Monday, October 4, 2021

My September R&W

 I have to wonder if I hadn’t gotten into the habit writing about learning and examining Roll and Writes, if I would be trying out so many new ones. Because I know part of the reason I pushed myself last month was so I could write something. :D

Near the start of the month, I tried out a game called Runner. It is quite literally a video game platformer as a R&W. And the game basically breaks down to ‘Roll high and you’ll do well. Roll low and you’ll do poorly’

But… it wasn’t even a contest entry, let alone a published product. It is just a little something someone noodled up and decided to share with the world. So my real reaction is ‘Thanks for sharing, dude’

And that looked like what my month of game learning would be. However, in the last week of September, I got an itch to learn more. So I went back to Robin Jarvis’s Legends of Dsyx series. It’s been over a year since I last tried one of them.

I view the Legends of Dsyx as an interesting experiment. It is a series of twelve games and they all fall on the board game side of the Roll and Write spectrum as opposed to checking boxes or writing in numbers (Not that they aren’t great games in that category). Each game fits on a sheet of paper, rules and all. Which is near and convenient but also kind of scrunches the games both physically and mentally.

This time, I tried Lockpicks and Hall of the Dwarven King. 

Lockpicks is one of the later games but it may be the simplest. You are drawing a line through grids, having to stop at specific squares in order to pick the locks of treasure chests. Die rolls determine what kind of lines you can draw. The clever bit is that the loot is where you get all your dice manipulation from.

Hall of the Dwarven King, one of the oldest games in the series, is more  intricate. You are drawing a map of a cave kingdom (drawing maps show up a lot in the series) but the actual mechanics are a half step from worker placement. I’m not sure that there isn’t a single optimal strategy but the process is fun.

My original opinion of the Legends of Dsyx is still there. I can’t help but feel they are more intricate than deep, that their decision tree isn’t as big as it looks. 

At the same time, I really enjoy them and they feel like playing a larger board game on a sheet of paper. The ability to feel like I’ve played a ‘big’ game with just a page or three and under a half hour is a big part of why Roll and Writes work for me. The Legends of Dsyx embodies that so well.

I do wonder what Robin Jarvis would do with two sheets of paper, through.

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