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Why use one mechanic when another works just as well?

11 replies [Last post]
Joined: 02/01/2013

***Mechanic: Roll six custom dice. Select three dice. Purchase three tokens based on corresponding dice.***

My dice rolling game wouldn't be a dice rolling game without dice. But in playing I have discovered that removing the dice and just leaving the tokens works just as well.

You see, instead of rolling dice and then purchasing/playing the corresponding token, I could just flip the tokens over (or put them in a bag) and then just pull them out at random. It would replace a phase (the dice rolling phase) with a chit-pull phase and completely remove the need for dice.

But dice are fun! or is chit-pulling just as fun?
But dice are expensive! But chit-pulling (to me) is not as fun.
But you get the same result! But it's a less fun (to me) means to an end.

Would you replace a mechanic just to shave cost on a game?
Would you replace a mechanic just to shave time in a game?

Note: Play testing has been super positive to the dice rolling aspects of the game. Dice can be super fun!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
My game

In my game I am using 5 dice which are either to be rolled or used as counters. So you can play card a and then roll a dice or wait 3 turns and use a dice as a counter.

It was the simplest way of keeping track of depletion turns!

RGaffney's picture
Joined: 09/26/2011
Is there a third option?

Is there a third option? What's more fun than dice?

Joined: 04/08/2012
What about coins?

It may not be fun, but you could use coins to see the out come? Pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters. Each denomination of the obverse and reverse side has an outcome. A head and tail. A hit. A dogde, a miss. Critical damage, weak point on a monster?

Joined: 04/08/2012
This coin idea just gave me an idea.

Just thought of this idea for the coin mechanic. A retro theme science fiction space adventure 50's coin game? Anything out there something like this idea? If not, I'll work on something tonight.

Joined: 04/08/2012
Sorry Silas,

I should of put that coin game idea in new game idea thread. Been a weird day for me today. Sorry for over posting your original post. I will make a new thread for that game ideas. Peace.

Joined: 04/30/2013
you make an interesting arguement

you make an interesting arguement between simplicity and overall experience, which can make for a rabbit hole arguement but ill save that for another thread if it comes about

it will depend on the depth of your playtests so far, mainly who you playtest with, because you will only know when you playtest with an unfamiliar crowd

it will also depend on how deptermined you are on using dice, afterall design is as much of fulfiling customer demands as fulfiling your own wishes of what your game is to be like

personally, i am not fond of dice at all, maybe im just wierd, but i find it irritating to have to throw them, and the noise they make, losing them, and how it leads into a dependency on its randomness. so probably not the person to ask about using dice, but ill try to relate to the point of replacing or ditching a mechanic you like

if someone asked me to edit my current card game, saying it be much more fun with a board and some dice, i would outright say no. i had a goal of portability in my game, restricting it to cards alone, i wanted the game to be easily carried around, and setup time to be quick and simple, my conviction to that goal is strong and absolute

questions to ask related to your goals
so what are your reasons for using dice? what is your conviction to using them? how strong is it? etc

questions to ask related to pracicality
does your public agree with your view? does it lead to decision problems in the game? is the experience hindered without dice? etc

thats all i can provide, hope you come to a final decision

why didnt you just edit your first reply?

Joined: 02/01/2013

Excellent questions.

And you're right, I ought to ask outside of my current pool of play testers.

Joined: 07/12/2012
The key difference

I see a key difference between rolling dice, then choosing three out of the six versus just pulling out three tokens from a bag: You get to choose which dice you want to use.

Other than that, they are mathematically the same - the only difference is the physical action involved - you are either rolling dice or pulling from a bag. And quite frankly, one is not significantly cooler than the other in a way that should make you choose one or the other.

But I would try it with a different group of people just to see how they feel about it.

Or, they could pull six tokens and then have to choose 3 - that then becomes the same as choosing three out of six dice.

SLiV's picture
Joined: 10/21/2011
They're not the same.

Well, I'd say that the two mechanics are not interchangeable at all. Definitely not from a mathematical standpoint.

First off, if you throw 6 dice and then pick 3, you are able to steer your 3 tokens in a direction you want. Perhaps you won't get exactly the combo you need, but most of the time you'll be able to get at least 2 out of the 3 fire emblems you need to summon an Imp (or whatever the tokens are).

Beyond that, rolling 3 dice and picking those tokens is not the same as picking 3 random tokens, not mathematically anyway. Unless tokens are returned immediately each turn, the 'bag of tokens' contains a finite assortment of tokens. If you were to draw a lot of, say, red tokens, the amount of red tokens remaining in the bag decreases, which also decreases the chance of picking red tokens in a subsequent turn. Whereas with dice, if you throw six 6's, then the chance of throwing six 6's in the next turn is *exactly* the same.

But I agree, in the grand scheme of things, they might both work and have similar effects.

Personally, I really like the idea of picking X out of Y random elements. It's a nice merger of randomness and strategy; perhaps a false sense of strategy, but I don't think that's a bad thing. Unless your playtesters complain that the game is too sluggish because of the dice rolling, or your production costs are too high because of the added dice, I wouldn't see a need to remove your mechanic.

Joined: 07/11/2012
If all the dice are being

If all the dice are being used for is to allocate tokens then yeah, get rid of the dice.however if the dice had alternative uses then that might be interesting. For example if you could choose to use the dice to grab tokens, or perhaps instead use their totals to gather coins/gold or perform other actions.the. You have a dilemma between the tokens and some other need. Much more interesting.

Joined: 02/01/2013
" or perhaps instead use

" or perhaps instead use their totals to gather coins/gold or perform other actions.the. "

That would be neat! What about selling what you roll to your opponents in the event they don't roll what they need, thus instituting a mechanic of selling (auction). I like the way that would go.

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