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Dice or cards for blasting mechanic?

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 01/20/2011

I have an idea for a game (set collection, press-your-luck, filler) but I'm trying to decide if dice are more suitable or cards. I'm not exactly sure about the theme yet but let's say there is a planet and players are trying to extract natural resources from it by blasting. There are four separate "resource" piles (A, B, C, D) of cards face down on the planet.

Idea #1 (more luck)

Each resource pile has one die associated it with. Each die has X, X, 1, 1, 2, 3 on it. X's mean nothing happens. When you roll a number, you flip that many cards up from the corresponding pile. For example, someone would roll the four dice and X, X, 1, & 2 is the result. You flip over one card from pile A and two cards from pile B. Pile C & D are ignored. The cards themselves have certain natural resources on them and you would get points for collecting sets (maybe some cards would be negative). On a turn, players could roll OR collect resources that have been revealed. Not sure exact structure of round but there would be pressure to grab stuff before others and before pile(s) run out.

Idea #2 (less luck)

Instead of dice, players have cards that determine how many resources are revealed from the four piles. I have two different card-play ideas in mind. First, players would have a face down pile of cards in front of them and during a turn, a player would flip one over to see what cards are revealed from the pile(s). For example, a player would flip over his card and the card would say to flip over three cards from pile B and none from the others. Like the dice format, they could either play a card or take from available resources already revealed. Second, instead of flipping cards in front of them, the cards would be in their hand and they would get to choose which ones to play. I suppose this could be a "more strategic" variant than the first idea.


Joined: 12/01/2010
What are the differences in

What are the differences in the resource piles?

Dralius's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008

The main difference between the two is that cards are not fully random unless you reshuffle the entire deck for each card drawn. If knowing the results ahead of time is a benefit to the player then using the cards in a blind draw would give observant ones an advantage.

Joined: 01/20/2011

I haven't worked out a complete scoring system yet but what I have in mind is collecting sets across each pile. For instance, you need four items, one from each pile to complete a full set for maximum points. You'll still get points for partial sets but the points get higher the more you get, e.g., 1, 3, 6, 10.

In fact, if you have some scoring ideas, I'd be interested in that too.

Ludomancer's picture
Joined: 06/25/2011
Does cost matter?

This comment has nothing to do with your design ideas:

Are you planning on publishing your game for sale, or just using it with your friends?

If you're planning on publishing it, I'd go with cards. Custom dice are very expensive. I found this out while sourcing materials for Gladiators. I had originally planned to include 36 custom dice in the game, when I found out that even at their cheapest, custom dice (from the States) cost $2.40 EACH (assuming all six sides are custom). Technically, you can leave 2 sides blank (for your 'nothing happens' result), which will save you 60c per die, but that's still $1.80 each.

The only way to get custom dice cheaper is to get a ginormous order from China (~50,000). If cost is a factor, use cards.

Joined: 01/20/2011

The game would only have four dice so I would that that wouldn't be a production deal-killer. From a design perspective, I think cards might be more ideal since I could control how many cards get revealed in each deck. When rolling dice, it's possible that some of the resource piles never get flipped if X's keep getting rolled. I think I just need to playtest both ways to see which is more fun. The scoring might be a bit tricky though.

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