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Game Design - Pair O’ Dice Games

Game Design

Tom Lehmann’s Review of Dominion – An Example of Something I Would Twitter

Scott has been looking into getting Twitter set up on this blog. One of the main reasons I have been asking for it is things like this post. Generally these posts are simply things I have found amusing and thus wanted to share but often don’t because I don’t feel as though they deserve a full “post”.

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Some Words from Donald X

This post is sort of a follow up post to what I wrote yesterday about Dominion as we have a bit of information right from The Donald himself. (No… not Trump but he had a pretty cool game too!)

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Scrap Heaps: To Be or Not To Be Collectible

Over the last couple weekends we’ve gotten some playtesting time on Scrap Heaps. Like last time on Scrap Heaps game development I’m continuing to file away the rough edges, with the help of playtest feedback.

In this post I’ll relate some of the recent changes and things learned from playtesting, and my thoughts on the big question of what kind of card game Scrap Heaps wants to be.

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Path to Victory – Scrap Heaps Game Development

Recently I dug up an old game prototype I made for a card game called Scrap Heaps. There were a number of reasons I liked the overall design, but looking over the game again after years have passed I noticed some rough spots.

In this post I’ll touch upon the design of Scrap Heaps and go over one of the problems I aim to solve as I take it through the game development process.

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Dominion – Review – Best New Game I Played in 2008

Normally I am rather reluctant to call anything “the best”. This is true both with games and the rest of my life. The reasons are many but it often boils down to my feelings that things feel better at certain times or are better for certain reasons but will falter at other times. For example, when you’re in the mood for a comedy it is unlikely that a horror movie will fit the bill and is thus not “the best”. Perhaps that’s a rambling bit of nonsense but essentially what I am trying to say is, that I sort of feel like I am going out on the proverbial limb when I call Dominion the “Best New Game I Played in 2008” and yet I am still willing to say it. Which hopefully says a lot.

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Card Games Cometh

I have several new games I am planning to talk about and review soon and it came to my attention as I was driving to work today that quite a number of them are card games. After making this realization I decided I wanted to post a quick note about it and see if anyone else has noticed this rather interesting change in game design in recent years, where card games seem to be making a move from the casual to the more strategic.

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How Best to Print Out Minimum Wage

So it’s finally out (announcement here). Phew, it has been a long road to get here but I have finally managed to get Minimum Wage up on the blog for any and all who would like to download and check it out. If you haven’t see it yet, just click here.

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Minimum Wage Pre-Release Primer

I feel a little bad about the rather minimal time I have spent working on this blog lately and while I have reasons for my absence I can’t say they were all good reasons. Feel free to read my tangent along the side for a bit more info on that.

The one good reason I have not been working on this is that I have been working on it, that is to say, I have been working on the final touches to Minimum Wage!

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Risk Revisited Edition – More on House Rules and their Biggest Design Mistake

Our group has been playing the Risk Revised Board Game for the past few weeks and I wanted to do another post about about the game. I have done fairly well at winning this game so it may have skewed my opinions on but I do feel it is a solid game with solid rules.

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Fun and Games

This isn’t a recent post by Yehuda but it’s one I hadn’t read before. I had been meaning to pop over there are start reading through the posts and as I was sitting here thinking about getting my paperwork done I realized this was a perfect time to do just that!

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Fat-Free Magic: the Gathering – Without Lands (Channeling Land Variant)

Ever since Magic’s debut, there has been a built-in inefficiency to deck building and play caused by the requirement of including basic land.

This always irked me, and here I’ll look at why basic lands exist, then explore some house rules variants which remove them and evaluate the merit of each. Find out how Magic: the Gathering can be more fun with no lands!

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Heroscape, Shadowrun and Other Things That Make My Time Disappear

I’ve been working on a number of different projects lately and they have taken up the time I would normally be using for ranting about some random D&D thing… er… I mean “writing for the blog”.

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The Challenge of Skill Challenges

Since the release of Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition there has been a lot of talk about Skill Challenges. A lot of players find the idea to be quite intriguing, allowing more dramatic rules for situations that were once resolved by a single roll of a single die, but others have pointed out that the math for the Skill Challenges seems a bit broken and in some ways, they are unfortunately correct.

