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120 votes
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Is it possible to design a two player game of skill with absolutely no luck?

By Zermelo's Theorem, every 2 player game has one of the following: Chance Hidden information (this also includes simultaneous moves) Either first or second player has a strategy that will guarantee ...
Benjamin Cosman's user avatar
74 votes
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Why is Agricola named as such?

“Agricola” is the Latin word for “farmer” (dictionary). It is derived from “ager” (“field”) and “-cola” (“-tiller”, “-cultivator”). “Agriculture” shares the same root, and so does “acre” (albeit ...
RemcoGerlich's user avatar
  • 2,488
54 votes
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How can showing the least number of fingers be used to determine who goes first?

I believe the crucial word that is missing is "unique": The person who displayed the lowest unique number of fingers went first. i.e. if two players both showed one finger, they would be &...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
41 votes

Is it possible to design a two player game of skill with absolutely no luck?

I find it a bit odd to include the first move advantage in chess as an element of luck -- it assumes that luck is involved in choosing the color, but that choice isn't usually seen as part of the game,...
RemcoGerlich's user avatar
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27 votes

Is it possible to design a two player game of skill with absolutely no luck?

Consider the game of go, where Black starts, but White gets a number of points (the komi) to balance the advantage of Black's first move. Now, of course this may still not lead to an absolutely ...
ilkkachu's user avatar
  • 912
20 votes

What dice to use in a game that revolves around triangles?

Doing some research shows you will still 5-9 range but it will be slightly more when you are using d4. Now if that difference causes a problem that would be up to you to decide. One other thing to ...
Joe W's user avatar
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19 votes
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How to respond to publishers when they ask for rules?

Send the rules. Fear of having your idea copied/stolen is a uniquely amateur mentality. Daniel Solis (designer) and Gil Hova (publisher who references other publishers) cover the topic well in their ...
The Chaz 2.0's user avatar
  • 3,486
16 votes
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How have coop board games prevented a player(s) from taking over decision making

Simultaneous choice is another method of forcing players to stumble over each other a bit. Space Hulk Death Angel uses this to great effect - players have to choose between their available actions, ...
Andrew Vandever's user avatar
15 votes

Can a Player who has forfeited win the game?

Why the phrasing "conceded to X"? A person just concedes, states they will not win. They don't get to pick who wins. Whoever has the most points wins. You can't win by giving up when you ...
Kate Gregory's user avatar
13 votes

Is it possible to design a two player game of skill with absolutely no luck?

The card game "Set" may qualify. (Your requirements are awfully stringent but also not precisely defined, so you may disagree on a technicality—but I believe it fits.) It's described as the "Family ...
Wildcard's user avatar
  • 313
12 votes
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Handling multiple "timers" on the board and player mat

There are several ways to implement timers in board games Tokens. Games like Paper Tales or Pixel Tactics (starting from 2nd set) use addition/removal of tokens from game components to track passage ...
Deo's user avatar
  • 3,226
12 votes

What dice to use in a game that revolves around triangles?

In general, rolling more, smaller dice will give a narrower range of possible answers and a distribution that's more concentrated around the average value, compared to rolling fewer, larger dice. This ...
David Richerby's user avatar
11 votes

What kind of paper can I use for a game card?

If you are looking to prototype a game there are really three options, you'll want to weigh Expense vs Effort vs Polish. Obviously if you are just playtesting (especially early in the process) Polish ...
aslum's user avatar
  • 4,766
11 votes

Is there a method that gets beneficial diminishing returns when adding more dice, yet stays random?

You're actually asking two questions: How can I design a function that computes a result on a dice roll that gives asymptotically decreasing benefit to adding more dice? How can I have a system ...
Zags's user avatar
  • 18k
10 votes

Is it possible to design a two player game of skill with absolutely no luck?

For perfect symmetry, you need both players to have the same opportunity to make moves. This suggests that either: Players play the game twice, rotating the first player position between them, with ...
ConMan's user avatar
  • 11.5k
10 votes

Is it possible to design a two player game of skill with absolutely no luck?

