[In the spirit of Earth Day this week, I'm going to brainstorm some ideas for games with an ecological or natural theme. Imagine these games printed on 100% recycled chipboard. Also see my post on sustainable game components.]
Let's take this "Earth Day" theme to the distant cosmic past, when Earth and planets were still coalescing around our sun. In this game, you and the other players gather stardust to create asteroids, planetoids, and other stellar bodies.
The game is comprised of the board shown above and a block of 36 dice. You can play with 2-4 players.
On your turn, roll a die. Place it on an unoccupied space on the board. You may not place a die in the center space.
Collapsing: If you create a contiguous adjacent group of three or more dice with matching results, remove all the dice in that group except the die you just placed. Raise that remaining die's result by one. So, if you make a group of 1s, the remaining die is now 2. If you make a group of 2s, the remaining die is 3. No die may be higher than 6.
Chain Collapse: If the remaining die creates a new contiguous group of three or more matching dice, remove the second group as well. The remaining die is raised yet again, by one increment.
Score: You score points for collapsing groups of dice. Your score is (number of dice in the group) + (value of dice in the group) + (number of bonus dots the group occupied). For example, if you made a group of three 1s with one die occupying a 3-dot space, you'd earn 7 points. (3 + 1 + 3)
The first player to earn 25 points wins. That's a very arbitrary number. If you playtest this game and decide it should be higher, I'm happy to hear your suggestions in the comments!