mneme: (Default)
Last year, I wrote (and as far as I know, nobody has ever played, including me) Dreydl to Go -- a straightforward adapation of the traditional Dreydl game that's designed to contain actual gameplay (rather than a completely new game with radically different elements). The primary features of Dreidl are:

1. It's a gambling game.
2. the meanings of the four letters (great, ok, nothing happens, lose).
3. It can be played with a single dreydl that's passed around.

This all seems to lend itself to a push your luck game, where the primary decision you're making is how many times to spin the dreydl, given shifting circumstances.

This year, predictably enough, there are still Jewish gamers who still think that Dreydl is a boring non-game (unsurpisingly; it is) and want people to come up with a plausible alternative. So I feel inspired:

War of Lights

A simple war game, played with a Dreydl, a napkin, and 9 distinct Gelt per player.

You need:

Each player should take 9 gelt of the same color. If you don't have 9 distinct gelt for each player, you can mark them by dripping wax onto the foil, marking them distinctly with a knife -- or simplify slightly by only having each player have five gelt (placed as a horizontal cross).

Everyone also takes a napkin and divides it into 9 squares (ie, in thirds, both ways). Put one piece of gelt on each square of your napkin. All other players do the same.

Terms:
Your napkin is your base.
The center is your spawn point.
Your 4 corners are the exit/entry points.

The game is played in turns (to determine who goes first, have everyone spin the dreydl. The person who spins best (gimmel > hey > nun > shin) goes first; on a tie, the tied players spin again.

On your turn, you can do one of:

1. Move cross-napkin from a corner square to any matching opponent's corner square (1,1 to an opponent's 1,1, etc)
2. Move any piece of yours on a napkin
3. A safe Spawn (on your own napkin).
4. A risky Spawn (on your own napkin).

Moving

Moves are horizontal, diagonal, or corner to matching corner.

Whenever you move into an occupied square, spin the dreydl:

Gimel: eliminate the attacked piece, and your piece must move into the space it occupied.
Hey: eliminate the attacked piece, and your piece does not move.
Nun: Push. Nothing happens.
Shin: The attacking piece is eliminated.

Safe spawns:

To safely spawn, you must either have two pieces on opposite sides of your unoccupied center square (spawn point), and have fewer than your starting number of pieces. Take one of your eliminated pieces and place it on your spawn point.

To riskily spawn, you must have at least one piece adjacent to your spawn point, have fewer than your starting number of pieces, and spin the dreydl.

Gimmel: Spawn a piece on your spawn point, and you may move it to an adjacent empty square.
Hey: Spawn a piece on your spawn point.
Nun: Nothing happens.
Shin: The spawning piece is eliminated (parthinogenesis is risky).

A player is eliminated once they have no pieces left.

The winner of the game is the first player who occupies all (or two if there are more than 3 players in the game) opposing spawn points, or is the last player who still has pieces left.

Obviously, this game is loosely inspired by Andy Looney's Martian Coasters.
mneme: (Default)
Anyone want to playtest this?

Dreidel-to-go (name is a work in progress).

This is a push your luck game played with dreidels.

Setup: For each round, either ante up 5 gelt per player (if playing as a gambling game) or seed the pot with 5 gelt per player. The game is played in turns, with the youngest player going first (or choose a start player randomly).

On your turn:
1. Spin the dreidel exactly three times. If you spin a Gimmel, double your winnings (or gain a single gelt in your winnings if you have none) (not including gelt that have been put aside). If you spin Hey, add a gelt to your winnings. If you spin Nun, nothing happens. Finally, if you spin Shin, put one of your winnings aside (if there are no winnings to put aside, take a gelt and immediately put it aside); if you have three gelt put aside, then your turn immediately ends and your winnings are forfeited (as are gelt that have been put aside) and returned to the pot. If you roll gimmel or hey and the pot is empty, you can put into your winnings gelt from your "put aside" pile.

2. You can choose: either take another turn (go back to 1, but do -not- take your winnings), or take your winnings (but -not- any gelt that have been put aside with Shin; those are returned to the pot).

Play until the pot runs out; players can then play another game/round. (a game may be defined as a certain number of rounds, in which case players who do not play subsequent rounds forfeit the game).

(inspired by [personal profile] nancylebov)
mneme: (Default)
I wrote this for Alarums and Excursions a few months ago but it seems appropriate to post it tonight.

The good player asks, "what are the rules and customs at this table?" To them, you must explain how the game works, both that which is written down and the rules of gaming etiquette and give them all the responsibilities they can handle and your game supports.

The simple player asks "what do I do next?" To them, you must explain only that which is necessary to plan their next move and begin roleplaying in earnest—If you confuse them with too many options, they might cease playing and/or think the rules are the game, rather than the platform for the game.

The wicked player asks,"what can I get away with?" By framing the game as a source of loopholes to abuse they subvert the purpose of the game and attempt to hurt everyone else's play in favor of their own fun, and you should teach them their error—or even exile them from the table—as soon as possible.

As for the player too shy to ask questions, you must treat them gently, but try to draw them into the game, asking them "what are you doing now?" and "what would you like to do next?" In so doing, you can allow them to develop into a productive player whether or not they give up their shell..

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Joshua Kronengold

February 2017

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