It's nasty business when the fiercest MMBA fighters from across the industry meet on the TradeShowdown floor. Just remember the first rule of business:
A. B. C. Always. Be. Crushing.

TradeShowdown is a dice game that uses real business cards to represent fighters in a knock-down, drag-out battle for business supremacy.

Stuff You Need
2 or more players
Each player has a business card representing his fighter.
Each player has a pencil and eraser.
Each player has ten dice. These may be any size from four-sided to ten-sided.

How to play
Each player goes through the following steps at the same time. If you're playing with two players, assume your fighters are attacking each other. If there are more than two players, then each player declares who their fighter is attacking for this round.

Step 1: Roll
Pull up to ten dice from your supply. Roll them.

For example, the blue player pulls six dice from his pool and gets the following results: 164888. The violet player pulls four dice from his pool and gets 6680.

Step 2: Check for Sets
Check how many dice have matching results. Such a group is called a "set." Each set has a “height,” “width,” and “depth.” The depth is how many dice you rolled total. The width of a set is the number of dice that are matching. The height of a set is the digit on the matching dice.

For example, the blue player has one matching set. Its depth is 6 because that is how many dice he rolled. The width is 3, because that is how many of his dice match. Its height is 8, because that is the result all the matching dice share. The violet player's set has a depth of 4, width of 2, and height of 6.

Step 3: Attack
The fighter with the lower depth does damage first, followed by the next highest depth, and so on. Tied fighters do damage simultaneously. To do damage, you may draw a slash across any of the opponent's digits equal to or lesser than the height of your roll. You can draw as many slashes as the width of your set. A digit may only be slashed twice, forming an X across that digit. Once a digit is X’d, it is out of play and cannot be slashed again.

For example, the violet player had the lower depth, so he attacks first. His set has a width of 2, so he will draw two slashes somewhere on the blue player's card. His set has a height of 6 He may draw these slashes on any digit six or lower. He slashes a 6 and a 5.

The blue player goes next. His set has a width of 3, so he will draw three slashes. His set has a height of 8, so he can slash any digit eight or lower. He draws a slash on a 2. He X's a 4, taking it out of play.

Victory
When all your opponent’s digits are X'd, he is defeated.

For example, the violet player X'd out all of the blue player's digits, so the blue player is defeated. The violet player is victorious!

Strategy
There is a delicate balance inherent in each roll. In order to perform an effective attack, you must have good sets. To have good sets, you need to roll lots of dice. However, if you roll lots of dice, you leave yourself vulnerable to attack. Choose your dice you roll wisely. Choosing smaller-sized dice means you are guaranteed to have more hits, but you will quickly run out of vulnerable targets. Choosing higher-sized dice means you can reach those hard targets, but matching is less likely.

Optional Special Moves
These are a few special techniques you can add to your game.

Multiple Attacks: It is rare, but possible to have multiple sets in a single roll. Consider each set is a separate attack in the same round, as if your fighter launches a flurry of punches followed a moment later by a groin kick.

Intimidate: After rolling, but before doing damage, your fighter can do some kind of self-destructive display of strength. Draw a slash across any digits on *your* business card. For each digit you slash, add one to your set's width, as if a die come up with that result. For example, if you rolled a set with Height 8, Width 3, and slashed two 8s on your business card, your set would now be Height 8, Width 5, as if you had five dice result in 8s.

Tag Team: You can play with two business cards, each representing one half of a two-fighter team. Between rounds, you have the option to "tag in" the other fighter. When you do so, swap out the business card you were using in the previous round. One or both members of a tag team can intimidate during a round, but only the currently active member will get the benefit.

Combos: The zip code on your business card is a special combo that releases a special attack. When you roll, some dice will not be part of a set. If any of these dice match a digit in your zip code, you may set aside those dice from further rolls. You may not have more than one combo set growing at one time. When you have five dice matching the zip code on your business card, you may perform a special attack from the following list. Once you have activated a special attack, the dice return to your pool once more.
Number Cruncher: Draw a slash on all instances of digits matching your zip code on your opponent’s card. For example, if your zip is 03038, you can slash all 0s, 3s and 8s on your opponent’s card.

Snapping Pencil: Your attack has crippled your opponent. He has lost his ability to roll a number of your choice. In all subsequent rolls, your opponent cannot count results of that number in his sets. For example, if you cripple their 8’s, then they can’t count 8’s.

Collating Claw: On your next roll, before you slash your own digits on your business card, you can swap one dimension for another. That is, swap depth for height, depth for width, width for height, etc.

Hot Coffee Spout: Your opponent is blinded, causing them to flail around helplessly. The depth of each of their rolls is doubled, but does not give them extra dice.

» Illustrations from Shutterstock: Terry Chan
» Business Card Designs from Shutterstock: Bukhavets Mikhail and Moham'ed
» Title Font from Blambot: Badaboom
» Many thanks to everyone who suggested titles for this game!

