Nightmares and Control: Design Diary
In Lucidity, players draw dice each turn from a bag, put two back, then roll and apply the rest. Bad things happen when anything but points are rolled, and terrible things happen when players collect too many dice of one icon. Players might find themselves falling unconscious and losing their memory, turning into a Nightmare, or being hunted down and eaten.
At the midpoint of the game, that means that control is important. Which dice you put back in the bag determine the likelihood of what you will roll. You can modify your luck by careful selection of dice.
At the beginning of the game, though, control is less important. There are plenty of open spaces on player cards and there isn’t much use for careful selection. A lot of players take a “roll whatever and see what happens” approach. It ramps up, but it’s a slow start.
Right now, I am testing two variants to see what works best for player choice and to remove this start of the game lull.
- “Control”: At the start of the game, players can choose how many dice they put back each draw, for the rest of their turn. They might choose a Control of 2, in which case they draw 3 dice, then 5, then 7, then 9 and put 2 back each time. The longer a turn goes on, the less control they have, but the fewer dice they collect too. Or maybe they don’t want to be in control: they draw 3 dice, then 5, then 7, then 9 and roll them all. Dangerous, and the game basically plays itself if you do this. But by giving the choice to take away control, it ironically takes away player choice rather than giving it. I’m not sure I like how this feels right now. I might try taking away the 9 draw option, to allow riskier players to choose to risk big from the start of the turn.
- “Adding dice”: Instead of choosing how many to put back, players choose at the start of their turn if they want to take 3,5,7,9 or 4,6,8,10 or even 5,7,9,11. So players always put 2 dice back, but they can choose to draw an additional 1 or 2 dice each draw for the entire turn. I like this, because it still gives meaningful control to a player, and it allows them to “go big” early and tone down late game to an initial draw of 4 or 5 dice.
What else have I been working on?
I am running the first tests for Lucidity: Six-sided Spellbooks now, and am getting excellent feedback which will be used to greatly improve the game. This game will build on Lucidity, and adds a puzzle element to it.
Right now, dice are rolled and placed on a 4×4 grid. Each player is trying to complete a magical rune by putting their dice in the right order:
Dice slide around the board until they form runes, which let players win.
Since this uses the same dice from Lucidity, it is designed to be an easy expansion to that game. But because of that, the design space around this game cannot alter the dice from Lucidity. That means the “points” side of the dice are in an awkward position right now. Lots of testing on this one is needed, but I will be showing more as time goes on!
That is all for now. Catch you all later!
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