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Push your luck - single player independent or multi-player aggregate

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MarkD1733's picture
Joined: 07/05/2014

I have a competitive push-your-luck dice rolling game. What are your thoughts about rolling the dice and only your dice count towards your winning the prize, or is it better to have everyone's dice add up to winning the prize. To clarify, here is how it plays:

For example, the "prize" has a minimum threshold of 14 and a "bust" value of 20. That means no one can win that prize unless they roll at least 14, but they lose if they roll 20 or higher.

In my "aggregate" concept, I could have someone roll dice and get 17, at which point they would stop their progress and pass. The next player could then choose to continue to progress the score up and roll a die, hoping to roll a 1 or 2 (for 18 or 19) and win the prize. If they roll a 1, they could choose to stop, and leave the next player with the decision to push their luck and roll another 1 to get 19 and win the prize. While I do not have this rule set up, it was suggested that there could be incremental bonuses for achieving certain levels in that range (e.g., threshold is 14; get 1 currency at 16; get a card at 18; win the prize at 19; bust at 20).

In my "independent" concept, the first player would roll the dice and stop at 17. The next player would roll dice, starting at zero, and hope to reach 18 or better. They must attempt to beat the 17 if they wish to challenge the first player. They may do so, or exhaust all their dice in the round and not beat 17, or possibly bust. The first player either wins that prize or "doesn't lose" because of the busting and gets some points instead.

This minimum and maximum thresholds are varied; some ranges are tighter, some are wider. It is certainly possible to roll all your 8 dice and not meet the minimum.

NOTE: There are cards, variable player powers, and currency that can potentially help with mitigating the randomness of the dice rolls. It's not pure push-your-luck.

Do either of these gameplay mechanisms sound better than the other? Please explain your reasoning if you provide an opinion. Thanks!

Juzek's picture
Joined: 06/19/2017
I vote independant

Ok, so I just commented on your other post, and now I understand this game a little better.

I think having each player with their own dice pool (Though it is more expensive) would make for a better game. You have a clear objective to reach past, and your own dice could be manipulated easier giving you an additional lever.

One player may have bought a D4 which is a little better when trying to make a small change.

have you tried it where the players don't know what the other one has rolled? sounds fun to build up what you think they are up to in one's head, and then have a big reveal moment. Or in the building on each other method, you could have your dice rolled only once, but kept hidden. The players would have to strategize given what they have up their sleeve.

Your building on each other reminds me of Cribbage, and I like that game the building on each other is extra fun there because of all the guessing of what the other player will do or has.

Sorry for the thought vomit, it may be just that. Give us updates on what you try and how it went!

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Rewarding the Edge

If you choose to go aggregate, then I suggest you have a look at Incan Gold. This is one of my favourite games. The designers found a way to implement the following:

  • Reward everyone a little bit, as long as they stay in.
  • As people drop out, rewards increase - but so does the risk.
  • Those who stay at the top and are alone gain the greatest rewards, but are putting themselves at the greatest risk of losing it all.
  • The game becomes a "battle of risk tolerance," where those who succeed are the ones who can shrewdly consider the current situation, and decide to keep going until the odds are completely against them.
  • Knowing when to "stay or go" is the crux of the game, and is the difference between the winners, and the foolhardy.

There's always a tantalizing notion that comes along, when a player says, "Oh, I should have held on for just one more turn."

Meanwhile, they'll just-as-frequently say to themselves, "Whew! I'm glad I got out when I did!"

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I personally prefer the "aggregate" concept...

Rolling based on an opponent's dice rolls sounds more "push-your-luck" than the "Independent" method of play. I don't see the real need to RETRY from zero (0) and roll more dice than needed.

You may want to examine the odds a bit...

For example: When you have 17 ... You only have 3 points before going bust. therefore you will WIN 50% of the time (by rolling 1, 2 or 3). Values 4, 5, 6 will make you go bust...

However at 18 or 19 points, you could use a CUSTOM d6. Instead of a 1-6, do 1-3 (2x each value)... This means you have 2 out of 6 chances of succeeding... (Or 1/3rd of a chance of losing when you are facing 18)... But if you roll the dice at 19 you only have 2 chances out of 6 and therefore 1/3rd of a chance of winning...

It doesn't need to be ALWAYS about "perfect odds" (like 1-6). The custom d6 will add a layer of MORE risk-taking because it's possible...

Just an example of how to SPICE-IT-UP a bit! Hehehe. Cheers!

Note #1: To recap: on 17 use a normal d6, on 18 or 19 use a custom d6 (values 1-3 2x). This could be the RED die. Really pushing-your-luck by rolling that die. With odds more favorable than requiring ANOTHER standard d6...

MarkD1733's picture
Joined: 07/05/2014
interesting comparison for the push your luck

If you choose to go aggregate, then I suggest you have a look at Incan Gold. This is one of my favourite games.

I have played it, and that is an intriguing consideration for my game. The theme of my game that you are ghosts trying to scare out intruders, but you don't want to scare them to death. The original intention was to play it like independently against each other.

But someone had suggested bonuses for going for higher which made me consider the aggregate concept. So, if you contribute to scaring and you all bust (i.e., scare to to death) could be on the hook for some part of the loss. However, if you hold out an stay in, greater reward may await.

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