Earlier this week I described how Lyndsay Peters and I got to talking about a little dice game inspired by my misinterpretation of a key rule in Martian Dice. After discussing several different themes, we settled on noodle-making. Here's the full game as it stands now. We're calling it Noodle Roll.
Players take turns rolling dice several times, keeping sets ("strands") of three or more identical faces, and scoring based on the face value of those sets, plus any bonuses. As play continues, the board’s columns get filled. When two columns are filled, the game ends.
The game supports 2-4 players.
The group shares a supply of 13 standard six-sided dice.
Each player has a supply of cubes in her own color.
Each player gets three Sous-Chefs cards. I imagine a different sous-chef on each card. The face shows the sous-chef standing at attention, ready to take orders. The back shows the sous-chef hard at work making a noodle dish. I'd love it to resemble Jason Deamer's concept art from Ratatouille. One can dream.
The active player gets a player board that looks like this.
The whole group shares a board that looks like this:
First, refresh one Sous-Chef. If none are spent (as would be the case in the first turn) then proceed as follows.
Roll all of the dice.
Now, you must keep one set ("Strand") of three or more identical faces. If there are more than one set available, you must choose only one to keep. Keep this set on the player board in the area designated for your "first strand."
Next, you may roll any remaining dice in pursuit of a second set or you may end your turn. If you do roll again, you may keep another set whose face is equal to or greater than the first set you kept.
- If you get no legal sets, you may spend one Sous-Chef to combine any pair of faces to produce another face, thereby potentially making a legal set. So if you rolled a 5/5, you could spend one Sous-Chef to combine a 2 and a 3, to make a complete trio of 5/5/5.
- If you get no legal sets, you may spend one Sous-Chef to simply reroll all of those dice.
- If you’ve spent all your Sous-Chefs, you cannot continue rolling. You may keep whatever sets have resulted from your last roll.
When you spend Sous-Chefs, turn over their card face-down to indicate that they are occupied following your orders.
Once a set is kept, no more dice may be added to it. If on a later roll you get a set whose face is identical to a set you've already kept, you must keep those sets separate from each other. For example, if you kept a set of 1/1/1, you could keep a second set of 1/1/1 from another roll in the same turn, but those two sets would be separate from each other. They are not cumulative.
Then you can deliver your noodles to the restaurants who demand them, represented by the group board. The colored areas represent restaurants who demand certain types of noodles. On the far left, the restaurant takes noodles 1, 2, or 3. The middle restaurant takes noodles 3 or 4. The restaurant on the far right only takes noodle 5. Noodle 6 is special, as we'll explain below.
- Deliver Noodles: Put one of your cubes on the lowest unoccupied space of the column that corresponds to the face of your sets. For example, if you get a set of 5/5/5, you would put a cube on the lowest empty space of the “5” column. If you get a set of 3/3/3, you may place your cube in either of the "3" columns of your choice. If you score two identical sets, place the first cube in the lowest unoccupied space, then the second cube on the space above that.
- Free Cubes: In a set of 6/6/6, you earn a cube that you may place in any column of your choice. Yes, this means you could theoretically spend a Sous-Chef to make a set of sixes in order to get that free cube that would be placed in the 1 column, for example.
- Score Points: Score a number of points for each set equal to its face value. So a set of 5/5/5 grants you 5 points. Any dice beyond the initial trio in a set scores 1pt per extra die. So a set of 2/2/2/2/2/2 scores you 5 points (2pts for the trio, then 1pt each for the extra three dice). Note: Do NOT score sets of sixes. They are only used to get free cubes.
Pass all dice and the player board to the player to your left. Any Sous-Chefs you've spent remain so until the start of your next turn, at which point one will be refreshed.
The game ends when two columns have reached or crossed a certain height, as noted by the line corresponding to the size of the player group. For example, in a two player game, the game would end when two columns have reached or exceeded three cubes in height.
Score 10pts for each pair of your horizontally adjacent cubes on the board, but only if they’re in the same restaurant, as indicated by the colored backgrounds. Thus, the "5" column has no endgame bonus. Columns 3 and 4 can have an endgame bonus. Columns 1, 2, and 3 allow rows of three adjacent cubes, thus effectively being two pairs, thus two bonuses.
In the example above, the row of three white cubes in the yellow restaurant earn a total bonus of 20pts, because they are considered two pairs of horizontally adjacent cubes. The row of black cubes in the pink restaurant earn 10pts. The single black cube in the blue restaurant earns no bonus.
So, pursuing low-value sets in the short-term can yield big bonuses if you can make pairs on the board. Pursuing the highest value sets yields no endgame bonus at all, but they are the easiest to create with the assistance of Sous-Chefs.