set "might" be used, consider Rummy or Mahjong where the object of the game is to create "combinations" or "matches". Three of a kind could be of one suite (ie: three bamboos, three hearts, or three 5's). The 1-5 could also be used in making straights. The basic game is very much played the same as it's classic form. The only difference would be the addition of an extra suite for each card/tile.

Other trick taking games might employ the usage of primary and secondary trump. Imagine a hand where hearts is trump, implying there are 15 trump cards in that round. Then the next hand, someone might declare circles are trump, implying 20 trump cards in that round. One could even say "5's" are trump implying 12 trump in play. I'm not sure how values would be determined in that hand. Just an example of how different groupings could change the dynamics of the cards in a single game. Could be dumb, but it's an interesting thought.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Generic components are not

Generic components are not always easy to find. I cannot even find plastic cubes, or labeled poker chips in my area and that should be relatively common.

So when you are asking for non-common stuff sold as generic components, forget it, it will be impossible to find.

I managed to assemble a lot of generic components by shopping around stores and scavenging "multi-games in one" games. I also made some of them myself. Here is a picture of all that I have so far:

But I still have some things missing, like small cubes, that could be very easy to find, since for example, it could also be used to make necklace, but that I can still not find in stores.

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