1. This looks like great fun! I think we may try this out at work for a lunchgame or two.

One suggestion: if there are no ten or eight-siders available amongst the gaming group, slashing those digits above a six would be impossible. I think players should be able to combine parts of sets in order to slash higher numbers.

2. The following is a Facebook comment thread between me and Ralph Mazza. It's posted here for future reference.

Ralph Mazza:
Depth seems to lack importance until late in the match when someone is on the verge of being taken out. Early on I don't see any reason not to roll every die in your dice bag.

Perhaps the person with initiative can block the other players a...ttack in some fashion. Maybe the non initiative player loses 1 width from every set whose height is less than the initiative player's best set. Then there's a bit of cat and mouse in selecting depth.

Also, what are the set up rules for initial dice pools?See More

Daniel Solis:
Oooh. Food for thought. Blocking should factor into the main rules. Do you mind leaving a comment on the blog post with these ideas?

RE: Setup: Presently, the setup rules for dice pools are that each player has ten dice (sizes and compositio...n their choice). Each player chooses how many dice to roll on a turn-by-turn basis. In other words, very informal. :P

Think it should be a bit more structured?See More

Ralph Mazza:
Well in thinking about initial set up...do I get to see your card before I select my dice. Knowing that you have nothing higher than a 6 would make a big difference in my pool choice. On the other hand if its blind then your ability to cu...stomize will be limited since you'll need to plan for an unknown number of 9s.

Is there any way to swap dice out during the game?

Also do the players get free choice of card or is their a draft. On the one hand the "collectable" aspect is nice, but if the game were to be played as something more than a lark you'd need to make sure the system stands up to the power 9s card.

Perhaps the sum of all the numbers on the card could be used as a point balancer in some fashion.

Another thought, allow numbers being stored on the zip to be pulled back after the roll to increase the width of a set.

3. The "collectible" aspect of the game is cracking me up.

4. For clarification of my above comment about combining sets:

A good example would be if a player rolled three 4s - that player could choose to combine two of the 4s in order to take out a digit that is 8 or less, then use the final 4 to take out a digit that is 4 or less. In this way, it would enable players to game with only six-siders or, if they were suicidal halflings, four-siders.

5. For my next order of business cards, I'm going to include a whole series of random numbers on the front. I will be invincible!

6. » I like this method of combining dice. Nice and elegant!

» I look forward to seeing you in the arena.

7. When I start my own business, I'm going to call it 1=0.999999999999999999999999999999... Inc.

8. 64-HIT COMBO!!

9. When I start my own business, I'm going to call it 1=0.999999999999999999999999999999... Inc.

10. The following is a Facebook comment thread between me and Ralph Mazza. It's posted here for future reference.

Ralph Mazza:
Depth seems to lack importance until late in the match when someone is on the verge of being taken out. Early on I don't see any reason not to roll every die in your dice bag.

Perhaps the person with initiative can block the other players a...ttack in some fashion. Maybe the non initiative player loses 1 width from every set whose height is less than the initiative player's best set. Then there's a bit of cat and mouse in selecting depth.

Also, what are the set up rules for initial dice pools?See More

Daniel Solis:
Oooh. Food for thought. Blocking should factor into the main rules. Do you mind leaving a comment on the blog post with these ideas?

RE: Setup: Presently, the setup rules for dice pools are that each player has ten dice (sizes and compositio...n their choice). Each player chooses how many dice to roll on a turn-by-turn basis. In other words, very informal. :P

Think it should be a bit more structured?See More

Ralph Mazza:
Well in thinking about initial set up...do I get to see your card before I select my dice. Knowing that you have nothing higher than a 6 would make a big difference in my pool choice. On the other hand if its blind then your ability to cu...stomize will be limited since you'll need to plan for an unknown number of 9s.

Is there any way to swap dice out during the game?

Also do the players get free choice of card or is their a draft. On the one hand the "collectable" aspect is nice, but if the game were to be played as something more than a lark you'd need to make sure the system stands up to the power 9s card.

Perhaps the sum of all the numbers on the card could be used as a point balancer in some fashion.

Another thought, allow numbers being stored on the zip to be pulled back after the roll to increase the width of a set.

11. For clarification of my above comment about combining sets:

A good example would be if a player rolled three 4s - that player could choose to combine two of the 4s in order to take out a digit that is 8 or less, then use the final 4 to take out a digit that is 4 or less. In this way, it would enable players to game with only six-siders or, if they were suicidal halflings, four-siders.

12. The biggest problem (indeed, so big that i hope I've missed something) that I see here is the 'snapping pencil' special move.

I use it and pick 0's. Now, assuming i have an uncrossed 0 on my card, I am invincible because you can't roll 0's and theres no higher option to use to hit me either...

Further, given that 0's are the hardest to scrub off anyway (you have to be rolling d10's AND you have to roll a set of 0's) me having a 'live' 0 on my card seems all too likely...

13. Oh snap! Dang, how did I miss that? This game's been dormant for a long time, but I'll revisit that bug in the next round of playtesting.