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Using a deck of cards or dice roll with results lists?

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Willem Verheij
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While thinking about the mechanics of my game in the works, I am a bit torn about this so I'll ask what might play better.

The game will allow for various areas to be visited, and while there is a main goal to achieve (which I still need to think of)
I want things to happen in these areas, and I prefer it to be area specific for more immersion.

Cards seem commonly used for this, it does prevent stuff from happening multible times in a row but then again it might make it predicteable when you know which cards where already drawn.

So I am leaning more in favor towards using a D30 or such and a list of possibilities, with the lowest numbers giving the most negative results and the highest numbers the most positive results.

It would keep the full element of surprise since any of the results can happen, and would also take up a lot less box space.
Some nice thematic artwork representing the location could spice up the results list nicely, it could be a little book of several pages since there'd be about 10 regions.

Some results that arent so region specific could appear on multible result lists, like a thief trying to rob you. But it would always be resolved the same way even though that event could be multible times on the list if its a very shady region.

I still need to decide on how I will handle the mechanics of how these events will be passed and how the skills of the characters play into this, but I figured it would be good to decide first how the encounters will be presented to the player.

A card can show more information than a dice results list could after all, or it would get rather messy.

I'd like to hear thoughts from people more experienced with making boardgames though, since I am sure there might be things I am overlooking.

Casamyr
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You could easily shuffle the

You could easily shuffle the card back into the event/encounter deck (for want of a better word). I don' think there is anything wrong with this. The big issue you might have with cards, is that if results are region specific you may require multiple decks of events/encounters for each region.

Willem Verheij
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Indeed

Yes, it would be a lot of decks. And having about 10 decks or so, all of at least 20 cards it can take up quite a lot of room in the box too.

With shuffling and placing all the decks it also adds a bit to setup time.

It might also allow for an easier prototype when not having to make over a hundred cards.

X3M
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You could consider having

You could consider having multiple elements per card.
Than shuffle the card back in after usage.

A simple word with number and/or colour can direct people into an event book.

Squinshee
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What about rolling a couple

What about rolling a couple of d6's, where the combination of each face creates the event? This way you could have a multitude of events without having to roll a d30 (yuck).

Willem Verheij
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possible

I gues thats possible too, but it might overcomplicate things.

Maybe a D20 could be enough though, and maybe a unique D6 could be used as a modifier for the event.

Which could make it harder or easier, it could have symbols instead of numbers. That way no list needs to be checked for that additional dice, just once in the manual to check what the symbols mean which can be made quite obvious.

Or better yet: If there are multible scenarios possible for the game, each scenario could have itw own unique D6 with different modifiers so that the entire game experience gets its own tone.

I'll start with just one scenario though, but I like to keep things open for expansions and more options.

McTeddy
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I'd say be careful on this,

I'd say be careful on this, at least depending on your target audience.

Lookup tables are a completely reasonable solution from a functional standpoint and it is pretty common in wargames. It work's fine and there's nothing wrong with the option.

That said, I know MANY players will not play a game that use tables (Aside from a simple scoring table)

Drawing cards have a physical feeling. Reaching towards that deck... drawing the card... other players watching to see your response. There's no work, no delay between action and reaction, etc.

The majority of players are casual. If they don't get the immediate emotional feedback or they feel the action is tedious, they'll abandon the game quickly.

This isn't to persuade you to use cards, but just to say make sure you know your audience.

Lookup tables work fine for the right players... but cards or immediate results on the dice are probably a better fit for the average gamer.

Willem Verheij
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I gues that is a point, but

I gues that is a point, but maybe part of it can be remedied by dressing up the tables list properly? Drawing a simple card without any graphic might not be that interesting either.

So the tables list could have a small picture next to each event description.

I figure that the thin results booklet with a page for each region along with the D20 would be passed on to the next player in turn, along with a potential additional D6.

Otherwise several regions would have to share a card deck and still it would take up a lot of space in the box.

