This Drinkin' Dragons design puzzle is endlessly frustrating and fun.
It would be for kiddies, so it would not be for adults. It includes
alcohol and its effects, so it would not be for kiddies.
New idea. Say you've got a grid of drinks, 7 x 7 or 8 x 8, with circles showing individual drinks, face down. It's a memory game. That's not a great idea, so far.
Dragons competing to consume drinks is weird, and in any case not working. What about a co-operative game? So
Co-operative (cooperative, whatever)
Grid of individual drinks, face down
a memory game
maybe, sometimes, a bit of route planning
Think of how this would work, everyone travelling around 1-3 spaces helping everyone else with tips about
where to find drinks. Some drinks would be
more common than others, e.g. black coffee vs. kofola.
Running into a drink that is wrong for various reasons (allergy, lactose intolerance, just don't drink tea, coffee, alcohol) is something to be worked out, but for now it means you lose a turn. There will be a system where once an alcoholic drink is consumed, the character can't fly ("Don't drink and fly") and can't communicate for a time. By can't communicate I mean no speech or body language about locations and desired drinks, although you can babble about irrelevant things like popes, politicians and pugilism.
Back to the fun business of themed characters/dragons.
Marcello gets cinotto and has coffee rules (espresso at any time, cappucino only before turn x).
Ivan gets Russian drinks (maybe general, kvas and social vodka). Russian drinks include vodka, kvas, tarragon drink and Baikal. When consuming vodka socially Ivan must give a toast.
Sonny and Sandy are a couple of characters who like Caribbean products, but one is more alcohol-friendly.
Connie the connoisseur is more inclined to get obscure drinks.
Helga the health nut. She gets things like carrot juice, purple corn juice and green tea. She avoids coffee and alcohol. Avoid the root beer float. (Tracking calories is not being done)
Anne has anaphylaxis. This character should carry a physical EpiPen in hand while flipping/revealing a drink with the same hand. If you happen to run into peanut punch without the epipen, you are out of the game.
The coffee addict gets coffee three times (probably general, specific and social). This dragon must get a coffee first before registering anything else.
Arnoldo the alcoholic gets three alcoholic drinks (probably general, specific and social).
Sindy likes wine. I'm not thrilled with putting alcohol and friendliness together, but we'll sort something out.
A Friendly Fred character who has three drinks with others. Which drinks?
Arcticus, who likes hot drinks (general, hot chocolate and social). Neat name.
With all this talk about alcohol, note that alcoholic drinks are only a little
minority of the drinks, and players will try to avoid alcoholic drinks. Most
of the drinks are exotic things like guarana.
It turns out it's easy to say memory game, but I didn't think through what that entails.
John finds Sorrel, at location C5. Samantha needs sorrel. Samantha goes to sorrel. Steve finds purple corn juice. Keith needs purple corn juice. Keith goes to purple corn juice. Steve finds coffee. Sally needs coffee. Sally goes to coffee. That does not sound like a fun game.
Let's try a combination of these rules:
Dragons fly around for the first nine turns. They take a look around, but nothing is being consumed, and we don't yet know what to get. But after all that flying around, dragons become thirsty.
On the tenth turn players find out their character. We don't yet know all the drinks that will be sought, but we know that Jittery Jack is going to want some coffee (and soon!), Ivan is inclined to get Russian drinks and Helga likes healthful stuff. Revealing characters late is mechanically nice, but a little odd for players.
After that other drinks are desired both incrementally and randomly. Hey Sam, where do you think that tea was?
I think there should be a way to count the number of turns, for more than one
You get your drinks by yourself. However, every once in a while you
are instructed to, say, go for coffee with someone, share the same space at the
same time (which raises practical questions). Oddly, this really just works for coffee, tea and alcohol.
I'm thinking character sheets that have n number (six or seven) of empty spots that will be filled with desired drinks. The character has n cards specific to the character, random order, face down. Some way of revealing cards during certain turns. As instructed, during turn ten you take one of the random cards, turn it face up and put it in the first empty spot on the character's sheet. Maybe the card instructs you to randomly select any drink, and that will be the drink you desire. It turns out you want to get tea (which is more likely than dandelion and burdock). Drinks do not have to be consumed in order. Well .. the coffee drinker has a bit of a schedule. Something can be worked out.
During Helga's fifteenth turn her card says she should randomly select a drink
from a list of healthful drinks. Or she is instructed to specifically get
On the twentieth turn Arnoldo the alcoholic is instructed to go for a drink (alc) with someone else.
On the 22nd turn Marcello the Italian turns over a card which instructs him to randomly select any drink, which turns out to be banana milk.
Connie the connoisseur's card instructs her to randomly select a drink, but duplicates are removed from the drinks to be selected, so tea is not more likely than dandelion and burdock. The connoisseur is not a friend of alcohol.
Ordinary Ed(uardo) is instructed to randomly select a drink, again. Ed is allergic to pineapples.
Marcello is instructed to get cinotto. No randomness there.
Tina the tea drinker is instructed to get a random drink.
Sindy is instructed to get wine. Sindy is both friendly and wine friendly. She is later instructed to drink wine with someone else. She also consumes a root beer float with someone else.
