Last year a lot of publishers said they liked my games, but wanted to see what I'd do next. Specifically, what games I could design beyond the realm of pure card games. Something like a medium weight euro. So as I do my morning game design doodles, I'm dipping a toe into classic euro mechanisms like worker placement or dice placement. Here's one idea, loosely inspired by Greg Stolze's One-Roll Engine.
Assume there is a pool of eight six-sided dice and a board with six numbered spaces. Also assume that this board represents six different actions you may take, in the spirit of other dice-placement games like Alien Frontiers, Kingsburg, or Euphoria.
On your turn, you roll the dice pool and sort the results into groups according to their face value. Here we have 1x1, 2x3, 3x2, 4x1, and 5x1.
As the active player, you get first choice from this pool to place one of these groups onto the board. You may place a group onto a space that matches the face value or the size of the group.
So this group of 2x3 could be placed on the "2" space...
...or on the "3" space.
The next player to your left gets to choose another group from the pool to place on the board, following the same rules.
So this 1x5 could be placed on the "1" space...
...or on the "5" space.
Each subsequent player takes one group from the pool and places it on the board until all the dice have been placed. Note that it is possible for players to place more than once on a single turn if there are enough groups to go around the table multiple times, depending on the number of players. For example, if there are six groups and four players, the active player and the player to their left will place twice.
Once all the dice have been placed, that ends your turn as active player.
Thereafter, the player to your left becomes the new active player and begins their turn. They clear the board and reroll the entire pool of dice. They take their first pick of the available groups, followed by the player to their left, and so on, until no dice remain.
But what if there were a map instead of the board?
What if the face value of the set represented the type of dude you could put on the map and the size of the set represented how many you could put on the map? Or vice versa, since large sets are statistically rarer?
Maybe a larger set, like a set of three, allows you to build more substantial structures on the map?
There are a lot of open questions here, but I'm curious to see how it all turns out. What if the game had a map and a board? Assume the theme is dudes exploring this new continent. The board had actions like Settle Dudes, Migrate Dudes, Build Structures, Grow Resources, Harvest Resources Resources, Sell Resources. All of which pertained to various types of bits that are on the board itself? That opens up even more questions! Like, what if the power of these actions varies on a number of different factors? For example:
Place dudes on a space of the map matching the size of the group or the face value.
Face = Number of Dudes
Size : Type of Dudes
1-2: All Farmers
3-4: One (Explorer or Scribe) and all Farmers
5+: Two (Explorer or Scribe) and all Farmers
Move dudes from one space on the map to an adjacent space of the map.
Face = Number of Dudes
Size : How Many Dudes Perish Along the Way
1-2: Two Dudes
3-4: One Dude
5+: No Dudes
Migrating Explorers raises the set value by one increment. So if you migrate four Farmers, one of them would perish along the way. However, if you replace one of those Farmers with an Explorer instead, that boosts your Size by 1, so it's effectively 5. That means all four of those migrating Dudes would survive the migration.
Put a structure on a space of the map where you have at least one scribe.
Face = How Much Gold You Earn
Size : How Many Structures You Can Buy
1-2: One Structure
3-4: Two Structures
5+: Three Structures
You may keep as much leftover gold as you have scribes in your chosen space of the map. Actually building anything is optional, so you could just take this action to get some gold.
Put resource tiles on a space of the map where you have at least one farmer.
Face = Number of Resources
Size: How Much Control You Have
1-2: All resources randomly drawn from the bag.
3-4: Choose two of the resources.
5+: Choose four of the resources.
Each Farmer you have on a space raises the Size by one increment. So if you used three dice and chose a space where you have two farmers, that effectively raises the Size to 5, allowing you to choose four of the resources.
Take resource tiles from a space of the map where you have at least one farmer. (Note that these don't need to be resources that you grew.)
Face = Number of Resources
Size: How Many Crops are Lost in the Process
1: Three Tiles
2-3: Two Tiles
4-5: One Tile
6+: No Tiles
Each structure on a space will raise the Size by one increment so you lose fewer crops when harvesting.
Exchange matched sets of resource tiles for coins or points.
Face = Number of Sets You Can Sell
Size: What You Earn
1: 1 Point and (1 Coins per Set)
2: 3 Points and (4 Coins per Set)
3: 6 Points and (9 Coins per Set)
4: 10 Points and (16 Coins per Set)
5+: 15 Points and (25 Coins per Set)
Sacrificing two Explorers from the same space on the map will boost your Size by one increment.
--~--So that's just a quick idea from this morning. I must admit I'm a bit overwhelmed at the big open design space available in a 90-minute euro game compared to a 20-minute card game. Hopefully this little dice placement mechanism offers a sensible core loop around which I can build that bigger experience.