Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dice Farmer (game)

who: J1 and J2
where: reception floor (having been deported from the kitchen doorway)
when: after lunch

We recently got a pound of dice:
From the toy category: "dad uses kids as an excuse to buy something for himself"
Today was our first round of dice farmer (from Leftover Soup, rules below) and the three of us had a lot of fun. Actually, J3 stole a handful of dice from our reserves and had fun, too.

This is a fast game that both J1 and J2 found pretty compelling. In fact, J1 and I were in the middle of playing Munchkin, J2 was getting antsy, so I told him the rules and started playing on the side. J1 got so interested, he abandoned Munchkin mid-combat!

J2 kept winning, so that helped make sure everything was fun. They were both surprisingly tolerant when their dice "died" and pretty friendly about sharing favorite dice (as you can see, almost all have a unique color). One parent warning: on a hard surface floor, dice will bounce everywhere.

The basic rules are easy enough so this game is a low threshold activity, but the number of combinations made it computationally challenging for our players. During play, we started having conversations about the shapes, probabilities, and how to assess who was ahead. All of these will take some time for us to really develop.

Just before going to sleep, J1 asked me to promise to add this to the blog tonight.  That's how much he enjoyed it!


Equipment: A "herd" of dice of different shapes. We used standard D&D platonic solids + 10-sided.
Set-up: all players start with three 6-sided dice
Play: on each turn, roll all your dice. Any dice that come up 1 are dead and go back to the reserve. From the remaining dice collect sets that add up to sizes of dice shapes. You then add these to your stable.
Who wins: the first person to collect three 20-sided dice as part of their herd
  • Change the starting number and/or composition of dice. For example, I often started with 3d4 to reduce my chances of winning. Usually, though, I suggest all players start with the same configuration or establish a budget for # of sides.
  • Change the winning condition. J1 got excited about requiring the winner to have 1d8 + 1d10 + 2d12 + 3d20. I wasn't around to see how this worked out.
  • Use different interpretations of what it means to form sets that add up to a target number of sides. For example, you could require hitting the target exactly or, as we did today, set that as a minimum. Perhaps you could also get some amount of excess back as a rebate, though I usually considered those lost.
  • Change the condition to die or add other scenarios (e.g., 1 = that one dies, 2 = asleep, so doesn't count for that round). 
  • Add unusual dice configurations

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