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Ever seen this mechanic before?

10 replies [Last post]
Joined: 03/27/2014

Hi All!

I've thought up a new mechanic that seems so simple that it HAS to already be in a game somewhere. Here's the gist of my idea:

4 players act as truck loaders who are also thieves. On the table are 6 boxes that act as trucks, each of which can easily hold about 20 dice. Each character has their personal stock of about 7 dice (explained later).

When someone says "Go!" everyone quickly takes a truck, loads it with one of their dice, puts the truck back in the middle, then takes another truck and keeps going until they run out of dice (yes, there is a speed element to this). The dice have various effects like profit numbers, alarms, special abilities, etc.

You must change trucks before loading the same one again, you can look at what is already in the truck when choosing your die to load, and once you choose a truck to load you must put a die in it.

The first player who loads all their dice into the trucks yells "First!" the second to finish yells "Second!" etc. until everyone is out of dice. Now players choose a truck in order of who finished and roll the contents of that truck to get money, abilities, traps, etc. depending on the dice inside and how they roll.

The first player has the advantage of choosing first while the last player has the advantage of having the most info about what is in each truck.

Thoughts? Anyone seen this before? I think I might be on to something...

DifferentName's picture
Joined: 09/08/2013

No, but instead of shouting first (or in addition to it?), I recommend grabbing for numbered tokens like in galaxy trucker. This way, it's clear to everyone who has which token, without any debate about who said first, first.

Edit* It's definitely not the same, but quickly putting things in containers reminds me a little of "Going Going Gone":

Joined: 03/27/2014
That game looks fun! Never

That game looks fun! Never heard of it before.

And yes, I'd totally have a different system for player order getting determined. I also had the idea of a bell like in Pit.

Joined: 07/29/2008
Interesting idea, but I'm not

Interesting idea, but I'm not sure how choosing a truck first would be such an advantage, especially if many of the trucks had the same number of dice? You re-roll all of them anyway to get your points/etc., right? I could be last, but still have the best roll of the truck that was left for me. Or am I missing something? If you roll a "trap" at the end, what do you use that for?

Maybe it would be better to score the current contents of the truck you choose, rather than re-roll everything before scoring? That would make more sense thematically as well. What do you do with the different die faces? Are you collecting sets for points (stuff you are trying to resell)?

And what determines which die you can place in a particular truck? Are there limits, based on what's already there? And if so, how can you catch mistakes, since everyone is playing simultaneously? That's one of the issues with simultaneous speed games--you need to be able to check for mistakes at the end. (Galaxy Trucker was mentioned, and in that game, you must remove any tiles that were wrongly placed).

Does each player have a unique color of dice?

Practical issue: What's to keep the dice in the trucks while they are being grabbed? I can see dice falling out, or changing sides in the truck, if it's 3-D. Would probably have to have individual compartments for each die to keep it in place once it has been loaded.

Joined: 03/27/2014
-There are Alarm dice

-There are Alarm dice available. 2 of the 6 faces show that the Alarm goes off, if you roll one of those sides then you get nothing from that truck. The other dice are low-value money (1-3), high value money (2-5), and Special Ability dice. It's beneficial to know how many high-value dice, Alarms, or certain Special Ability dice are in each truck.

-There is no limit to what kind of die you can place in a truck. As long as everyone places only 1 per load, there's no need to check for mistakes like in Galaxy Trucker.

-Each player has a variety of similar dice and 1 (or 2, in one case) Special Ability die for player roles. I'll explain the roles below.

-The "trucks" are fully enclosed little boxes that are non-transparent. Right now my prototype uses the .14 liter Really Useful Boxes covered in some address labels and colored. They're great because they have a simple latch mechanism on them to keep things from falling out, and they're enclosed so that you only know what's in it when you load it yourself. Players will also roll the dice AFTER the trucks are loaded up, so it's not based on what faces they show inside the truck. The trucks determine WHICH dice you get to roll.

I'll make a separate post for player roles. One second...

Joined: 03/27/2014
Player Roles for truck loading game

Player Roles!!

The Planner - 2 low dice, 2 high dice, 2 alarm dice, 1 special die that lets the owner reroll 1 or 2 dice depending on what face it shows.

The Crooked Cop - 4 low dice, 1 high die, 1 alarm die, 1 special die that forces whoever rolls it to possibly "pay off" the Cop with any 1 value die (50/50 chance).

The Alarm Specialist - 3 low dice, 1 high die, 3 alarm dice, has the ability to disarm 1 alarm. Players can also pay him off to disarm alarms that go off in their own trucks.

The Investor - 1 low die, 4 high dice, 1 alarm die, 1 special die that lets the roller potentially double the value of one of their dice.

The Mafioso - 3 low dice, 1 high die, 2 alarm dice, 1 special die. Whoever gets the special die adds their gains from that turn to the gains of the Mafioso and they split it 50/50. If it's an odd number, the remainder goes to the Mafioso.

The Gambler - 3 low dice, 1 high die, 1 alarm die, 2 special die that are normal d6's of a unique color. If the two players who roll the special dice roll the same number, both of them (and possibly the Gambler) gain that amount.


For clarification, low dice have faces 1,1,2,2,2,3, high dice have faces 2,3,3,4,4,5, and alarms have 2 "caught" faces and 4 that do nothing.