One of the coffee addict's three cards that have coffee also states that he misses the next turn because he has to pee. Odds are this will not be used because it is a disgusting business. Thematic though. For this turn the player is unable to communicate, as he is occupied. Maybe I will do it.
So should we use a grid? For now, officially, we are using a big ring of 64 drink positions. This has a grab bag of advantages. Dragons would fly far. Circles are pleasant. This would allow space for dragon figures.
There are other possible layouts. There could be a triangular layout, with
10 or 11 rows. There are possible layouts with a line, usually a closed loop.
We looked at the trees. Let's look at the forest. A dragon looks for six* drinks, a co-operative memory game for a few players with a big ring of 64 face down drinks. How long would a game last? Would it be good? Would people like it? Only one way to find out. (I know I would like it because of the drinks)
*Six or seven. I like six, three specialised and three not.
Do dragons drink from flagons? Dragons and Flagons is an alternate name.
However, it doesn't make so much sense when you think about it. Have you
ever seen a dragon drinking mauby from a flagon?
He seems excited.
Drinkin' Dragons will not be produced, give or take, and probably shouldn't.
The layout/setup is bugging me. There is a number of considerations:
1. Practical. Is it a hassle to set up? Too big? Can more than one dragon go to the same spot?
2. Thematic. There is what I call "the dragon flight problem". Do dragons fly in any direction they want, or must they follow a prescribed terrestrial path? Note that the theme of the game is weird, implausible, hard to picture.
3. Are there decisions to be made with regard to the path you take? This would help to make the game fun.
4. Is there a numeric way to remember where a drink is? "Aloe is at 19". I don't want that. I'll call this "the counting problem". Is the counting problem really a problem?
5. Is it aesthetically nice? Does it sit well with you?
There are many options for setup/layout. They are each intriguing, and each have that annoying problem or two. Line, straight or wavy or dragon, on a board or not. Circle, spiral, infinite sympbol, that symbol you see on Finnish penni coins. Grids, 8 x 8 square, triangle, hexagon. Freeform, where you toss upside down drinks fairly randomly on a table.
Freeform is easy to set up, dragons fly where they want, no counting problem, and there is room for multiple dragons. But there is the route decisions problem.
I'm looking at towns, clumps of drinks. You spend your turn either trying a drink in the town, or flying to another town.
Seems thematically nice.
You can't just fly to the town that has carrot juice; you travel from town to town in a ring around the table.
There is, from my perspective anyway, another issue with Drinkin' Dragons. That is the tedious matter of setting things up, specifically choosing desired drinks. For example, on the 17th turn (which is itself probably random)
for Ivan you choose a card telling you what to do for the next desired drink. This card says you have to pull out, from a full set of cards, the non-alcoholic Russian drinks, then choose one randomly. Or for Connie the connoisseur you get all types of drinks from a full set of cards, but
no duplicates, then choose one randomly.
There is a number of options for doing this. I'm showing my lack of experience with normal games here.
1. Just do that, at the right time.
2. Have a non-player administrator do this. It could be done during the game, or set up before the game.
3. Have an app for this. I'm in no rush to go down the road of apps again, and anyway this is a board game, not about devices.
"For example, on the 17th turn". Let's try something different.
At the beginning of each turn you roll, oh, a six-sided die. If you roll a six/flagon, your character is randomly chosen at that point. For subsequent turns, a six/flagon means one of your desired drinks is randomly chosen.
This means keeping track of the number of turns is not done.
Which means we have a little issue with Marcello's coffee. He can have cappuccino, but only in the morning.
Should players get their characters sooner or later? If it's sooner it's better thematically, but later it's better for game play.
You don't wake up some day and find out you're Jamaican mon. You don't wake up one day and find out you have anaphylaxis. So what about that peanut punch you landed on a few turns ago? It would be neat and tidy to find out your character at the beginning of the game.
But there's an argument in favour of revealing characters later. It's complicated, but the game is about Jim asking Johnnie about his hazy memory of kvas in the past. Was it in west Steveville?
In the end we will go with establishing characters at the beginning of the game.
(talking to myself here)
Should there be one Caribbean character or two? In the end it will be one, for all those nice Caribbean drinks. But two characters, one more alcohol-friendly, are not going down without a fight. For one thing the two names Sonny and Sandy are great.
Nah, it'll be Sonny and Sandy.
Here is a new approach to Drinkin' Dragons. Competitive, face up circular drinks, 8 x 8 board. Dice are used to show the exact orthogonal distance you move, and you can choose direction and if you move. When you move from a position the drink is consumed and it disappears from the position (like beach buttons), so players' options will progressively decrease. I think this would be a good, workable game. There would be a fair amount of decisions to make, taking different things into consideration, there would also be the luck of dice rolls, and maybe some player interaction. Thumbs up.
- I have a soft spot for using four one/zero dice, with their particular statistics.
- The majority of turns would involve rolling dice and doing nothing.
- The game ends when players agree to end it.
- The starting positions for dragons and the holy grail are determined with eight-sided dice.
