Designing myNo

myNo is a hybrid game, conceived as a cross between the real-time pattern recognition of Set, the rolling and scoring of Yahtzee, and the fast-paced momentum of Pounce. I wanted to use a lot of dice, and I wanted the game to be really quick, playable in under twenty minutes.

I knew immediately that players should be throwing dice in rapid succession into the center of the table, and yelling out to take dice from the growing pile. I considered this to be the ideal player behavior, and wanted to design around this scenario.

I also wanted to have players looking for certain patterns in the dice, but wanted each player to be looking for unique patterns. In that way, one player collecting a pattern may or may not affect another player's ability to do so. I decided that an initial round of dice rolls could determine each player's number, which relates to the patterns they're looking for.

The number 1 was eliminated from potential player numbers as it was too easy to score high on Multiple. 2-6 all appear to be fairly balanced in terms of their advantages and disadvantages in scoring for Sum and Multiple.

Early playtesting revealed a lot of problems with communicating the rules, as well as with the benefits of certain now-antiquated mechanics, like point reductions for additional dice on the table when claiming. Having the dice pool slowly diminish as dice are claimed, rather than resetting it, created an incentive to claim dice early, which is at odds with the desire to wait for the best possible combination.

The subtle, shallow dynamic of risk and reward keeps the game afloat, in my opinion. Unfortunately, playtesting of this title was limited by a lack of willing bodies, making the design process a bit like shooting in the dark. I would've liked to have tested the game's mechanics at a few more stages, and am concerned that the design may have suffered because of this. An imminent move to San Francisco will avail me of more potential playtesters and gaming buddies, so hopefully future games will undergo a few more iterations than myNo.

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