Joined: 03/27/2014

UPDATE: Just playtested 2 games with my fiance last night and it's actually quite a fun game, but obviously would work better with more people.

We played with the Gambler and Investor roles, seemed to work pretty well.

KeeperoftheGate's picture
Joined: 06/19/2013

Sound interesting. Let us know when you Kickstart it.

John Wrot!
Gate Keeper Games

Archimedes42's picture
Joined: 10/15/2014
Why Not Actual Trucks?

First of all, I'd like to say that I really like the mechanic, and it seems like good, solid, fun game. I know that you're just in the prototyping stage, but why have boxes representing trucks? Why not actual trucks (cargo truck style)? Your game doesn't have too many components yet, so the publisher should be able to afford actual truck models. Of course, you would still need your 'lid and latch mechanism'. Just putting it out there...

P.S. I also think that the theme is a little strained. I think that a smuggling theme would be much better suited for the mechanic. Plus, there aren't many good smuggling games out there, in my opinion!

Joined: 06/07/2012
I really like the grab and

I really like the grab and add mechanic. I'm not so sure about all the dice rolling though. Custom dice are expensive and the degree of complexity resulting from the rolling and wotnot maybe too much for a game that is centred upon grab and add chaos.

After reading through the thread I quickly typed this outline out as it occurred to me. It might give you a few ideas.


The 6 trucks are rectangular boxes, 3 cm long, 2cm wide and 2cm tall. Each box has 2 dividers that split the internal area into 3 segments. Wrapped around the boxes are truck graphics and the internals are black – although a top down view of a truck could be on the internal bottom of the boxes.

The trucks are number 1 to 6 by a large number on their rear (tail) section.

The players have balls that are 1cm in diameter. These balls are different colors. Red, green and yellow represent different types of cargo. Blue represents the police, black is associated with screeching tires and white represents broken glass.

Each player has 2 red balls, 2 green balls, 2 yellow balls and 1 each of blue, black and white.

The game also features a number of cards. These cards have a graphic showing a truck outside a gin joint in a landscape orientation. Down the left side are pictures of alcohol bottles in red, green and yellow. Next to each picture is a value number between 1 and 3. Each value is represented once.

So a card could have green 1, red 2 and yellow 3. Another card could have red 1, yellow 2 and green 3. These values represent the price the gin join is prepared to pay for bottles of that type.

Six truck counters for each player, numbered 1 to 6 on one side and featuring an investor hat on the other side.

A 60 second sand timer is used to mark the duration of each round.


The players are moonshine smugglers transporting illegal alcohol to three speak easies.

Set up

3 speak easy cards are drawn from the deck and placed in a line to represent the town. The top card is gin joint 1 and 2 and 3 follow beneath it.

The six trucks are placed in the centre of the table.

Game Play

The players choose 2 of their truck counters and place them to one side. The number should be face down.

The timer us turned over and the players can start grabbing trucks in their own time. Having grabbed a truck a player MUST put one of their balls into one of its compartments. A maximum of 2 balls can be in each compartment. Having added a ball they must immediately return it to the centre of the table.

When the timer runs out the round ends.

The trucks are placed together in a row, with their fronts facing the same direction.

The first compartment, nearest the front of the truck represents the delivery the truck makes to the first speak easy.

The players turn over their tokens to reveal which trucks they invested in.

The first compartment of each truck is considered. This will be relatively quick to do because all the first compartments will line up. The players score the corresponding point value on the top speak easy card for each red, yellow or green ball in the first compartment of the truck.

Any black balls in the compartment represent the screeching tires of a get away. One black ball cancels out one blue ball.

If any compartment in the row features a blue ball that hasn’t been cancelled out by a black ball the shipment was detained by the police and no points are awarded.

If any compartment has a white ball, representing broken glass, then every colored cargo ball in the same compartment (left or right) in the row is discounted from the scoring.

The scores are calculated for the second and third speak easy cards.

The players take back their balls and another round begins.

The first player to score x points is the winner.

Other Thoughts

The truck and ball sizes are merely an example. They have to be double the ball depth so that the balls can’t be viewed when the trucks are in the centre of the table and big enough to contain two balls.

Balls can’t be stacked.

The trucks could be bigger, say 6cm x 4cm x 4cm and the balls 2cm in diameter.

The balls could be cubes or blank colored dice.

The stack of cubes belonging to each player could be hidden from the other players behind a screen or in plain sight. Hiding the cubes will result in a very different game play experience than having them visible.

As Jeff astutely pointed out the possibility of a container toppling in the frenzy is a big concern. If this happens to a truck it will mess things up for everyone in a round. A simple penalty might be enough to illicit careful handling.

If a player topples a truck they have to pay an insurance forfeit to every player invested in that truck. 1 coin for each item of cargo it was carrying that falls out.

Speak easy = gin joint - sorry for the confusion

Joined: 03/27/2014
I've since playtested it a

I've since playtested it a few more times and changed the rules a little here and there. The big change is that player roles are now drafted at the start of each round instead of having one role for the whole game.

Also, the dice you take are now also drafted in small sets. Each player gets 3 Low dice, 1 High die, and then drafts 3 of the remaining dice in the pool. These can be different or similar to the role you chose, your choice.

The roles need a little balancing, but the general game is there. Haven't looked at it in a while since I'm now working on a bidding game :)

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