Friday, August 11, 2017

Evaluating Roll and Write games

While I have had an interest in PnP Roll and Write games for years, the Spiel Press kicked my interest in them up a couple notches. Then GenCan't basically dropped a library of them in my lap :D 

So as someone who is currently interested in casual games and whose interest in PnP has just been increasing, I have a feeling that I will be exploring this particular medium for the next few months.

So I have asked myself what am I looking for in a PnP Roll and Write Game, other than fun? I decided that the three most important elements are interesting choices, interesting mechanics (innovative is too loaded a term) and interaction.

Interesting choices is the most important thing that I am looking for. Because, quite frankly, I have played some games like this that actually haven't had any choices. Just roll the dice and see what happens. I want to have some agency in the game and some control over what happens.

I realize that this is a really basic requirement. However, since I have seen it not met, it is definitely one that I think needs to be addressed.

Mechanics, that comes down to this. A lot of the Roll and Write games I've seen harken back to Yahtzee and Take It Easy. And that's not a knock. Yahtzee is a very strong engine and I adore Take It Easy. However, seeing the game that breaks out of those frameworks is really cool.

Interaction is related to that. Both Yahtzee and Take It Easy are literally multi-player solitaire, unless you're playing by yourself. In that case, they're literally solitaire. Again, that's not a knock. We are talking about games that I have really enjoyed and had an easy time getting other folks to enjoy. For instance, I've had a lot of success with Wurfel Bingo.

However, interaction and direct conflict would definitely add some spice. I already have a nice selection of Roll and Write Games that are multi-player solitaire. Having something that I can print out and then go head-to-head would add additional options and audiences to the PnP library.

I have started to go through the GenCan't library and I'll probably blog my thoughts about them. It will be interesting to see how far I go through the library and what I discover.

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