16 October 2008

How Dice Became Extinct

By Corey Konieczka

What about those white cubes with the black dots?


Close your eyes and imagine…
On second thought, open your eyes, read the following, and imagine…
After waiting 15 years, your local game store calls you to let you know that your copy of Warrior Knights has arrived! Heart pounding, you drive like a madman to pick up your bounty. Finally, you arrive and with shaking hands transfer green paper for the Holy Grail that sits before you. You somehow manage to control your shaking as you rip off the shrink wrap and inhale the intoxicating smell of fresh printing. You pull out the components and bask in the beauty of the cards and plastic when suddenly, panic strikes. After all the waiting, something is missing from your copy!
“Where are those white cubes with the black dots?” You scream out.
The friendly shop keeper chimes in “You mean dice? The new Warrior Knights doesn’t use dice.”
Relief pours over your body as you realize that your copy isn’t defective, and everything you need has been included.
Of course now that you’ve read this, you will avoid the inevitable panic that could lead to harmful stress. Before you thank me for saving you from chronic heart problems, do me a favor and let me tell you the famous bedtime story of:
How the Dice Became Extinct
by Corey Konieczka
Long ago, a comet crashed into the land of Warrior Knights, raising clouds of dust that blocked out the sun for generations. Slowly the dice population decreased and eventually completely vanished from the land. That comet was none other than modern game design legend Bruno Faidutti. A devout fan of the classic Warrior Knights, Bruno and his good friend Pierre Cléquin were the first to work on the new Warrior Knights. They crafted the idea of using cards to determine any and all random data that needed to be chosen.
For example, let us say that we needed to determine which Noble gets struck by a sudden illness.
Oh, I’m sorry Baron Thomas Edmund Maddar, it appears that Sir Hugh Murrey is too ill to come out and play today, perhaps tomorrow.
Or let’s say that we were determining which city was suddenly struck by plague. In that case the good old city of Jersusalem better make sure their rodent population is under control.
In either of the above cases, players would have a chance to alter, or even cancel these events if they had saved up enough Faith to protect themselves.
“But what about combat?” you ask.
Please don’t interrupt. I was just about to get to that.
Using Bruno’s fate cards, and adding more information, we formulated a way to create a diceless combat that was not deterministic and left players with options.
At the start of each battle, players get dealt a hand of fate cards based upon the size of their armies. Each player then has to decide carefully which cards they wish to use. After discarding two cards, both players reveal their hand and the outcome is determined.
All fate cards have four possible combat results printed on them. They are: “Deal 100 Casualties,” “Prevent 100 Casualties,” “1 Victory,” or “Draw 1 Fate.”
First, any “Draw 1 Fate” cards are replaced with the next card from the top of the deck. Then both players take casualties. For each 100 casualties their opponent plays that is not prevented, each player must assign casualties to their Nobles. Should both Nobles still be alive and kicking, the player with the most Victories wins the battle.
If a player wins with 1 more victory than his or her opponent, it is a partial victory and the loser retreats, running for the hills. If a player wins by 2 or more victories, it is a total victory and the opposing Noble is slain and their forces crushed under the might of their opponent.
In this fashion, even the smallest of forces can hope to injure a larger force, even though the larger force will most likely win the battle.
There you have it, a history lesson, a design article, and a peak at what Warrior Knights is all about. So now when you crack open your case of Warrior Knights and it is devoid of cubes, you’ll know what to do. And remember, knowing is half the battle.

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