Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Dog Throw - Die roll usability

This is the first of many blog posts that have been swirling in my head for the last months. Posts about dice and rolls, the math behind them and how to simplify things for the end user, aka players and GM. So my first post is going to be about usability and what I found important when selecting the die rolls for my game.

What is die roll usability? I'd define it as the ease of completing the following three elements:

Learnability : Is the mechanism easy to learn, will the user be able to quickly begin completing the primary, routine tasks? For example attack rolls, skill checks, etc.

Efficiency : How well can the aforementioned tasks be completed? Maybe the mechanism is easy to learn, but requires adding too many numbers which slows down things or too many table lookups.

Adaptability : As much as game designers may work to look into and document every scenario at some point the players and GMs will have to dive in and adapt the game. Is the mechanism clear enough so the players and GMs know what they're doing when they're fiddling with the numbers?

What do you look for in a game's dice mechanics? What makes it a win or lose when it comes to usability on your tabletop?

If you liked the image you can get your dice here:
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