Saturday, January 13, 2024

Pick Up and Deliver on one piece of paper

Having finally gotten around to playing all twelve of the Legends of Dsyx games, I then went back to the very first one I tried: Gryphon Delivery Service.

Almost all the games involve mucking about with a grid of some sort or another. GDS is one of the exceptions to that rule. It is a solitaire Roll-and-Move Roll-and-Write Print-and-Play Pick-Up-and-Deliver game.

It’s when I write sentence like that that I remember what one of my gaming gurus told me: ‘Jargon interferes with communication’ Of course, he was talking about corporate life but the rule still applies to gaming.

Okay, the board is a track marked with spaces that let you pick up goods, sell goods or have random events go off. You effectively have three pawns, the gryphons who are delivering stuff. Roll four dice and assign three of them. You write the letter of the gryphon in the space you move it to and no other gryphon can land there. Game ends when one gryphon completes the track.

And there are other little touches. You can choose to not deliver an item but instead increase the price of the item. Raising the demand, I assume. Each product has a special ability that you can use instead of selling it. Each gryphon also has some special abilities, the most annoying being a speed bonus since there are times when you want to mosey up the track.

My opinion of Gryphon has actually improved since my earlier plays. One of my problems with it was how short the game is. You burn through that track pretty quickly and doing your best to pump the brakes is pretty key.

Revisiting it, it think the short track actually forces the game to be tight. Every decision makes a major difference and forces you to make the most of every special ability. Gryphon isn’t Steam on one piece of paper but it is a decent puzzler of a game. Between the number of options and the randomness of the dice, I think there’s a lot of replay value.

(That said, I would like to see the core mechanics expanded to a bigger PnP Pick Up and Deliver game)

Gryphon Delivery Service was my entry point to the Legends of Dsyx. I have described the series as trying to fit a boxed game into a sheet of paper. Gryphon does that better than any other game in the series.

(And I just picked up Postmark Games’ Voyages so I guess I’ll be looking at another PnP R&W Pick Up and Deliver game soon)

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