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How to handle a "Doomsday Track"

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questccg
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I'm working on an Investigative Game and one of the current challenges is the "Doomsday Track". For those who don't know what this is, it is a record of some kind of timing where things go BAD or in my case the Investigators all LOSE the game. We call it a Track because it's usually numbered from 0 to X or from X to 0.

In my case the "Doomsday Track" is 0 to 12 ... When it reaches 12, the criminal escapes and all of the Investigators lose the game. Simple enough, right?!

Where I am having trouble with is how to INCREMENT the TRACK.

So traveling around the board requires 3 dice: 1d8 + 2d6s (1-5 + ???).

Some of my earlier ideas are:

1. 2d6s (1-5 + 0 = Dagger). If you roll DOUBLE DAGGERS = +1 Doomsday Track.

The problem with this is that the odds of ROLLING a PAIR of DAGGERS is 2.78% (less than 3%)... That is TOO LOW if there are 12 Track values... Well you get the picture.

2. 1d6 (1-5 + 0 = Dagger) + (1-5 + 0 = ???). If you roll the DAGGER = +1 Doomsday Track.

This is where I am AT currently. 1/6 = 16.67% seems a bit HIGH. And I don't know what to put on the 2nd d6 die.

What I am thinking is the "???" is something to OFFSET the DAGGER. So it's LESS than 16.67% ... Maybe about 2.78% LESS meaning around 13.89%... chance of incrementing the "Doomsday Track".

***

I guess my question is: "What should the ??? symbol be?"
And what happens when you ROLL it with a number on the OTHER die (1-5)??

Thoughts/Ideas/Questions/Comments all welcome!

questccg
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Other alternatives

If you have another method by which you feel would be an appropriate method by which to have the "Doomsday Track" increment, please do feel free to share with us your thoughts!

***

BUT ... Getting back to the "???" Symbol. We have:

1. DAGGER + "???" = IDK what the effect is but no increment of the Doomsday Track.

2. DAGGER + "1-5" = Doomsday Track Increments by +1.

3. "???" + "1-5" = IDK what this does either?!

4. "1-5" + "1-5" = Normal Travelling.

If we could clarify the SYMBOL and its behavior ... That would be much appreciated. Cheers!

Note #1: Point #1 could be an APB towards some kind of plausible Criminal Activity... The player may travel to ANY adjacent position (no escalation either). Player's choice.

Point #3 could be simply 2x Multiplier "1-5". So you roll a 5 ... 2x 5 = 10. Like a RUSH manoeuvre (Alert). Same goes with other values (all multiplied by 2x).

And the symbol would be a Police Car Light (from what I have ATM)!

What are your own thoughts on these ideas???

Fri
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Roll of 3 or less for the 2d6s

Could the terror track go up when the the total of the d6s is 2 or 3? I calculate those odds as 3/36 or 8.33% perhaps a thematic tie-in would be the investigators were to slow to respond.

Could you tie the terror track going up to when a criminal gets away with their crime? This makes sense to me thematically. Like this city will just eventually be overrun by crime. I do not have enough details to figure out how it would work mechanically.

Feel free to disregard use or improve upon.

Good luck with your game.

terzamossa
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Hello

In what kind of way would you like the mechanic to affect players?
Do you want them to travel less towards the end game for fear of rolling a dagger?
If this is just a randomizer, then you could have it inside cards or other elements, while if it is for time limitation you could consider just moving one step every turn.

Directly answering your question, the standard "dagger enemy" would be a shield, but I fail to see the thematic sense of blocking a murder that you can't see. Maybe it would make more sense that you have a "clue" symbol (a magnifying glass?) and you can decide if spending it to cancel the dagger (warn the victim) or get some resource (draw an additional card if there are cards, roll again if it's mostly related on movement).

You are talking about percentages and probabilities but you fixed the days to 12 already...shouldn't they be changed according to the number of players to buffer the odds of rolling daggers etc? Or maybe there are other effects? I guess if 4 players take exactly half time as 2 players to solve the case, then it is fine having double speed on the doomsday tracker etc.

questccg
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Well I must admit...

I do have some special requirement for the dice. Namely I would WANT only value 1 to 5 on custom 2d6s. Why? Because it ties in "nicely" with the travel mechanic.

Let me explain.

So each card has 4 Cartesian positions: North, South, West and East.

Then there are 4 combined position: North-West, North-East, South-West, South-East.