As it is I have as regions:
-the city.
-three villages that will share the same events.
-farmlands.
-forest.
-deep forest.
-mountains/mines.
-graveyard.
-grasslands.
-swamp.

All these regions have about three locations. The basic idea is that the player first has to draw or roll for an event before they can interact with the location.

The threat level of each region is also different, the farmlands is not that dangerous and its events focus more on helping out the locals but can also have a goblin or bandit raid that you have to stop.
Typically its a low risk and low reward region.

The swamp next to it is filled with goblins and some other critters, so is more dangerous. but also yields more rewards.

theboss.bhg
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RE: I'd say be careful on this,

In order to increase group play, and not let other players drift off while waiting for someone to lookup the results in a table maybe you could have two booklets of tables. One for the number roll, and one for the symbol/color. Then the players to the left/right of whoever is rolling will each lookup the results and read it aloud in a standard format.

_____________________
//Example//
_____________________
The Roll: [Player "C" is in the grasslands and rolls a 'BLUE' '8'.]

Player A (read aloud): "Player "C" is wandering through the vast grasslands in search of three goblin brothers when all of a sudden he..."

Player B (read aloud): "... begins feeling itchy and discovers he has been treading through poison ivy and..."

Player D (read aloud): "...he suffers -1HP/hour!"
_____________________

In this method other players are involved in each encounter and get excited to dish out their portion of the round that they get to see before everyone else. It also reduces the time taken to lookup the results and how much each person must lookup.

- In one booklet there would only be numbers showing a written result.
- In the other booklet there would be a number that has different types of quantitative results.

For Example: The "8" to player "B" would prompt him to read about the physical event, the poison ivy. For player "D" the "8" showed a chart of HEALTH DAMAGE results which may have included symptoms. The "BLUE" resulted in minor damages. Maybe green resulted in no damage and red resulted in a major infection.

If the roll was "BLUE" "19", then now for player "B" the results for "19" may have been that player "C" 'discovered a healing tree'; and for player "D" the "19" shows a chart of HEALTH RECOVERY results and "BLUE" again was minor so he gains '1HP/hour near the tree'. GREEN would have resulted in fruit falling that he could take with him, and RED would have been a gain of 8HP/hour.

For other types of events the number would refer to a different type of quantitative and sometimes qualitative RESULT LIST, and the color/symbol would show which specific result. (# of goblins for a goblin ambush / level of magic required to destroy an object).

This allows both "Result Readers" to not know what the other person is going to say, but still keeps them involved.

-
-
-

It seems like a 'gimme' to use a die roll and a list or table, it would lower costs and reduce space taken like you stated, but I would try to keep it as simple as possible depending on the target audience like "McTeddy" referred to. Just my thoughts on player involvement when introducing result tables.

Squinshee
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Wouldn't players then have to

Wouldn't players then have to pass the booklets?

X3M
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Squinshee wrote:Wouldn't

Squinshee wrote:
Wouldn't players then have to pass the booklets?

As guideline, I keep only 1 page for a look up.

If someone is an attacker, 1 page to look up a certain attack situation.
If someone is a defender, 1 page to look up a certain defend situation.
If someone is a tertiary player, 1 page to look up a certain interaction situation fitting tertiary players.

As soon as you have to go look at the right page. I say this is a no go for the game.

A book often closes when passed to the next person.

So I take my words back of an event book. It should be an event page at tops.

But then again, having a pile of event cards individually. Means that you can pick one and thats it! No looking up to do. Simply sharing the information on that card.

let-off studios
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Willem Verheij wrote:...So

Willem Verheij wrote:
...So the tables list could have a small picture next to each event description... Otherwise several regions would have to share a card deck and still it would take up a lot of space in the box.
I don't think adding artwork to a table is a suitable solution to your fundamental problem. I second McTeddy's cautionary stance. If your target audience is cool with tables, then go with tables. But if your game - and its audience - would be best served by a deck of cards, go with cards. In most cases, dazzling artwork won't conceal - or adequately address - a design issue.

