Mechanics Makeover: Dice in a Cup – Round 1b

Design Workbench

This is the second and final part describing the individual mechanics and their attributes – the modifiers. Again, there are three basic sets of mechanics; starting from the bottom up:

  1. Those that affect the die rolls. (Roll Modifiers)
  2. Those that affect the goal or victory condition. (Goal Modifiers)
  3. Those that affect the players. (Round Modifiers)

Picking up where we left off, in this round we will look at the last set. I set these apart from the other two because these only impact the die rolls in a meta sense. They don’t impact the actual rolls, but may impact the choices you make during rolling, since they impact who you are rolling against and who goes first.

Round Modifiers


Indicates who the Challenger will play against.




Challenge the player to the left.


Challenge the player to the right.


Challenge the player across the table.


Challenge any one player of their choice.

High Score

Challenge the player with the highest score (or next highest if Challenger is highest).

Low Score

Challenge the player with the lowest score (or next lowest if Challenger is lowest).

Special Rules:

  • If there are two possible Defenders, the Challenger gets to choose.

First/Lead Roller

Indicates who will roll first; the Challenger or Defender.




The Challenger rolls first.


The Defender rolls first.


The Challenger chooses who rolls first.

Special Rules:

  • The dice are rolled secretly in some challenges, but they should still be rolled according to this rule. Based on the first roller’s demeanor, the second roller may choose to be more/less aggressive.

Modifiers Summary



Since I am reporting this after much has been done and several prototypes have come and gone, I will just describe the major prototypes along the way to give an idea of how they have developed. We will pick up with Prototype III later.

Prototype I

The initial prototype was just a set of d6 dice of different colors and a reference card that showed what each number for each colored die meant. This was functional enough to get the die rolling, but quickly proved to be too much effort and slowed the pace of testing down too much.

Prototype II

I created dice sides in Excel, printed them on a full sheet label, trimmed them, and stickered the dice. This made for much quicker resolution of the game parameters. At this point, though, I had dice to determine the gamelets as well, but this was too difficult to remember. Since Ithe players had to refer to the instructions often for the gamelet instructions, I will replace these dice with cards in the next prototype.


We’ll start talking about how to play and changes to the game play once we get through this long setup.

New Rules

Since there are so many variables in play here, I created a table of the recommended approach to introducing each of the modifiers into the game.

Working It Out

There is a lot in this notebook page and the next two as well. Hopefully, they are worth the trip. I’ll save any commentary on the progress of the mechanics once I have described them all.