The 4 Cartesian positions are on the Location (Game Tiles). And have TRAVEL "Value" (1 to 5). The combined positions allow "diagonal travel" but are an addition of the two Cartesian positions.

Example: South = 3 and East = 2. South-East = 3 + 2 = 5.

The d8 Directional Die, when rolled gives sometimes several options. Like if you roll "NE" (North-East). This means that you can move in 3 different positions: North, East and North-East.

What matters next are the Travel Dice (as in the Example above).

Example: "NE", 2 and 4. This means that "North + 4" or "East + 4" or "North-East + 6" are the three possible travel destinations.

This mechanic allows more "flexibility" when moving Investigators around the city (5 x 5 grid of locations).

***

All that to explain WHY(?) I wanted 1 to 5 values on each Custom D6. Values 1 to 5 work real "nicely" with the locations.

Fri wrote:
Could you tie the terror track going up to when a criminal gets away with their crime? This makes sense to me thematically. Like this city will just eventually be overrun by crime.

The investigators are trying to solve ONE (1) crime in particular. Once enough "clues" have been gathered, the "crime" is revealed to all of the players and then the 2nd Phase of the game begins.

This 2nd Phase (The Manhunt) is an "escalated" version of the 1st Phase. Think something like Pandemic when the break-outs start to be more prominent and players must hurry to make vaccines.

The "Doomsday" Track in the 1st Phase is setting the bar for the 2nd Phase. Meaning, the odds are during most (if not all), the "Doomsday" Track will not trigger the END of the game BEFORE the 2nd Phase.

What it will do is make the 2nd Phase HARDER.

***

So to recap, there is one (1) crime trying to be solved, the perpetrator is trying to escape the city and has "12 hours" to flee. Investigators have 12 or less hours to capture the criminal and put him in jail.

questccg
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Some additional thoughts

terzamossa wrote:
If this is just a randomizer, then you could have it inside cards or other elements, while if it is for time limitation you could consider just moving one step every turn.

That would make the track TOO LONG and would tie in directly the number of players playing the game. But I do believe that I have seen games that do this...

***

In my game the whole game is played within "12 hours". The Investigators have at most "12 hours" to solve the case and capture the perpetrator. And in some cases there are witnesses to protect, or an accomplice that also needs to be apprehended. It depends on the exact nature of the "crime". And there are a total of 27 different "crimes" which are all different in the 2nd Phase of the game.

terzamossa wrote:
Do you want them to travel less towards the end game for fear of rolling a dagger?

It's an ESCALATION mechanic. If you've ever played "Pandemic" you will understand that the pressure increases as the Investigators start sharing "clues" to the "crime"... Each step closer to capturing the criminal means that with each roll of the dice, the criminal may get to be one step closer to escaping!

***

The DAGGER is just a symbol representing the "criminal" and serves as a way to increment the "Doomsday" Track. I think the "POLICE LIGHT" will serve as the 2nd symbol representing the "Investigators" and offsets the probabilities (odds of rolling an +1 Increment).

The 2x Multiplier will be a "+5 Travel" bonus instead. I like this better because 2x 1 = 2. 1 +5 = 6. Better odds for more ALERT travel. So it's the best possible roll for the Investigators. I revised this after some additional thought.

So IF you roll the "POLICE LIGHT" + a value "1 to 5", this means you roll a 6 to 10 (+5 Bonus)... Meaning that the Investigators have been on ALERT this turn.

Something thematic like that. And when you ROLL a DAGGER and a POLICE LIGHT, it's a "APB" (All-Points Bulletin) meaning you may move ANY Investigator to the LOCATION of your choosing...

That too is very thematic also... HIGH ALERT (APB)!

***

Let me know if you have additional comments/concerns/ideas you wish to share with me. Cheers!

let-off studios
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Fuzzy Dice

As you describe it, I'm not necessarily convinced that players can't blame losing the game on crap dice results. Are you okay with this situation?

If you don't want players to be able to lay complete blame for their loss on the game itself, I suggest you find some way for players to either ignore or manipulate the dice results. Maybe clues they collect can increase a later dice throw's result by X, or double it, or flip the die (so a 1 becomes a 6), and so on.

The lantern/??? result may allow the player to choose a token that details one way to manipulate a future dice result. Or each player may have a dice-manipulation ability, and rolling the lantern/??? provides them with a recharge of their ability after it's been used.

Fri
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Choose two "dagger numbers"

Choose two numbers that are "dagger numbers". Then when a dagger number and a dagger are rolled or two daggers are rolled your terror track goes up. This will result in the terror track going up 13.89% percent of the time. In the chart below I have chose 3 and 4 as the "dagger numbers". Cells that are highlighted will result in the terror track increasing.

