Slice + Dice

A) BRAINSTORMING

“A consideration of the odds of the dice may add tremendous strategic depth to a game…”

PROBLEM STATEMENT

-To create a socially engaging, competitive role-playing board game fit for teenagers / young adults audience. Using a pair (or more) of dices for movement and attack, the game gives the player an impression of strategy by giving them choices within the condition generated by the random values.

-Dungeon / adventure RPG-themed.

 

INITIAL IDEAS

  1. Poker with dice
  2. Architectural snow-wall building game with dice
  3. Flicking dice to knock off others’ off the battle arena.
  4. Dice Jenga
  5. Dice Bowling
  6. CIA pursuit game with dice
  7. Dice puzzle game.
  8. Improv Roleplaying game with dice.
  9. Dice Beer Pong.
  10. Dice Dungeon RPG
  11. Real Time Strategy with Dice! (Civilization)
  12. Detective, clue-like game with dice.
  13. Zombie Apocalypse with dice
  14. Cooking game with dice
  15. Jackstones with dice
  16. Dice Juggling game
  17. Pirate batting game
  18. Sentence matching game with letters from dice
  19. Grab “Em Dice!
  20. Dice Against Humanity
  21. Dice Baseball
  22. Dice Curling
  23. Hide’n’Seek with Dice

 

B) INITIAL SET OF RULES

 

-Each player would take turns to make their moves.

-Each player would start off with 1 die, the minimum number a player can have is 1, and maximum is 5.

-The total sum of the dice throw would be the maximum number of tiles the player can move. The player may choose anything in between or not move at all.

-The dungeon tiles are marked with a skull. Once the player is in the dungeon tile, the player must confront a monster. The player first rolls one of his die, and then the monster rolls its die. If the player rolls the higher number, he/she gains a die. If the player rolls the lower number, he/she is sent back to the starting point. If there is a draw, they must roll again.

-When two players are within the same tile, they must fight. Both players roll a die, and whoever rolls the higher number wins. The loser is sent back to the starting point.

-At the boss fight, the player rolls all of his/her dice, the sum of which is compared to the boss monster’s die. If the player has the higher number, he/she wins the game. If he/she has the lower number, he/she is sent back to the starting point. If it’s a draw, do it again.

 

C) PLAYTESTS & ANALYSIS

FIRST PLAYTEST (18 / 02 / 03 – 4:00 pm)

 

PLAYTESTER PROFILES

Hyun Jong Won (25) – Myself

Victoria Yom (22) – Game Designer

Xuejun Wang (22) – Game Designer

 

OBSERVATION

-Instead of fighting monsters, Victoria chose to move forward most of the time.

-Sally chose to take a lot of risks and fought monsters. She lost often and was sent back. She pointed out a loophole in the game where the player can farm the first few dungeons to gain more die as soon as possible, with little consequence due to their proximity to the starting point.

-Due to the difference in each player’s objective, there soon rose a big gap in tile progress between Victoria and us.

-I was encouraged by Victoria to fight the monsters more frequently, both of which have resulted in losses and had me sent back to the starting point.

-There was a change in the monster duels. Instead of the current player rolling the die twice, one for the monster and one for him/herself, one of the other players took on the role of the monster, rolling in its place. This added a dramatic effect, causing tension between the players especially if the current player lost to the monster.

-When Victoria had reached the Boss, I rolled in its place. I rolled a 17, and Victoria’s sum was 14. She was infuriated in response, as she was sent back to the starting point.

 

FEEDBACKS & COMMENTS

-The gameplay feels too repetitive

-Not enough tactical challenge, too  much based on luck

-Lose dice instead of going back to the beginning. (The feeling of possession)

=gives more incentive for players to pick fights with other players

-There needs to be more moments of interaction between the players – the battle between players isn’t frequent enough as of now. Allow them to intervene in certain cases?

=balancing the players’ punishment for intervening.

-Lose hp? Ultimate death?

-Introduce puzzle elements to give diversity to the gameplay?

-Perhaps make a variety of monsters / adjust their difficulty?

-Make other players play the role of monsters?

-The map was too long; it often felt tedious to walk all the way back, just to be sent back again.

 

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

There are many possible solutions to address the issues above. One of them would be

-Shorter, intersecting path to minimize the total movement time + create more moments of interaction between players.

