The Domino Challenge

edited November 2007 in Game Design Help
Howdy! A friend and I are doing something kinda fun right now, so I thought I would share it with ya'll. The two of us went down to Endgame in Oakland, CA for their 6th Anniversary party on the 27th. My friend, Jeremy Tidwell (who did a lot of the photography for Finis), bought a set of dominoes and jokingly threw down a little challenge. By the time we got back home the next day, we both had some game ideas and decided to seriously challenge ourselves.

The only constraint is that we have to use dominoes in the game. We're giving ourselves the month of November to do it. That won't have the crazy, frenzied designing that other contests have, but we're both looking for something kinda chill.

I'm working on a game I'm tentatively calling War Stories, which is a story game and telling two sides of a war. It's a two-player game where you draw dominoes to set up your various characters in the story, and you play our battles by playing dominoes. Each leg off the spinner represents a different element of a battle, like the front lines, the command tent, the spies, the people at home, something like that. My goal is that the game is about individuals on both sides and how the war changes them. My inspiration for this started from looking at dominoes standing up and thinking about them as people -- both of the numbers on them being stats. Then a few cognitive leaps later, I came to this idea. (I think watching a lot of BSG lately as influenced my "war story" view.)

Jeremy's working on a competitive game about meddling time travelers. I don't know much about his game right now, but his inspiration for this I know comes from looking at a game of dominoes and seeing how doubles are played on the table. That sparked the idea of a split in time, and combined with watching a lot of Dr. Who, he came to this time meddlers idea.

But that all just leads up to the important question: What sort of role-playing/story game would you make with dominoes?

If you feel like joining us in our little challenge, awesome. But unlike the various "contests" our there, this is more of a self-challenge. Even if not, though, I would love to hear what sort of domino-centric ideas you have.


  • My game City of Masks uses dominoes, as much for the pun (domino masks) as for any real reason. You draw dominoes for conflict resolution and the numbers at both ends have significance.
  • Really interesting idea Ryan. I briefly thought of this several weeks ago while working on my game but it was quickly lost. Thanks for reminding me of it.
    Both games are intriguing. Keep us posted.
    MikeRM - I like the idea of using each end for different mechanics.
  • I have made a maze game and a game where figures battle on the steps of a pyramid using dominoes. Both were board games, though, and not rpgs. Neat idea. I like cards as randomizers, so I'm sure I would like dominoes too.

  • Have you ever played Dread (by The Impossible Dream)? If somebody can use Jenga to resolve action, it can be done with dominoes (in fact, I think it has been with a game called Nuemon or Neumenon or something like that). Might want to look at both of those games for inspiration on non-traditional resolution mechanics.
  • edited November 2007
    This year´s Mischa Krilov´s Game Chef entry, "...and then you die" used dominoes in a 120% flavourful way ( the game is about old people in retirement homes ).

    I remember a few threads in which he explored the posibilities of those numbered thingys...

    ( And i´m this game´s number one fan ).
  • You'd have to line them up, in some way. And doubles would have to go perpendicular to the other dominoes, splitting the line.

    Otherwise the dominoes would not be being used to their full potential, which makes for unhappy dominoes.

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