A Non-random Randomizer

mona lisa dice

I recently got around to reading The Warren by Marshall Miller. The Warren is a Powered by the Apocalypse game based on rabbit fiction like Watership Down. It has some really elegant design. My very favorite bit – and what inspired this post –  is the Compete move. For those who don’t know (and really, you should) when two players compete they both hide a d6 in their hand and simultaneously reveal it. If one has a higher value, that player gets their way and chooses one of the two values as the stress that both players’ characters take.  If it’s a tie, they both take stress and no one wins.

I absolutely love how this move uses dice in a non-random way! I posted about this to Google Plus and John Aegard mentioned that Riddle of Steel had a different non-random dice mechanic. Competing players held a red or white die in your hand and revealed it simultaneously with their opponent. A red die is an attack, a white die is a defense and undefended attacks succeed automatically.

This got me thinking. How else could dice be used in a non-random manner?

  • Fate dice voting. + is yay, – is nay, 0 is abstain.
  • Rock, paper, scissors with +,-,0
  • Can they be used like mission cards in the Resistance? How would you keep the anonymity, though?
  • Contempt that counts down from 6 to 0. What happens at 0?!
  • A rating scale to indicate a desire, like how my wife and I rate how much we want to eat at a particular restaurant.
  • As the gauges and dials of a machine in the game
  • Dice as counters to track changeable stats.
  • Stacking them up. The harder the task, the higher you have to stack them. Sort of an anti-Jenga (and not entirely non-random, I know).

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