Sunday, December 16, 2018

5 Minute Game Design

My wife got back into town last night, and she was kind enough to let me sleep in this morning (she got up and took care of the beagles). Unfortunately, the early morning, pre-waking hours are usually my only time to write, so my continuation of my DragonLance posts will have to wait. Sorry.

SO, to make sure I still write something (I'm really trying, folks), here's a little game I designed with my 7 year old last night, while waiting for the pizza to arrive at our table. In truth, I did most of the design, but Diego provided me the materials I had to work with: a miniature spiral notebook (2"x4"), a couple pencils, a stick from Pick-Up-Sticks, a handful of (small) random plastic minis, and a bagful of assorted dice. Oh, yeah...and he wanted me to try to duplicate our "robot game" that we used to play down in Paraguay.

Here's what I came up with on the fly:

Each robot is represented by a single model, and three randomly-determined abilities: armor, firepower, and speed.  Abilities are determined as follows:

Armor: Roll D10+10
Firepower: Roll 2D6+6
Speed: Roll D4...add the result to the difference of 20-Armor (more armored mechs are slower)

Speed determines the number of actions your mech has:  1-4 one action, 5-8 two actions, 9+ three actions. An action may be a "move" or an "attack." One move is one-half the Pick-Up-Stick (there is no action spent to change facing).

An attack is made against any opponent within range, providing line-of-sight isn't blocked by items on the table (pints of beer, bottles of cheese or chili peppers, etc.). Range for all robots is one Pick-Up-Stick. To make an attack roll D20 under your 'bot's Firepower. Success inflicts D6 damage, subtracted directly from Armor (while it never came up in our battles, I would have awarded a "critical hit" on any roll of "1," inflicting double damage).

When a robot's Armor is reduced to zero, it is destroyed.

All 'bots must begin at a range greater than one Pick-Up-Stick. All players roll D6 ("initiative") to determine turn order. Turn order does not change during the battle. You are not required to utilize your full number of actions on your turn, but unused actions are lost.

[sorry...I don't have any photos to post]

Anyway, it was a fun little game to play while we were waiting for our pizza. Sofia (my four year old) won our first battle (I had the smallest, fastest 'bot; Diego had the heaviest, slowest) through a combo of luck and courage (okay, mostly luck). Feel free to use it as a jumping off point for your own Pizza Night games. Diego and I are already thinking of ways to expand the rules.
; )


  1. How long did your playtest take?

    1. @ parrish:

      Well, we got our salad a little bit after we started "testing;" briefly considered using cucumber slices to represent the 'bots, then remembered we could ask the staff for the "toy box" they give out for entertaining kiddies at tables. The battle was over before our pie actually arrived (my daughter drew it out with a bit of cat-n-mouse with my son), but we had time to roll up second 'bots for game #2...if I hadn't force my son to eat instead of rolling dice.

      Probably 5 minutes to come up with rules off the top of my head and 15-20 minutes of playtest. However, Diego was running his own games this morning on Planeswalker battlemat while I was "doing stuff."