A solution I would suggest is combine two terrain types into a single card back, and have separate sections of the card face for each terrain type. Like one deck could be Farmland/Swamp, and depending on the terrain of the player having the encounter they would refer to the corresponding section of the card.

Personally I would avoid lookup tables unless I was designing an old-skool RPG or something like that.

Squinshee
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A lot of excitement is lost

A lot of excitement is lost when you have a die and chart due to the delay between after rolling the die and then checking a table. The die face should be the excitement. If you can't make that happen, use cards.

Also, don't fall into the trap of thinking you need to design 100+ event cards before your first playtest. It's really tempting to chase that carrot, making more and more, then trying to balance them all. Heck, then you want to make a nice card template for them. Then you want to find artwork. Then after all this work you finally playtest and realize...your game doesn't even need event cards.

Try to make your designs as lean and accessible as possible while minimizing time spent. Rapid iteration is key.

theboss.bhg
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In response to X3M's "Squinshee wrote:Wouldn't"

I thought the point of having the booklets was to CREATE the situations/encounters, not to determine how they played out and not to control combat (attacking/defending).

If that were the case then yes, I strongly disagree with books/tables for every little detail.

But for creating an encounter every once in while when someone stumbles into a new area or spends lots of time in a certain area, then I would say the booklet(s)/table(s) would still be ok.

X3M
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Ehm, no. In most cases you

Ehm, no. In most cases you want a random event (dice roll or pick a card), being linked to a situation (grasslands, theme park).

If I am wrong, sorry. But that is for the main author to decide.
If I confusing am, sorry.

Willem Verheij
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Personly I don't see how it

Personly I don't see how it would be much different in exitement to look at the table or draw a card.

I intend to have the highest rolls be the best thing, and the lowest rolls be the worst thing. Rolling a 1 will yield you the worst situation possible in that region.

So players will know straight away that they are in trouble or not based on their roll, but with the chart right next to them as they roll they'd know straight away how much trouble.
A list of 20 is not that long and a clever design of the chart can make it even easier.

Since the theme is medieval fantasy in which I am pretty much embracing all the clich├ęs, it will likely feel a bit similar to a D&D adventure in the theme, so rolling a D20 might fit with that experience so I think the target audience would not be opposed to it.

I think my target audience would pretty much be those looking for a lighter alternative to D&D that can be finished in a single evening.

There's no leveling, saving throws, character creation or such, but named heroes with a little backstory that ties into the kingdom it takes place in.

let-off studios
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Looks Like Lookup Tables

Willem Verheij wrote:
Personly I don't see how it would be much different in exitement to look at the table or draw a card...I think my target audience would pretty much be those looking for a lighter alternative to D&D that can be finished in a single evening.
Sounds like you've made your choice, then.

Sounds like your game is Talisman with lookup tables. That game is a classic, fits the same audience, and can be done in an evening. I say go for it! Best of success to you. :)

Willem Verheij
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Thank you! Heh I gues I kind

Thank you!

Heh I gues I kind of did make up my mind yes, unless someone can persuade me to change my mind but to me there just seem to be a lot of positive sides to this.

gxnpt
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booklet and dice vs cards

On a cost basis the booklet would probably be cheaper - but how about a colored band on the edges of the pages for quick region reference with 2 card pics and text with dice values per side of a page sequenced by dice values for each region (real quick lookup) and use 2 d10 as percentage dice to roll?

So the "cards" reference would be the final section of the rulebook and colors at the edges of the pages. 50 cards is 25 sides of a page or 12-1/2 pages total for the reference section.

Willem Verheij
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Colored band or such would be

Colored band or such would be good yes, I certainly do want the pages to have different colors and pretty much a background thats in theme with their region.

I think that by going with the booklet it also does free up the possibility to use a deck of cards for something else in the game.

But preferably I will try to keep decks of cards out of the game where possible. I do plan to use quite some tokens to represent health potions, equipment, allies, enemies and such.