-Player can hamper one another’s progress by 1) intervening in their battle 2)

-Player can help one another by 1) summoning the other player to their current tile 2)

-In a monster battle, the player aims and flicks a die towards the monster’s token. At the same time, one of the other players can aim and flick a shot towards the player’s token. The

-Each player would take turns to make their moves.

-Each player would start off with 1 die, the minimum number a player can have is 1, and maximum is 5.

-The total sum of the dice throw would be the maximum number of tiles the player can move. The player may choose anything in between or not move at all.

-If the player rolls a sum of 13, then the must give away one of his dice to an another player of his/her choice.

-When the player has more than 2 dice, if the player rolls a double with 6, then the player loses all of his/her dice except for one.

-When the player has more than 2 dice, if the player rolls a double with 4, then the player “dies” and is sent back to the starting point.

-When two players are within the same tile, they must fight. Both players roll a die, and whoever rolls the higher number wins. The loser is sent back to the starting point.

-A player may choose to summon a player of his/her choice to his/her current tile, at the expense of one die.

-The dungeon tiles are marked with a skull. Once the player is in the dungeon tile, the player must confront a monster. The player first rolls one of his die, and then the monster rolls its die. If the player rolls the higher number, he/she gains a die. If the player rolls the lower number, he/she is sent back to the starting point. If there is a draw, they must roll again.

-A player may give up one of his/her dice to play in favour of the monster against the current player if he/she chooses to do so.

-In the boss fight, the player may use all of his/her dice, a sum of which is compared to the monster’s dice. If the player has the higher number, he/she wins the game. If the player has the lower number, he/she dies, sent back to the starting point, and must wait for 2 turns. If there is a draw, they must roll again.

-Player may choose to team up for the final boss battle, in this case, the players can combine their dice. Same rules apply.

 

SECOND PLAYTEST (18 / 02 / 04 – 3:00 pm)

 

PLAYTESTER PROFILES

Andrew Boyer – Tepper School of Business

Euna Park – ETC

Hyun Jong Won (25) – ETC

Anne Xie (22) – HCI

 

FEEDBACKS & COMMENTS

-gameplay still too repetitive

-ramp up difficulty in monsters -> dice corresponds to the player’s strength

-non-linear path, more like mmorpg maps (farming, etc.)

-add more diversity to the encounter -> the player rolls the dice to decide?

-you can also collaborate -> combine dice to fight, you get mutual award

-add a variety of dice (6, 8 12, 20, etc) for monster, also make them exclusive (gives more incentive to other players to try to steal it from you)

-make movement contained to one die -> restricts movement.

-simplify the experience.

 

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

-Allow cooperative combat system, where players can team up against monsters and amongst themselves.

-Reduce the number of tiles on gameboard to allow

-The players can wander off in whichever direction they may choose.

-Allocate multiple weaker, common monsters near the road intersections and the special, stronger monsters on the outskirt roads.

-Incorporate special, exclusive dice to certain high-level monsters.

-The player may move the absolute value of the dice rolled.

-The power of monsters are adaptable to the strength of the player.

 

THIRD PLAYTEST (18 / 02 / 06 – 1:00 pm)

PLAYTESTER PROFILES

Naomi Burgess – ETC

Rajat Gupta – ETC

Rachel Rodgers – ETC

Alan Turner – ETC

 

FEEDBACKS & COMMENTS

-constraint movement to choosing just one die of the ones thrown.

-when a player loses to the boss, his/her dice is added to the boss’s dice pile, making it stronger.

-mark the availability of monsters using the skulls (they’re cool!). Make the abundant ones weak, whereas making the unique ones (with unique die) more exclusive and harder to beat.

-just pick one element of the game (boss fight vs PvP) and further develop that.

-make monsters relatively easier to defeat -> ensure character progress.

-make the battle system bit more asymmetrical -> the player who challenges the other have positive/negative consequences based on the outcome, however the player being attacked don’t have any consequences whatsoever.

-players can see each other’s position in a board game, whereas in first person games you can’t. Think about how players move around the map: perhaps make it unpredictable / teleportable so that players can make the decision to move to attack people if they choose to.

-Imagine an ideal scenario for the players, and translate them into probabilities. (What % should be the boss monster, what % should be medium monster, what % should be easy monster, etc.)

-The layout of the game might have to be changed entirely.

-What is the end state of the game? Is it simply a matter of survival? What happens to the players that are killed, how do you mitigate their idle time? How can you allow them to still have influence on the game even after death?

