Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More dot, more dot, more dot.

Wendy and I played a game of the newest version of Dot last night.  The original game was very simple to learn but the options you had on any given play weren't all that large so recently I added in more stuff to do to try to make things more complicated to figure out.  Instead of simply having a large number of tiles that are nothing but squares with one to eight dots on each edge every tile has a special ability.  Some of those special abilities are more impactful than others of course, as "Take another turn" is a lot more strategically important than "Shuffle up your tiles and draw a new hand".

I like the new version a lot.  There are only 12 turns in the game so you don't actually do very many things but deciding which thing to do can be very tricky.  You hold 3 tiles in your hand and must pick a location, an orientation and sometimes how to use a special ability on each turn and that is it - the number of decisions is on the same order of magnitude as chess but of course there is an element of luck involved.  The strangest thing about the game to me is how close the scores are.  While I have managed to blow out one person 27-18 it was a really incredible fluke and normally I would expect a game between a veteran and a new player to be more like 20-24 and two veterans would rarely have more than a 2 point spread between their final scores.  I am used to games where people who are losing get half the points of the winner but nothing like that is ever going to happen here.  If you got to a very serious level of play I would expect that at least half the games would be either ties or decided by a single point.

Pictures first, files afterwards:

The picture below is the new board, the the caveat that the text describing the various tile abilities is messed up in this picture for reasons that are complicated and annoying.

This is the picture of the new tiles.

And the full rules (Really short!):

Rules for Dot

The ruler of the City of Dot has died and the race for succession is on.  You are a contender to become the new leader and you must deploy your followers throughout the City of Dot to try to gather more influence than your opponent.  The game is played by placing Tiles that represent each player’s followers on the board to score points. The player with the highest point total at the end of the game is the winner and is declared the new leader of the City of Dot.


To set up the game each player selects a colour and takes all the Tiles and the scoring marker of that colour.  Next each player flips all of their Tiles facedown and draws three Tiles at random to form their starting hand.  Each player’s hand is kept secret from their opponent.  The players randomly determine who will go first after which they alternate turns.  Each player has twelve Tiles and they will play all of those Tiles over twelve turns.  Points are kept track of by moving scoring markers along the scoring track on the board.

Turn Order

1. Play a Tile.  You must choose a Tile from your hand and play it on any empty space on the board.  You may not place a Tile on the middle space.

2. Use Tile Special Ability.  You must use the special ability on the Tile you played.  If it is impossible to obey a special ability it is ignored.  Note that a Tile is adjacent to another Tile if they share a side.  If two Tiles they are diagonal from one another they are not adjacent.

3. Make Attacks.  To attack you check each side of the Tile you played to see if it has more dots than the edge of the board or enemy Tile it is adjacent to.  You may not attack your own Tiles or empty spaces.  For each attack where you have more dots you score one point.  If your Tile is on a space with a Star(+2) in it you score two extra points.

4. Draw a Tile.  You draw a Tile from your reserve if there are any left and pass the turn to your opponent.

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