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Sorry!/Parchisi/Trouble But with theme, (more) strategy, and different races

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Tbone
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I went into the Dollar Store the other day and found the game Parchisi. Basically its like Sorry with dice. You roll the die, move your pawns equal to the value, get all pawns home to win. Simple.

What sparked my imagination though was Parchisi had this mechanic where if you had two or more pawns on the same space it would create a blockade, preventing any pawns from passing. That was cool!

So I started brainstorming and decided I wanted to start messing around.

Objective:

Your race amongst many others are racing in droves to obtain the secrets of the center of the universe.

To win, your race must place three units on the middle of the universe space before the other races do.

Turn Structure:

1). Roll two die
2). Activate special command if you roll a double
3). Choose to either move, attack, or build

-Move: You may move one or two units a number of spaces equal to one of the die.

-Attack: Choose a friendly unit and a die to deal damage to an enemy unit in range.

-Build: You may place one unit with a value equal to the value on the die for each die on the launch space.

or

You may replace a unit with a value equal to the value of one of the die with a station. Stations allow units that take a lethal hit, move on it's space instead of back home.

Races:

Each race will have six different units, three special commands, and one passive ability.

-Units: Each unit will have a number from 1 to 6. This value represents their range and defense. Lower value units have better abilities, higher value units have worse abilities. Range determines how far away a unit must be in order to initiate an attack. Defense determines what amount of damage is needed to cause a lethal hit (ex. Value 3 has a lethal hit of 3,4,5 or 6).

-Special Commands: These are when you roll doubles. Each special command will have a tier (meaning the value of the double needed i.e. tier 1 is a double of 1,2,3,4,5 or 6). These can only be used once per game.

-Passive Ability: When two or more friendly units are on the same space, the passive ability is activated.

--------

Potential problems:

1). Scaling for more players would be difficult.
2). Combat might be under powered

Your thoughts are welcome!

let-off studios
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Game of Ur, etc.

What you describe here reminded me immediately of The Royal Game of Ur, which I first found at a thrift store for like $2. The original publishing date of the version I have is as old as I am, from 1977:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1602/royal-game-ur

Someone also released a version not too long ago (2006), which is called The Royal-er Game of Ur. It seems to use dice as pieces instead of checkers:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/31473/royal-er-game-ur

You add to these concepts with the combat mechanic, which seems more similar to the Royal-er game described above. And I -really- like the establishment of "stations," as this adds an interesting decision, and grants additional ability to players as the game progresses.

Your one-and-done special effects can also add some interesting wrinkles, including other ways to claim victory: I imagine a track or column off the side of the board, and when the player rolls doubles they can either use the special ability or move their marker along this track. If they make it to the top of the track they win the game. This adds utility and usefulness to doubles for which the player has already used the special ability.

You can also apply a lot of different themes to this, and oddly enough a casual sci-fi theme seems like it would work well.

Keep up the good work, Tbone! This one sounds interesting. :)

Jay103
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let-off studios wrote:I

let-off studios wrote:
I imagine a track or column off the side of the board, and when the player rolls doubles they can either use the special ability or move their marker along this track. If they make it to the top of the track they win the game.

I hate this.

That mechanic says that someone who happens to get lucky rolling extra doubles can win in a way completely separate from the main game. Yuck.

let-off studios
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Luck

Jay103 wrote:
That mechanic says that someone who happens to get lucky rolling extra doubles can win in a way completely separate from the main game. Yuck.
Yeah, that's Backgammon (and its derivatives) for ya. That kind of mechanic has its time and place. It's consistent with Ur and Sorry!, in my opinion.

wob
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hi. firstly, ur is old,

hi.
firstly, ur is old, really old, along with hound and jackles, they are among the first board games (they dont really know how old they are).
backgammon is almost as old but a few centuries later. the beauty of backgammon is the balance of luck and skill. its pretty much 50/50. this means any given game may come down to a lucky dice roll but over a match the better player should win. you dont tend to play a single game of backgammon. the doubling dice almost intensifies both luck and skill, it needs to be used at the right times to be effective but even the best player can be undone by bad luck. its a nice analogy for life.
the way rolling doubles works in BG is you get to use each number twice. this makes it seem like they are important. they are but backgammon isn't so much about what you roll as how well you capitalise on your good luck (and their bad luck) or how well you can mitigate your bad luck from the way you have set your pieces.
as long as your game has the same opportunity to capitalise and mitigate luck shouldn't be a problem. one roll shouldn't determine the game, unless your playing several games.

