09 June, 2012

Getting away from Dice

Roleplaying games and Dice.

They just seem to go together.

Sure there are plenty of games that don't use dice, but they always seem to be on the outer fringes.

The first games I encountered without dice were Castle Falkenstein (which used cards), and Amber (which was purely diceless). In both of these games, I enjoyed the notion of game play that didn't revolve around numbers...well sort of.

Numbers weren't used to describe characters in Castle Falkenstein, instead you had a series of abilities levels, poor, average, good, excellent, etc. These helped describe you character. If you didn't have the ability noted as an aspect of your character, you defaulted to "average". It didn't even have "attributes" as default numbers to fall back on. Simple enough.

Amer did use umber but it used them in a new way. You simply angled yourself in the narrative so that you'd be using your best numbers (or using the values that you thought were you opponent's weakest), then compared the numbers...and the highest score simply won. No randomisation at all.

Very different methods of play.

A Penny for My Thoughts uses a different innovative mechanic again, but that's a very different style of game altogether.

I discussed in my last post the issues that a lot of game designers don't even realise exist in the field of RPG design...areas where unwary writers simply fail to address the events inherent in a roleplaying game, just hoping that a good GM will be able to wing it.

At the moment I'm really trying to wrap my head around the token drawing concept. I'm trying to make sure it's complex enough to handle most situations, robust enough that it won't break, and intuitive enough that it makes sense to a new player.

It almost makes me want to rebuild the game from scratch as a hack of someone else's game.
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