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Looking for a more elegant solution than rolling more dice...

15 replies [Last post]
Druski's picture
Joined: 11/21/2014

I am working on a co-operative game. In it, players are crew filling different roles on a starship, and will often need to move to different compartments to repair/deal with intruders/put out fires etc.

Since the opponent is the game itself, I need a mechanic to determine where the latest crisis will strike. The obvious solution is to assign each area a number and roll a die, but there will be more than 6 rooms (likely a max of 18) and I'd prefer to not require the use dice greater than 6 sides (or needing to roll multiple times).

The rooms themselves will fit into various categories (and therefore will already be making use of color-coding), though their arrangement on the board will be unpredictable as they are placed by the players. I have thought about using multiple die rolls (first to determine a room category, then to determine the specific one) but really want to keep things simple.

I already have (too many) decks of cards as well, so making a deck representing rooms and drawing them like a lottery isn't a way I'd like to go either.

In summary, I need a way to have the game itself pick a room; dynamically chosen out of the # of rooms in play (6 at the start, up to 18 or 20 at the end). In a simple way.

Thanks for the help!

radioactivemouse's picture
Joined: 07/08/2013
What about putting the number

What about putting the number of the room with the next crisis on the room with the current crisis? That way it will still be random, but will give a heads up for the team to prepare for the next crisis.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Less Predictable

If you want to go a less-predicatable route than that above, have a deck of micro-size cards, each with a different number on them.

You can reshuffle the cards to restart or when the discard is exhausted, or you can shuffle the discard and place it back on top of the draw deck to simulate that repaired locations are fragile after being damaged and then patched-up again.

You could do the same thing with a pile of chips face-down, or chits in a bag or other container. The underlying concept is the same.

This would be the same card dynamic as you see in Pandemic, so if you're familiar with that game then you will understand what I mean. Instead of cities across the world, it would be rooms within the starship.

Joined: 07/26/2015
Maybe something like the

Maybe something like the omens in betrayal at the house on the hill?
You would need a lookup chart though.

Joined: 12/27/2013
Have you tried to limit the

Have you tried to limit the game because of the dice?
The rooms are color coded, so how about a maximum of six rooms per color on a ship? That'd make randomization a breeze.

Joined: 08/28/2015
Schrodinger's Cat

This is making some assumptions about movement around the board and such, but what if the players at first only receive partial about the crisis. For example, a roll of a single die (with colors corresponding to the room types) lets the crew now that there is a problem in one of the red rooms. Then a player actually has to go to one of the red rooms to check for a problem. So at this point where, specifically, the crisis is starting is undetermined. When player checks a suspect room, there is another binary mechanic (coin flip, specific side of a die) that tells the players if that is where the crisis is. If there is only one room to start with (or only one room left) of the indicated color, the crew knows that that's where the problem is.

This could also add a little tension or something to the game because the crisis could also be advancing slightly every time they make a wrong guess/check as to where it is.

JewellGames's picture
Joined: 06/03/2012
Give the game board a subtle

Give the game board a subtle grid overlay or assign a grid designator (A1, B3, C5, etc.) to each room on the ship.

For 18 locations, use a d6 (A,A,B,B,C,C) and another d6 (1-6). Every turn, roll both dice to determine the current room with a crisis.

Will it always be the same starting 6 rooms that can have the initial crisis?

If so, it'd be easy to make 3 section dice; green, yellow, red that escalate as the game progresses. Green (A,A,A,A,A,A) has the starting section of rooms only. Yellow (A,B,A,B,A,B) branches out to another section of rooms. Red (A,B,C,A,B,C) includes the entire ship.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
I would go with a small deck

I would go with a small deck of cards that is reshuffled every time.

And you can remove a room from this deck, if this is utterly destroyed by the game.

wombat929's picture
Joined: 04/17/2015
have you thought about trying

have you thought about trying for a different theme? "Crew of a starship" is already a pretty well-occupied niche, with Stronghold's SPACE CADETS, CGE's SPACE ALERT and the new Mayfair game FIVE YEAR MISSION. Finding another theme that's similar but slightly different might help your game stand out, and it might also give you some thematic input into the randomization problem.

Just a thought.