Yes, 2 games of chess! After the first game players switch sides and play again. The slight advantage is completely removed. The premise in the middle of the OP is incorrect and irrelevant.
Octopus's user avatar
  • 283
10 votes
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How to randomly choose a hex tile

The best way to deal with variable count randomization is to use a drawing bag Create two sets of tiles. Whenever you add a tile to the board, add its copy to a drawing bag. Now whenever you need ...
Arcanist Lupus's user avatar
9 votes

How to make sure a player will not draw their own character card as target?

A game with a similar mechanic is Lifeboat. In that game normally you get points if your target dies, but if your target is yourself then instead you are a "psychopath" and get points for anyone who ...
Benjamin Cosman's user avatar
9 votes
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Balancing a Momentum Mechanic

I can imagine this system working better if implemented as an additional layer to the general action system, rather than a standalone concept of managing actions - let me outline what I have in mind: ...
TheThirdMan's user avatar
  • 9,291
9 votes
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How do I (self) publish a pencil and paper game?

If your game doesn't need any materials (or those would be more easily to come by on their own, such as graph paper), I would suppose the elements of your game you're trying to ship would be the rules....
TheThirdMan's user avatar
  • 9,291
9 votes

Picking colors for an abstract game (game design)

If it's only for two players, you're in luck. Chess and Go are both over a thousand years old, and both use the classic combination of Black and White. If you insist on having a colour, though, you ...
monoRed's user avatar
  • 2,708
9 votes
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Board games involving players' consensus for who wins?

For starters, you cannot objectively have the scoring based on precision, cleanliness, etc. Players will vote however they want, which - depending on the system you use to collect votes - can allow ...
The Chaz 2.0's user avatar
  • 3,486
8 votes
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How to make sure a player will not draw their own character card as target?

Get cards corresponding to pairs of targets and killers, and arrange the pairs so that the target card is above the corresponding killer card. E.g. Each killer and target pair is designated by a ...
Floyd Navarro's user avatar
8 votes
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Mechanic for secret actions in a card game

I'll illustrate with a five-player example. It is player A's turn. Based on my reading, I am assuming the following things. Are these assumptions correct? Players B, C, D and E each play a card ...
Mike R's user avatar
  • 1,421
8 votes

Fairness of Cowry Shells as Dice

This has been a problem since the days when dice, hand-carved out of sheep's knucklebones, could never be considered mathematically fair. Historically, there have been two principal ways of improving ...
Tim Lymington's user avatar
8 votes

Is it possible to design a two player game of skill with absolutely no luck?

A game that may fit your constraints: Goofspiel, also known as GOPS - Game of Pure Strategy, for 2 or more players. Goofspiel is played using cards from a standard deck of cards, and is typically a ...
Matt B.'s user avatar
  • 81
8 votes

How can I refer to specific hexes on a hex board?

There is no standard way, but as it's a two-dimensional grid you can easily project a coordinate system on it. You can either go in a 90° angle then every second row or column is offset for one half ...
Andreas Hüttig's user avatar
8 votes

Does this mining mechanic add genuine choice to my game?

Instead of modeling you can compute these results exactly. If you roll n dice at difficulty d, the variance will be [d * n * (d-1)/6 * (7-d)/6], and the mean net gain will be [d * n * (7-d)/6 - 1]. ...
Benjamin Cosman's user avatar
8 votes

Handling multiple "timers" on the board and player mat

Not sure if this is the right way to offer a suggestion I have thought of myself for feedback, but... A time bar Labelled 0-5 or so, various items are put on the time bar, and everything is brought ...
Hypergardens's user avatar
7 votes

Handling multiple "timers" on the board and player mat

I would recommend building your own timer out of something like card stock with spinning wheel, something similar to the design below (pardon the MSPaint): The Bottom layer: The base of the Timer, it ...
Malco's user avatar
  • 7,692

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