Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Not every PnP can be a gem

GenCan’t Roll and Write Library - Dungeon Map 4d6

While the theme of Dungeon Map 4d6 is designing your own dungeon, it’s really about using dice to form patterns on a grid. It’s a solitaire game where you just have to print off the grid and add some dice.

You start off with eight by six grid with each square being a three by three grid. Each turn, you roll the four dice and put them into a contiguous four-square shape. You then fill in squares to match the pips. Like a one being the center of a three by three square. The mapping ends when you run out of playable space.

You then score points for different patterns, like corridors or isolated boxes of four smaller squares. Since it’s a solitaire game with a very variable scoring, you just try and beat your high score.

Okay. I found Dungeon Map 4d6 to be a mediocre game. The mechanics work and you do have actual decisions to make but it doesn’t do anything interesting or innovative. 

The disconnect between the game and the theme is actually one of my biggest problems. You don’t end up with a map of a dungeon. You end up with what looks like a rummage sale of dungeon parts. I honestly might like the game more if it was purely an abstract symbol maker.

While I was playing, I kept thinking of other games like How to Host a Dungeon or Mosaix and, quite frankly, how those games addressed individual elements better. Host will let you create an organically grown dungeon and Mosaix does a much better job creating patterns with dice.

Over the last few years, I’ve made and  played a decent number of Print and Play games and Roll and Write ones in particular this year. And, I have to say that the quality in both graphics and mechanics has really grown since I first started looking into PnP. Which means the bar has really gotten higher.

Dungeon Map 4d6’s biggest virtue is its minimalism but there are games that do that better. And using pips to draw is an interesting idea that is worth exploring. However, if the game had come up much earlier in my personal PnP experiences, I think it would hold up better.

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