- Players choose which character they want to be. Your character would not be secret ("Aren't you allergic to that?"). The desired drinks are probably secret, although things would be easier if they are not secret.
- Having a drink with another dragon is tricky. Maybe both players get a point.
- Dragons can fight if they are on the same position. Roll a six-sided die to see who wins, the attacker wins ties. The loser would not be able to do anything for four turns - after the winner moves from the position. Note that while dragons could fight, that doesn't mean they would. Do dragons fight for possession of the holy grail, to get that extra point?
- So it's shaping up that the player with the most points at the end wins. You get a point by consuming one of your six desired drinks (three themed for the character, three not), having a drink with another player in a specific situation, and possessing the holy grail.
- Are we using an endless board, like beach buttons? Unlikely. This would be weird, hard to picture, and your head would hurt if you think about the theme. On the other hand, a normal board would have a bald spot in the middle, while an endless board has an evenness to it.
What do we do about bad drinks? If you don't drink, e.g. tea, you can't land on
that bad drink.
If you land on
alcohol you can continue to fly around and drink, but you can't communicate meaningfully,
speech or body language,
for four turns. Drunk dragons lose ties in fights. Someone who has a coffee who also
has a bad die roll (one in three) will be preoccupied during the next turn, going to the bathroom, so can't move or communicate for the next turn. Allergy or lactose intolerance
probably means you miss the next four turns. If you land on a peanut product and you
have anaphylaxis you are out.
Setting up what the desired drinks are is an administrative mess. For Ivan, maybe you are asked to randomly select from Russian drinks. For Connie the connoisseur you are asked to randomly select from all possible drinks but with no duplicates. A way to avoid this administrative mess is to do something online, but using programming is something we want to avoid. We could solve this by using tables. A roll of the dice shows that you are using row 23 on the spreadsheet page of the rules, and row 23 shows all six desired drinks.
Here is another trick to make things easier. There are Z circular drinks, say 150,
that could go on the board, with only one Baikal but at least four black coffees.
We will have Y = 64 drinks on the 8 x 8 board. X = 24, one each of all 24 possible drinks. All X drinks should be represented on the board
We will make the X circular drinks easy to spot by putting a dot on the back side.
You randomly choose the other (Y - X = ) 40 drinks from the remaining face down drinks.
Kofola and serbat wangi are so rare they don't have a dot, so being Connie the connoisseur
can be frustrating.
Different options for dice. Six sided, x sided, multiple dice, various numbers
on the sides.
This is probably not going to fly. Not enough choice.
(Traditional games work because you have a choice of which piece to move.)
There is a list of new possibilities to pursue, mostly failures. This one is relatively promising:
You roll a die to see the exact distance you may move, like before. You don't win the game
by consuming your desired drinks, but you gain an extra die to roll once you consume one of your desired drinks, increasing your movement options. What determines the winner is who possesses the holy grail at the end of the game.
This is bad because there will be a runaway winner, the opposite of a catch up mechanism. Does this solve the problem of an absence of choice? Rolling a die to see the exact distance a dragon can move is not something one associates with dragons, but I don't think much can be done about this issue.
This is good because it is broadly great for theme. A player can hit the desired drinks to improve mobility in a virtuous circle, but this will come at the expense of getting the holy grail, which is how you win. Luck is always a factor. When you have the holy grail all the other dragons will try to attack you. The geography, movement options will become increasingly challenging for all dragons.
Dice are nice. It bugs me that I want to get four possibilities on a six-sided die,
They are also not very visible. These practical problems are gone if you draw
cards instead. But dice are nice.
Do we care about direction options in addition to distance?
So you're in the middle of the game with two or three dice for directions, and two or three dice for distance.
During a turn you may reroll some or all of your dice, maybe keeping some dice unrolled
for options, future moves.
Permutations, possibilities, planning. Target options. Other dragons are doing whatever. A disappearing board. A bad drink over there.
During your turn, after rolling some dice, you may move your dragon, with one die showing direction and another die showing exact distance.
You take the two dice used for the move and put them in a different place, like a little bowl. They are still very much your dice, but they will have to be rerolled before they can be used again.
Tinkering with the numbers. Four parts 1, four parts 2, three parts 3, two parts 4. Have fun putting that on a die.
You are green dragon. X shows desired drinks. Dot shows the holy grail.
Are you supposed to have a drink with another dragon, perhaps beer? Is there more than one
flagon for one of your desired drinks? Does the holy grail happen to be located on a desired drink? Does another dragon also want the Peardrax?
The alternate name for Drinkin' Dragons is Dragons and Flagons.
This is for three or four players. Having a drink together doesn't work with only two players.
Dragons go for desired drinks, they might co-operate with each other, they could go for the holy grail. Later in the game it is a scramble with dragons chasing down the dragon with the holy grail and fighting.
When you consume a desired drink, you get one additional die for your turns. Your choice of direction or distance, maximum of four for each.
the Dice Shop at mathartfun.com
There are 13-sided dice. Who knew?
Before I forget:
Sandy might be inclined to sing Caribbean songs, especially when drunk.
Add Vietnamese coffee. No dot, so rare. The lactose intolerant dragon should watch out.