Haemmerroid's picture
Joined: 10/30/2013
Most of the solutions

Most of the solutions mentioned above don't cover the fact that you probably want to avoid getting results that aren't in play yet. Rolling dice (maybe one for colour, one for number, which covers 18 rooms) will give you results of rooms that aren't in play. Re-rolling is just annoying. New deck; same problem.

I like radioactivemouse's solution though.

How do you determine what kind of crisis happens? A card with the next crisis could explain the type of crisis and where it happens. Eg A meteor hit in the engine room, meteor coming from east direction, so the 'most' eastern engine room is hit. Or the room with most people in it. No dice, no cards, and it's a possibility to add some extra story to your game.

drktron's picture
Joined: 07/18/2010
Integrate the new crisis

Integrate the new crisis location into one of your existing decks of cards instead of making a new deck. Add a colored icon to indicate the location's category (yellow=engineering, orange=cargo bay, etc.) and also add a cardinal direction to indicate which room within that category. You can use port, starboard, fore, and aft to be more thematic. To break ties (say more than one engineering room is farthest port) you could assign a priority value to each room card in a category. On the crisis card indicate > or <. For example: Crisis- Vole Infestation. Until Vole Infestation is resolved, make a crisis draw each turn. (<) blah blah blah whatever negative thing aninfestation does.

Draw the top card from whatever other deck you put the icons on. It's a yellow port icon, so the voles infested the leftmost cargo hold and the one with a lower priority value if two or more rooms are furthest left.

Functional Robot
Joined: 12/06/2013
To determine Room Type: Put

To determine Room Type:
Put icons on whatever cards your players discard to center (ATTACK! cards or whatever). The icon on the top card of the discard pile associates with with your room types.

Characters can also have an icon. This can be on their character card or on loose tokens handed out at start of game (a good way to adapt if you have fewer than needed players involved). The icon on the last character to take an action gives you your cross choice to determine which of the rooms of that discard-chosen-type are going to host the event.

MarkJindra's picture
Joined: 01/24/2014
Just a thought for 2d6

If you use 2d6 and number your locations as follows you can have 21 total locations. This could drop to 15 if you then have rolling doubles grant some sort of alternate effect (perhaps something positive and you roll again)


Joined: 03/05/2014
How about Tokens in a draw bag?

I think tokens in a bag would work really well for you. You can add rooms easily and you can also easily manipulate the odds of different rooms coming up. It would even let you hit more than one room at once if you wanted.

Joined: 10/20/2015
First off after playing the

First off after playing the game mansion of madness, I love games like this.

first though (unrelated to your question): have you thought about something like have different types of problems. if something goes wrong you flip the board over to show a new image with something different. If its something like fire, you are timed and it can spread to different rooms.

just an idea to help out.

Now lets see if we can solve the problem at hand. You dont want dice and you have too many cards. Im thinking a resource management puzzle eg you are given parts to repair or something and if you use it to repair, how much you use for one objective will greatly change the next objective. if you use too few parts, that room is likely to break again, if you use too much you might not have enough for the next goal.

now for how to choose the areas. welp this is proving more difficult than I though. Something to ponder though, instead of forcing the damage, why not think of it as punishing the players poor choices, eg they navigate into an astroid. so think about it from the perspective of the players not the environment. if that makes sense.

this sounds like a fun idea so I will keep thinking! good luck

Joined: 05/05/2014
You can use a D20 and roll at

You can use a D20 and roll at the moment you have a valid room, cause the maximum is 20 rooms, right?

If you want to do it with D6 dice then you can throw 2 dice (or just one) of different color or in different order to encode a 2-digit number.

When you throw 2 D6 dice you have a maximum of 36 different ordered combinations, you can use this combinations to represent 36 things, maybe 20 rooms and some other things (or you can just leave it void).

But for this case is better to code the unordered combinations. The unordered combinations throwing 2 D6 (combinations with repetition) are 21, as someone pointed before.

Another idea is throw a dice that contain the closest maximum value, by example, if in play they are only 6 rooms or less use a D6, if they are between 6 and 12 use a D12, if they are between 12 and 20 use a D20, etc... I think this is the best option, the faster and clearer.

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