-How could you mitigate a polarizing effect when one person becomes too strong? How could you keep the game going without creating an extreme unequal power balance? Perhaps players can collaborate on attacking one particular player?

*Munchkin = PvP focused board game

*Talisman

*Minotaur = like Pubgy, where the play area shrinks incrementally

 

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

Objective

-Put combat as the main appeal of the game.

-Give a more concrete objective to the players within combat.

=kill other players a certain amount of times?

=kill all players (they cannot respawn)

=reach a certain level before others

=obtain a certain number of resources

=occupy the throne for a certain number of turns.

-Give a balance of strategy (perceived skill) and luck.

 

Combat

-Make the combat mechanics more interesting than just throwing dice in a faceoff. Can different hostile moves require a different skill? (like minigames)

=Steal (Thief) = steal a die / resource from the defender.

=Paralyze (Sleep) = stun the player (waits for turns)

=Speed

=Shadow (Assassinate)

-allow other players to intervene during the battle.

-allow players to form allies and attack. (team battles also possible)

-Make the combat outcomes more variable; add asymmetry between the attacker / defender.

=if the attacker wins, he/she may choose an item of his/her choice from the defender. If the attacker loses, he loses a life.

=if the attacker wins, he gathers resources. If he loses, he loses a life. The defender is unaffected by either outcome.

 

Mobility

-Player movement dictated by one specific die? Or roll several, and choose one from the pile.

-Player movement is represented as level progression? (One tile per level)

-Player movement made unpredictable by a special skill? (Teleportation?)

 

Map Layout

-Reduce the number of tiles significantly to create a faster combat beat

-Add unpredictable encounters in tiles (card draw / dice roll?)

=Trap, acid, water, power up (for number of turns)

=Creatures, companions, weapons, equipment, treasure, or relics

 

FOURTH PLAYTEST (18 / 02 / 08 – 6:00 pm)

PLAYTESTER PROFILES

Yujin Ariza – ETC

Thao Nguyen – ETC

Alan Turner – ETC

Victoria Yong – School of Architecture

 

FEEDBACKS & COMMENTS

-Make the game object clearer; just one way to win!

-The level progression represented by tiles is unclear and confusing.

-The map design is too chaotic and unclear; no focal point of interest.

-The variable combat mechanics (steal, stealth, etc) seem too confusing.

-The absence of influence on the defender by the attacker seems a bit unrealistic, takes away drama.

-The power ups seem to have no significant influence on the gameplay, and cards draw the attention to much too themselves rather than the dice.

 

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

Combat

-Represent different power / weapons through different forms of dice (1d8, 1d12, etc.) rather than powerups and player abilities.

-On a win, the attacker may steal an object of his/her choice directly from the defender.

-Eliminate the various combat mechanics.

-Eliminate the power up feature and the associated card-drawing mechanic.

 

Map Layout

-Simplify the map layout to a centralized grid: a ziggurat with a peak.

-Condense the map into a much more compact form to not only allow faster-paced gameplay but also rapid level progression.

-Eliminate the level labels on the tiles to encourage multi-directional player movement.

 

FIFTH PLAYTEST (18 / 02 / 10 – 2:00 pm)

 

PLAYTESTER PROFILE

Yunhao Li – ETC

Xuefan Zhou – ETC

Xuejun Wang – ETC

Hyun Jong Won – ETC

 

FEEDBACKS & COMMENTS

-deadlock in player engagement; too boring and repetitive.

-no real incentive on reaching the throne vs. battling others.

-it is more fun to battle players than monsters.

-no real incentive to interfere in others’ battles.

-lay down more concrete rules for players to follow.

-make monsters easier to beat, and inflict no damage on players in losses.

-given the movement restriction, give two dice in the beginning instead of one.

-have the monster’s difficulty be represented by the number of tokens on the board.

-perhaps randomly relocate the losers in battles, to avoid deadlocks.

-resolve deadlock when a player is dethroned.

-path of reaching the throne is too long / difficult?

-change the difficulty / characteristic of the monsters on the upper layer.

-the throne’s 1d20 is too polarized; either too strong or too weak.

-much better / faster gameplay than before (yay!!!)

 

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

Objective

-The last player standing wins.

 

Combat

-Give more lives to the player to incentivize. (3 -> 5)

-Introduce distinct dice (1d8, 1d4, 1d12) to give a better sense of ownership + incentivize other players to target each other for scavenging.