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Kill Doctor Lucky – Why a Binary Win Condition Fails

Recently I had the opportunity to play a newer version of Kill Doctor Lucky (thanks Dan, for having one of those birthday things) and find out how it compares against the original. There are a few important differences, which I’ll run through before describing their ultimate impact on gameplay.

Kill Doctor Lucky – Game Overview

Imagine Clue (the game, though the movie was great). Now imagine that instead of each player trying to uncover the identity of the killer, each player is out to be the killer but only when nobody is looking. Oh, and change Mr. Body’s name to Dr. Lucky, because he’s, well, extremely lucky and uncannily avoids numerous attempts on his life.

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The State of My Gaming Life

This is fluff. It’s so absolutely, completely, and amusingly fluff that it hardly needs to be read or looked at or edited or posted and it certainly doesn’t need to be written. Of course I have already written it and gone ahead and posted it so well… go ahead and waste your time reading it if you want to. But you are wasting your time. I mean, at least I warned you. It’s not like they had an announcement like this at the beginning of In the Name of the King that politely informed you that you were wasting your time. At least I am being nice about it.

Actually, it does serve some purpose. I find that knowing a writer can help me enjoy books and many people love watching director (or writer or producer or whatever) commentary on their special edition DVDs. Think of this as a brief look into me that you might be able to refer to as you look at some of the other things I have posted.

Still, it’s pretty much useless fluff.

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History of the World – Balance of Power Variant

The so-called Help the Little Guy Variant was essentially a building block for what I am now calling the Balance of Power Variant. I feel that this new Variant, which uses several of the same rules as the old one we tried, works fairly well to do the things we wanted it to do.

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Reaction and Recovery – A Short Diatribe About My Taste in Games

A few months ago Scott and I started to work on a project categorizing gamers. Essentially we wanted to come up with umbrella terms that scooped gamers into recognizable groups so that it would be easier to review a game and tell which groups we thought would enjoy it. It’s actually a fairly daunting process in that there are so many subtle variations and one does not wish to detract from any group by sliding them under an umbrella where they would not feel they belong. Still there are certainly different kinds of games out there and in general I would say we all tend toward liking certain groups of those games.

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Three-Dragon Ante – Games I Play

Three Dragon Ante – Game Overview

Three-Dragon Ante Box

Three-Dragon Ante is a simple non-collectible card game produced by Wizards of the Coast. At its core it is meant to be a poker-like gambling game that should feel like something a group of adventurers would play while sitting around the local tavern just after returning from an adventure.

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History of the World – Games I Play

History of the World – Game Overview

History of the World Game Box

History of the World is an Avalon Hill war game for up to six players. History of the World was originally published in 1991 while the most recent version came out in 2001. Players play through seven epochs, playing different civilizations (“empires”) each time.

The goal is to expand your influence across the map and then hope it sticks. Points are calculated for a player immediately after that player takes their turn and the number of units a player gets is not based on previous accomplishments (but rather is a static number associated with the empire that you are playing for that turn) which gives History of the World a very different feel than many other war-related board games.

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TinyWarz and Browser Game Design

TinyWarz 2.0 has launched, and I took a spin in this turn-based strategy browser game to see what it is all about. What I brought back are first impressions of the game, along with thoughts on the design and the browser games industry.

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Wreckage Game Review and House Rules

Wreckage Board Game

Wreckage by Fantasy Flight Games takes place on post-apocalyptic Mad Max-style desert highways. The art and design of the cards and game pieces are superb, readily setting the stage for car combat mayhem despite the game’s threadbare story.

Playing the game with my group did not, however, unlock the fun that its impressive-looking components suggested. Rather it revealed another case of style over substance. Yet it feels like there is some potential within this game, unrealized by the rules, waiting to be released.

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Welcome to Pair O’ Dice Games

Pair O’ Dice Games has a brand new games blog! Written by a couple of veteran gamers, it’ll feature gaming articles on topics like:

  • Game reviews
  • House rules and game rules variants
  • Role playing story, adventure, and character ideas
  • Game strategies
  • Game design

Check out the latest gaming articles, and subscribe to the Pair O’ Dice Games Blog RSS Feed to stay notified of new additions – we’re just getting started!

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