A touch of evil is a game my own design shares some similarities with, I have it with all expansions and the storage becomes a huge mess.
Mainly the storage of the 18 or such card decks takes time.
Shuffling them all before starting the game or afterwards, putting them all in the correct place is all stuff that adds to the setup and storage time.

And I would like to keep my game something that can be taken out for spontanious play rather than scheduling it so it can all be ready to play when everyone arrives rather than spend 20 minutes or such setting it all up.

Lords of Waterdeep really impressed me with its slick storage and short setup time. That one does have cards and couldnt work otherwise, but it really makes me strive for such an efficient storage design as well.

Willem Verheij
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Update

I've given it some more thought and I am considering a few small changes..

I think it might work better if I make the standard traveling a bit less dangerous by default, and only make that more threatening in the second stage of the game when the evil that threatens the kingdom is revealed.

Instead of having event lists for regions, it could be limited to a dangerous location within the region.
Some dangerous locations could share the same event list to roll for.
There could be a graveyard and a crypt in different locations, both would use the same list.

The plan is to have three acts for the game:
-Investigation to reveal what evil threatens the land.
-Once revealed, fight this evil and search for its source.
-Destroy the leader/source of evil.

I think I will link an evil/villain to each type of dangerous location. Investigating these places could be vital to discover if thats the source of evil or not.

In the second act once the villain is revealed and some of its minions placed on the board. Where they are placed and how more enter the board could differ for each villain. They will keep spawning more.

In the third act the event list the villain is tied to could have to be rolled for whenever you enter a new area, to represent how the evil has grown. If its the necromancer tied to the undead event list, it would make sense to face those dangers everywhere.

I'd still need to create a mechanic to determine who the villain is though, and I really want this to be revealed during the game instead of knowing it before the game starts. Element of surprise and suspense.

I figure that rolling a 1 on the event list and thus getting the worst result should be one way to determine the linked evil would be the villain, but it shouldnt be the only way. Could be more of a fun unexpected way to trigger the second act very fast by accident.

Maybe a unique investigation token could need to be gathered from each dangerous location type, which could be examined on various places on the board? A dice roll could then show if its the evil or not.

Each investigation token could have its own danger associated with examening it too.

Like for example, you take an old book from the crypt or graveyard.
Then you examine it at one of the specified locations.
A D6 could be rolled for the examination.
1-4 means its a harmless book.
5 could reveal its the book of a dangerous necromancer!
6 could reveal both that its the book of the necromancer, but it also knocks out the hero who examined it.

Each hero could be immune to the negative effect of one type of investigation tokens, allowing them to examine one without immediate danger and thus making them the appointed person to investigate the linked location.

cmain
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You could have roll tables

You could have roll tables printed on cards say each card has 20 options and you have 20 cards just draw a card and roll D20 to see what happens then shuffle it back in the deck. Kind of like how D&D has for creating dungeons and encounters in the DM guide but on cards.

Squinshee
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20 options per card is

20 options per card is overkill. 1d6 would suffice. Keep the severity of outcomes uniform - low rolls bad, high rolls good.

Willem Verheij
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Since there likely will be

Since there likely will be less lists now, it does put the option of having decks of cards back on the table instead of lists.

But then it would just be drawing the card and resolving whats on the card. (a skill test, a battle, finding items, etc.)

About five or six decks would be enough in that case, but I would probably have them reshuffled after each draw and having no discard pile.

But still, lists of 20 results for each region could work just as well and would prevent any cheating with shuffling the cards.

Willem Verheij
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I've been working a lot on

I've been working a lot on the rough sketch of the gameboard, that's really comeing along nicely.

To give personal side objectives, I am considering to have a deck of sidequests that players can take on. The city and the three villages would all get a location where you can pick up sidequests.
You could only have one at a time.

It could give objectives like:
-Defeat goblins.
-Defeat bandits.
-Investigate the crypt.
-Deliver a health potion to a specific location.
-Pay money at a specific location.
-Explore the sea.
-Retrieve the inventory item a thief stole when you looked for a sidequest at a specific location.

The more difficult the sidequest is to complete, the greater the reward.

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