-Regain health in case of emergency by sacrificing 3 followers.

-In the case of more than 2 players on a given tile, the players may choose to team up in whichever way.

-The player on throne rolls all of his/her dice along with the Lord’s Dice.

 

Mobility

-If the player rolls a double (or any matching numbers), the player can teleport to a tile of his/her choice within the same layer.

 

Map Layout

-Introduce multiple entry points between layers to make accessing the throne easier.

-Make lower levels more expansive to provide more room for movement.

-Add non-combat plots where players can gather followers.

 

SIXTH PLAYTEST (18 / 02 / 10 – 8:00 pm)

PLAYTESTER PROFILE

Yunhao Li – ETC

Xuefan Zhou – ETC

Xuejun Wang – ETC

Hyun Jong Won – ETC

 

FEEDBACKS & COMMENTS

-The map layout is too dull and repetitive, no incentive to move around to the outskirts.

-Player alliance is often frustrating for the other players; the strength becomes easily unbalanced.

-The special dice don’t really feel that special; it is too easily accessible from the beginning.

-5 lives per player seems superfluous; frustrating for the King/Queen to eliminate other players.

-There is still the deadlock in combat gameplay; too repetitive and long.

-There is still no incentive for players to interfere in others’ battles.

 

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

Combat

-Reduce the player lives back to 3.

-The interfering player does not suffer any consequence as a result of the battle.

-Disable the option for players to form alliances.

 

Mobility

-After an attack, the attacker may choose to move his/her character with a single dice roll.

-The player may sidetrack / backtrack his/her steps as one sees fit.

 

Map Layout

-Introduce more variations on the board game tiles: make the layout asymmetrical and create pocket tiles with freebie followers to incentivize players to travel to extremities of the gameboard.

-Re-position the access points to the level above to be equidistant from each other.

-Position the higher level monsters on the upper level as to clearly represent the level progression.

 

SEVENTH PLAYTEST (18 / 02 / 11 – 7:00 pm)

 

PLAYTESTER PROFILES

Andrew Boyer – Tepper

Euna Park – ETC

Hyun Jong Won – ETC

Anne Xie – ETC

 

FEEDBACKS & COMMENTS

-Make the board at least 3 times bigger to allow rooms for dices.

-Retrieving dices on every monster battle is tedious.

-Ensure all special dice are stronger than the normal dices.

-Keep battle mechanics consistent between PvP battles and Monster battles.

-The round-based battle mechanic is too repetitive and it’s more satisfying to throw all dice at once.

-Keep the player’s influence on the monsters even at loss; sense of contribution.

-Following with the narrative on “souls,” make player’s soul dices distinct. (bigger / different colours)

-The presence of 1d20s on the tile undermines the strength of the “king’s 1d20 dice.”

-Make the throne more accessible with less followers required.

-Give more value to the followers token; perhaps make players with more followers stronger.

-Perhaps you can make followers into additional characters that the player can control?

 

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

Combat

-The player’s “soul” dice represent his health counter, recoverable by sacrificing 3 followers. Each player may only have 3 maximum “soul” dice at a given time.

-A highest-to-lowest comparison battle mechanic, where each pair of dice is compared independently in the sorted order. The player either kills the monster and take its soul or spares it and keeps it as a follower for the pairs that he/she prevails. There is no consequence for loss against monsters.

-In PvP battles, the winning player takes the die for the pairs that he/she prevails. If the loser’s die is his/her “soul die,” the loser loses a life.

-In monster battles, the player must match the numbers of the monster’s dice in case he/she has a greater number of dice. The player may select whichever set he/she pleases.

-In the case of a draw, the player with more followers wins.

 

Mobility

-If the player rolls a double (or any complete set of matching numbers), the player can teleport to a tile of his/her choice within the same layer.

 

Map Layout

-The board grid itself is 2 times bigger, and more grid variations on the lower + upper levels to encourage different player movements.

-Make the board more 3-dimensional, makes each layer visually separated.

-More freebie follower tiles, represented by the skull token on the tile.

-Monsters represented by the actual dices on the tile.

-Only put 1d8, 1d10, 1d12’s on the tiles.

 

EIGHTH PLAYTEST (18 / 02 / 12 – 5:00 pm)

 

PLAYTESTER PROFILES

Thao Nguyen – ETC

Hyun Jong Won – ETC

 

FEEDBACKS & COMMENTS

-There is not enough value in followers once the throne is claimed.