  D
⚀⚀ ⚁⚀ ⚂⚀ ⚃⚀ ⚄⚀ D⚀
⚀⚁ ⚁⚁ ⚂⚁ ⚃⚁ ⚄⚁ D⚁
⚀⚂ ⚁⚂ ⚂⚂ ⚃⚂ ⚄⚂ D⚂
⚀⚃ ⚁⚃ ⚂⚃ ⚃⚃ ⚄⚃ D⚃
⚀⚄ ⚁⚄ ⚂⚄ ⚃⚄ ⚄⚄ D⚄
D ⚀D ⚁D ⚂D ⚃D ⚄D DD

questccg
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Flaming Dice

let-off studios wrote:
As you describe it, I'm not necessarily convinced that players can't blame losing the game on crap dice results. Are you okay with this situation?

Well at some point the game needs to END. I realize that poor (or unlucky) dice rolls could negatively impact the game and its resolution. BUT... while the 1st Phase of the game is gathering clues about the "crime", the 2nd Phase is about "sharing" said information.

Here's the deal... This is not a cooperative game. It's a competitive game so in the 2nd Phase ... while you share information, it comes at a movement price. The player who is asked to reveal a "clue" to EVERYONE, makes the decision of what location is open to reveal the NEXT "clue".

So that's the competitive side. While all Investigators get to see and know the "shared" intelligence... Who is in control of how the information is received is a bit of a tug-of-war. More like coopetition.

While you can BLAME a player for a POOR dice roll. You can also BLAME a player who placed the next clue marker TOO FAR away and requiring too many dice rolls...

***

I get your point about feeling angst toward the dice rolls. But the game has to end at some point. So if it's a couple bad rolls... That's what it is. But also some scenarios are stacked AGAINST the "Investigators". For example when there are Gang Members around the city or escaped Convicts from Prison... Or protecting a witness from a hired Hitman.

Sometimes the odds are NOT in your favor and winning is very unlikely.

That's the thing about this game: don't expect to win ALL the time. Some games you just don't have enough time (Doomsday Track), others there are too little patrol cars (Police Tokens) and sometimes you can't protect that eye witness or capture the Accessory to Murder.

***

Lastly I wanted to add that Investigator are competing against each other to get their lion-share of clues. The more you collect, the better the odds that you will be the one solving the crime. But there is no guarantee because the opponents might target YOUR pool of clues. Which means that YOU get 0% advancement... That's also the coopetive mechanic which makes that it sucks to be you!

I'm still working on the DESIGN. At this point, I'll take note that some kind of DICE manipulation might be an "option".

Keep you all posted on how this design "evolves"! Cheers.

questccg
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Choose your own value!

Fri wrote:
Choose two numbers that are "dagger numbers".

Your percentage is EXACTLY correct. However with 5 out of 36 possibilities (5/36). Those 5 come from DAGGER + "1 to 5". So the exact same probability with a bit simpler rolling (13.89%).

D + 1, D + 2, D + 3, D + 4, D + 5 = (5/36) = 13.89%

I too agree this is a more acceptable result. Cheers!

Because the "other" dagger is the COPS... So there is only one (1) die that you risk incrementing the "Doomsday" Track. But I definitely agree with the essence of what you are suggesting.

  P
⚀⚀ ⚁⚀ ⚂⚀ ⚃⚀ ⚄⚀ P⚀
⚀⚁ ⚁⚁ ⚂⚁ ⚃⚁ ⚄⚁ P⚁
⚀⚂ ⚁⚂ ⚂⚂ ⚃⚂ ⚄⚂ P⚂
⚀⚃ ⚁⚃ ⚂⚃ ⚃⚃ ⚄⚃ P⚃
⚀⚄ ⚁⚄ ⚂⚄ ⚃⚄ ⚄⚄ P⚄
D ⚀D ⚁D ⚂D ⚃D ⚄D PD

questccg
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Not to ignore the plain fact

Either way, which ever way you want the DICE to be chosen to increment the Doomsday Track... As "@let-off studios" suggests, will bring about perhaps some bad "tension" or feelings of betrayal when it comes to some UNLUCKY dice rolls.

And that's what needs to be playtested to see HOW it fares... Is it a bunch of unlucky rolls or maybe just a couple...

I guess some playtesting once the prototype is ready will be in order!

Cheers.

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