Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

A Mathscades Epiphany

I have just had a cascade of ideas that may possibly turn my idea into something more like a real game:

  • Players play simultaneously. You have to think fast, and that “analysis paralysis” player will miss out if he tries to min/max too much.
  • If you place dice on a position, it’s yours. But if you can’t actually score with what you got… another player can point it out. Your dice on the card are now out of play.
  • If someone makes an error on a position, another player can point it out. If they want to play on that position, then those dice are temporarily out of play.
  • There is an end game track. Unused dice are what push it forward.
  • If someone has unused dice that can be used to score a position… then (after play is done for a round) another player can claim it.
  • Using all of your dice does not do a “double your score and go a again” schtick like I’ve just tried in the last iteration. It lets you draw a card that has a special ability on it. You may never have more than one card, so if you draw another one later, you’ll have to decide which one to keep.
  • Example card: You may reroll any three-of-a-kind that is in your unplayed dice pool.
  • Example card: You may score ones as a point at any time– those dice both score and count as being “in play.”
  • Example card: You may roll the D20 of awesomeness at any time during your turn and use that number on the board.
  • You can trade special ability cards at any time as long as both players have not yet used them that round.
  • I would like this to work as a cooperative and as a competition. I don’t see why it couldn’t work both ways.
  • I want this to work with from 1-4 players. This is a selling point on recent GMT games that makes a huge difference in whether or not I purchase them and get them played. The endgame triggers will be different depending on the number of players. Games with one or two players may require using all of your dice multiple times in order to activate a card.

I don’t think this all adds all that much cruft to the game… I think it just leverages a lot of loose threads while creating a lot more room for interaction between the players. I mean, I really don’t think people can handle waiting for other people to go. Not with this game. That’s the other reason for the simultaneous play. Also… I want a game that cannot translate easily to a computerized version. I want to maximize what I’m getting from people being present and engaged with their cell phones turned off. I also want to distribute the “teacher” role among the players.

Finally… I realize that a puzzle game built around mastering mental arithmetic is pretty much a no-go for a lot of people. (Look at how great even something like “The Stars Are Right” is and how many people recoil in horror from it… and not just because of the theme!) There may be a teacher out there that could make this work when they break their class up into groups of four. Maybe. There may be a home school mom that could fit this in to her already insane schedule. Possibly. But for now… I just need something that will get my son to practice his math more. My wife has asked for educational math games and I’m going to give her one.

Now… onward to another round of solitaire testing. I will play multiple players at once– I haven’t tried that, yet. I can’t simulate the interactions completely, but I can get a feel for whether or not the dice generate conflict and whether the cards actually create trading opportunities.

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One response to “A Mathscades Epiphany

  1. Pingback: The “Learning Game Design” Online Course from Lewis Pulsipher | Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

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