-Can the followers represent power in an another form? Accessibility? Combat advantage points? Only the players with the higher # of followers can challenge the current monarch?

-The king/queen does not have enough influence over the players; the players are too hard to eliminate.

-The number of dice possessed become easily out of control.

-Gate the upper layer with follower requirements to give players more incentive to roam the lower layer.

-What happens when the player loses in a challenge against the throne?

-Perhaps the player must confront / defeat the guardian monster prior to claiming the throne.

-Counting the dice on every monarch’s turn may be too troublesome.

 

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

Combat

-In the case where the number of dice is at maximum capacity (7), the winner of a battle may choose to swap the opponent’s dice of his/her own choice with his/her own. She/he can also choose to take away followers.

-When a player collects 10 followers, he/she can immediately claim the throne, bypassing the distance and the guardians.

-The player may convert a soul die into a follower token if he/she is at maximum capacity.

 

Mobility

-A player may only be allowed to proceed onto the second level if he/she has 3 followers, and onto the third level if he/she has 5 followers.

-The player may choose to use the movement steps in any creative way he/she wishes.

Map Layout

-Adjust the entrances to the upper layers to encourage players to move through multiple monsters.

-Make some of the freebie followers to be “deceiving,” inflicting negative influence on the player.

 

D) FINAL SET OF RULES

General

-The game is a survival game and its main objective is to kill all other players as soon as possible. One may achieve this by: 1) PvP (Player vs. Player combat), or 2) claiming the power of the throne.

-Each player is given 2 “soul” dices to start with. These are the player’s lives; once the player loses possession of these, he/she is permanently eliminated from the game.

-The maximum number of dice a player may possess at a given time is 5. If it exceeds this capacity, the player may choose to convert a die into a follower.

-At the beginning, all players roll their dice to determine which player goes first. The one with the highest sum wins.

-Each player’s turn consists of: 1) Movement, and 2) Combat. If the player is not able to engage in a combat, the turn is over.

 

Mobility

-The player may choose to move the absolute (not range) value chosen from his/her dice roll. This may include sidetracking / backtracking.

-The player may bypass the monster tiles that fall within his/her path, if a freebie follower falls within along the line of path, the player may claim it without stopping on the tile.

-The player may teleport to a desired location on the same level at the cost of 2 followers.

-The player may move to the second level if he/she is in possession of at least 3 followers. He/she may move to the third level in the case of at least 5 followers.

-The player may claim the throne immediately, bypassing the guardians, in possession of 10 followers.

-The player may only advance to the next level through the tiles marked on the map.

-On a “freebie” follower tile, the player may collect one follower for free.

 

Combat

-On a monster tile, the player has to engage in a battle with the monster.

-The combat mechanic involves each party rolling its own set of dice, and arranging the values in order from highest-to-lowest. The two sets are then compared side by side to determine the outcome of each pairing. In an absolute victory, the winner takes all. In a partial victory, the winner may only take the pairs

In which he/she is victorious. Same rule apply for PvP.

-On the pairs the player is victorious, the player may choose to: 1) Slay the monster and claim its soul die, or 2) Spare its life and add to the player’s pool of followers.

-The monster’s strength is sequentially deducted through partial victories.

-Other players may intervene in the current player’s battle with the monster.

 

Throne

-The players must confront the guardians on the third level prior to gaining access to the throne.

-The player on the throne may add the “Ruler’s Die (1d20)” to his dice pile. He/she throws the dice pile at every turn, requiring the other players to throw as well. The players with a sum higher than the Ruler’s sum is spared, whereas a sum lower results in a loss of life.

-When the player on the throne is challenged and defeated by another player, the ruler is dethroned and sent back to the starting point.

 

E) RETAIL MARKETING

Based on my familiarity with the board games currently on the market, I may list the item at a starting retail price of $15, not including taxes. The material contents of the game (plastic tokens, dice, and game board) are low-cost industry standard products that can be bought in bulk from their manufacturers. The consumers will find this price reasonable because: 1) each round of game may round around 30 minutes ~ 1 hour, 2) replayability with different people makes it a reusable game, 3) caters to player range between 2 and 4, catering to various group sizes, 4) fairly simple and intuitive gameplay caters to both children and young adults, and 5) the competitive and yet social components make it an ideal party game.

 

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