Excalibur's Zone

Games are what I love, games are what I do. But family comes first.

Die Civilization Mk II

Well, that’s the working title anyway.

As I’ve said before, Die Civilization is a dice game. You roll dice in order to obtain successes or points in order to purchase technologies, build wonders, and meet achievement requirements.

Dice are used for two purposes: The first is to determine research or production successes. A research success allows you to complete a part of a technology or activate an ability. A production success allows you to purchase dice or gain additional successes for either production or research. Research points (the values on the dice) allow you to mitigate luck by storing points on a research in order to receive a research success. And production points allow you to purchase technologies as well as success through failure. Your pink production dice limit the number of successes you can use each turn.

It is planned that technologies, once completed, offer an added benefit that manipulates the basic rules in some fashion as well as victory points, requirements for wonders, requirements for achievements, and an extra die for your next turn.

Each die can be used for several actions with the two major ones listed above. All dice can be used to increase your production warehouse stores (with limits based on your white dice), stored in your die stockpile, or recorded as a failure. The trick is that you are limited to one die choice for your die stockpile and one failure each turn. Your production warehouse is limited by your white production dice.

The problem I’m having with the game so far is how long it takes to do anything. The main issue is that due to bad luck rolling successes, the acquisition of technologies is severely hampered. It takes about an hour to get through 3 cards in Tech Level 1! That’s a bit lengthy, even for games meant to take a long time. When techs taking so long to acquire, it really bogs the game down. While you might have fun at first, seeing a die roll anything other than a success was tiresome and irritating toward the end of a half hour, let alone one and a half!

This is why I have added the research point rule. How it’s going to be tracked is up in the air right now. Mainly a design issue at this point. But I hope that doing this will allow players to put those “non-successful” rolls to good use. They have the option of adding the value to the production warehouse or they can add the value to the research track of a tech. I am also leaving the success mechanic in place (which is a 6 by default). The research track will probably cost 9 points per success via face values and a 6 will be a cheaper, automatic route. I was thinking about 8, but 9, which is just slightly lower than average for 3d6 (it’s actually 3.5 + 3.5 + 3.5 = 10.5), seems like a good number to start with. Success through failure requires a minimum of 2 turns, recording 2 dice for failures and 2 dice toward the 11 points needed to pay for the success. This 11 points may go down to 9 as well since we found ourselves struggling to get to 11 quite often.

So, to recap:

  • There is a lot of dice rolling in the game and therefore we need some way to mitigate the bad luck that some people experience with dice.
  • There are a lot of research dice that need something to do if a face that is not a success is rolled. If not, the dice have no real meaning.
  • The point costs for failures is disproportionate after having to wait at least 2 turns to utilize them for a success (of any color).
  • The number of cards that are displayed don’t allow for players to move from tech level to tech level in an appropriate amount of time.
  • There should be a winner at the hour mark or hour and a half mark with a 4-player game. Possibly sooner for 2 and 3 player games.

These are the things I need to fix first, before adding tech abilities, wonders, and achievements.

As I get closer to a game that can be put into “open beta” I will release a rough draft of the rules with instructions on how to set up a game using common components. With any luck, I’ll have a nice, “quick” civ-building game on my hands by then.

Updated: November 25, 2014 — 11:07 am
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