Jay103
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let-off studios wrote:Jay103

let-off studios wrote:
Jay103 wrote:
That mechanic says that someone who happens to get lucky rolling extra doubles can win in a way completely separate from the main game. Yuck.
Yeah, that's Backgammon (and its derivatives) for ya. That kind of mechanic has its time and place. It's consistent with Ur and Sorry!, in my opinion.

Well, consistent, sure.

But if you're taking an old game that has a lot of luck, and you're trying to add something to it, don't double down on the luck. Add something more strategic than that.

I like the idea of doing "something else" with doubles. That opens up some strategy. However, the "something else" shouldn't be insta-winning.

evansmind244
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1982

I personally see the rise of the 80's and early 90's coming back. Look at the indy game market for pixelated games. Remember all the roll and move games? I was born in 1982 and I've got a young family, and we are playing the Roll and Move games!! They are what I grew up with. I loved and love this genera of game. I firmly believe there is a GIANT market for these types of games, and almost NO ONE is marketing to this generation!!
I think you should keep that in mind as you Theme this game. Make it Nostalgic!!! Make it for the generation that has young kids right now!!

Tbone
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Playtesting

#1 Combat was weird. Having a different range for each unit was not so much fun. Lots of counting spaces. Very fiddly. So, I made the range consistent (any neighboring or same space) and made it so you could only attack with units having the same value as one of the die rolls. This proved to be much better.

#2 It was a slug fest. The beginning was just building and moving. Not very interesting at all. So I removed some of the distance between players (I might even remove even more). Plus I included that if you move across a space with a friendly unit or station, it doesn't count towards your movement.

Both of these changes sort of balance the "hording units on one space for better probability of attack" and "spreading out units so mobility is better".

#3 There is only one double ability per race now, just for simplicity sake.

#4 Scaling for more players is solved. Instead of going around the entire board, each player must move a set number of spaces. So in two player, three player, and four player, you will have the same distance to move. This means in a three or four player game, the only difference is that you will be defending against a different player than who you are moving against. In a four player game there will be one player you do not interact with at all. This also simplifies balancing for races and encourages diplomacy ("Hey! focus on attacking him and I will leave your units alone over here.").

Overall, the combat probabilities are still in the works. Attacking units seems too random and building/moving units seems too slow. Placing a unit next to a group of enemy units is a death sentence. But at the same time, when you want to attack something, it is a 1/6 chance that you can attack them (see as how you need to roll the number of the unit attacking to attack with the unit). Plus you roll again to see if the damage goes through. This makes it even less for a lethal hit!

I'll definitely be testing more.

let-off studios
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Future Sport?

With the way you describe this game, a few things come to mind.

I can't help but think of BattleBall when you mention the words "slugfest" and "move a set number of spaces." It's almost like the teams fight against one another to make it to the goal at the other end of the board. Almost like capture the flag?

I remember playing Unreal Tournament on the PC back in the day, and I think they distilled "combat sports" excellently with their version of Unreal Tournament 2004. There were also some other games that explored this possibility: Pigskin, Arch Rivals, or even Blades of Steel.

I've personally playtested a sports-themed game recently, which had quick turnover, a little luck, plenty of dice-chucking, and vital positioning. Very highly-tactical gameplay and flow. Maybe your game can embrace that aesthetic a bit more, maybe still maintaining a roll-and-move core, but more freedom and objectives to pursue? Scoring points, but also combat?

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