• Paul Nugent

Spinning in circles... are dice better than cards?

We’re several weeks beyond Protospiel now, and I’ve been busy (sifting through my scribbles) making sense of what needed to change, and in what order it needed to be done. Prioritisation! I actually cheated a little bit and reviewed some of the 'quick-wins' first. Things like correcting a typo, updating text on an Item card, or completely changing how the maze rotates. Wait a minute... some things here are not like the others.

The major update to rotating the maze should have been a simple one. In the old system; rotating the maze by '1 turn' was to move it 90°, either clockwise or anti-clockwise. I wanted to change the phrase '1 turn' to mean 45° (instead of 90°), which would increase the number of rotation combinations. Doing this would actually quadruple the number of combinations... due to the maze being able to rotate both clockwise AND anti-clockwise. Not so simple after all!

The old way to rotate the maze was to draw an Event card (during the Event phase) and the card told players which ring to rotate, and by how much. I wanted to account for every possible combination (which originally wasn't that many) and the old Event deck (incl. the non-rotation Events) contained less than 20 cards.

If I was to allow for 45° turns (which would be the new '1 turn') and quadrupled the number of possibilities (ensuring every type of combination), I'd have needed a deck of almost 80 cards (that's a lot of cards), and it isn't including any new ones I was due to create! With an already sizeable Adventure deck, I didn't want the Event deck to become a hulking behemoth next to the board. Especially when only around 20 of them would be used in any one game. Had I gone down that road, it would have been a huge waste and something I'm happy to avoid.

So what would I do? Luckily, I had an epiphany! I could still have a manageable Event deck, and all I had to do was to change the 'Rotate the Maze' Event cards to all be generic and instruct players to "Roll the Event dice". Dice, of course! I had now created a new Event Dice system that (I hope) is easier to manage AND allows for more exciting combinations, without the need for a huge stack of cards cluttering up the table.

Another reason for doing it this way was that I also wanted to have Event cards that would move the Monsters around the maze. I'd already placed each Monster into a specific group (Dragon/Minion/Savage) as one of my 'quick-wins', knowing that I was going to have Events that would move them around the maze.

The new Event Dice system allowed me to get a little adventurous with some 'non-standard' board game dice. I created two custom D8's (eight-sided dice) and added a regular D4 (you guessed it, a four-sided dice). I already use standard six-sided dice for movement and combat, so I thought using something a little different would be both interesting and (hopefully) fix my Event card problem. Let me explain what each dice does;

  • Maze dice (D8): Contains all possible combinations of which rings rotate (outer/inner) and in which direction they rotate (clockwise/anti-clockwise).

  • Monster dice (D8): Contains each Monster group (twice) and two blank faces, as sometimes Monsters won't move, allowing players some respite.

  • Range dice (D4): Tells players how many turns to rotate the maze by, and also how many spaces the Monsters will move.

The above is just a concept image (D4 not shown), but hopefully it should be clear what I'm trying to achieve.

The idea is that players roll all three dice together to find out; which rings rotate, which direction they rotate in, how many 'turns' they rotate by, which Monsters will move (if any), and how many spaces they move... all that from just three dice! I'll no doubt see over the next few playtests if this is a good system or not, but either way, I'm excited by the concept!

Next up will likely be the major rulebook updates I've made/am making and how they affect the game. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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