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ubarose
September 23, 2020
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Bots Up Board Game Review

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Letterpress Board Game Review

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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)

Since remote gaming has now become a significant part of how we play board games, we have added a short cut to this forum in the menu on the left.

Limited Components - Board Games Doing More with Less

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11 Aug 2020 00:00 #312980 by oliverkinne
I think the first thing many of us will think...

I have previously written about small box games in my article "Compressed Collections" which can create a lot of gameplay with only a few components. However, even larger box, or big box, games are sometimes very inventive when it comes to using components in a clever way to create more gameplay and possibilities than would otherwise be possible. After all, board games have it much harder when you compare them to computer games. They have a limited number of components that come in a box, even in a large box. So I want to look at how the same components can be used in many different ways.

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11 Aug 2020 12:20 #312981 by Shellhead
The first time I remember seeing cards that could be used as dice was in the Middle-Earth ccg of the '90s. The game used a 2d6 roll to resolve combat and corruption checks and a few other mechanisms, and if you didn't have a couple of six-sided dice handy, you could flip the next card in your deck and ignore everything except a small number ranging in value from 2 to 12 near the center of the right edge of the card. To keep people from "loading the dice" in their deck, the more powerful cards had lower die roll values, while the weaker cards had higher die roll values.

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11 Aug 2020 12:29 #312982 by Msample
UP FRONT used cards as die rolls back in the 80s.
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11 Aug 2020 13:38 #312986 by jason10mm
Awesome article. I emailed it to the offices of Fantasy Flight Games and I think I can hear their laughter from 4 states away :)

Best use of a game box was some random zombie game where you dropped dice onto a picture of a snarling zombie to see if you hit it.

Conservation and consolidation of components also contributes to concise and quick game set up and often conveys considerable rules depth cleanly and conceptually without confusion.

I.e. You don't need to be told that cards represent life if you just know that no cards equals game over.

Sometimes though it leads to too much nuance or clutter if one component has a lot of contextual meanings or information so it can be taken too far sometimes.
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11 Aug 2020 14:48 #312988 by the_jake_1973
The Dungeoneer series was a pretty tidy adventure game that used flat stock components and a variable map setup. Nice PVP type game in a portable format.

Gentlemen Thieves uses the game box as a fold out play area. Appealing art design as well.

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11 Aug 2020 15:10 #312989 by SebastianBludd
I prefer dice for combat unless the game wants to represent a range of results beyond the simple binary of live or die. I like Runewars' card combat where units can be forced to retreat to an adjacent area and it makes you consider unit matchups a little.

When it comes to multifunction tokens, one is unlikely to find many better examples than Horrified. The item tokens that seed the map have a numeric value, a color, and a location, and each of those pieces of info is used in clever ways when fighting the six monsters you might face.
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11 Aug 2020 16:24 #312990 by Jexik
I like how Root's combat system uses just two dice with minimal modifiers. It's fast and clean. With the exception of the Vagabond, nearly every faction does all of its asymmetric wildness with the same deck of cards. I feel like other companies or designers have made similar systems much more complicated or included more decks of cards for everything.

I like how both Summoner Wars and Race for the Galaxy use the cards in your hand as currency. Both games have few other pieces.

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12 Aug 2020 10:31 #313015 by Gregarius
I was immediately impressed with how Dice Forge allowed you to physically change your dice throughout the game. I think some LEGO games used that device first, but I think it's very clever.

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12 Aug 2020 12:10 #313018 by SebastianBludd
Another way dice can be used is by having custom faces with multiple symbols. I'm not a big fan of Descent but I like how the dice for it include a number for attack range, hearts for damage, and lightning bolts to represent hero and monsters' surge abilities.

They also convey metagame information by virtue of being multicolored, with different probabilities for range, damage and number of surges based on their color. Once you're familiar with the dice you can just look at the number and colors of them listed on a weapon or monster card to instantly get an idea of its abilities.

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