- Roll and move is a very easy mechanic for players to understand. Almost everyone knows how to roll a pair of dice, look at the results, and move their character pawn.
- The random results of the dice create uncertainty in the game, since no one can perfectly predict how the dice will land. This means the game will be different every time you play, creating replay value for the players.
- Rolling the dice and getting a high result can be exciting, while rolling a low result can be frustrating. This can make your game feel dramatic and emotional, which is usually a lot of fun!
Despite these advantages, many professional board game designers recommend avoiding simple roll and move mechanics. Why is that?
- In its most basic form, roll and move doesn't allow players to make choices. They are just following the instructions given to them by the dice, like a robot.
- The advantages or disadvantages some players get by using dice can sometimes make the game unfair. If one player gets lucky and rolls high numbers while another player rolls low numbers, they may fall so far behind that they aren't able to win. And it's not even their fault!
Luckily, there are a few simple ways you can use the advantages of the roll and move mechanic while avoiding some of the disadvantages. Most of these tips focus on letting players make interesting choices. Try some of these in your next game design and ask your players what they think.
- Give players special cards that let them re-roll one or both of their dice if they don't like the result. This might be a card that all players start the game with, or one that they have to buy or draw from a deck during the game.
- Give some characters in the game a Dash skill that lets them add 2 or 3 to their total dice result. Make this skill cost some resources or energy to use, so players have to decide when they want to use it and when they want to save up for later.
- If your game uses cards to move, like Sorry, let players draw 3 cards at the start of the game. Every turn, they choose 1 of their cards to play, then draw a new one to replace it. This lets players save their best cards for later when they really need them.