What’s cool/uncool about roll-and-writes? (If you aren’t in deep into hobby games, a roll-and-write is a game like Yahtzee where you roll dice and then make choices on a pad. But the genre has so much more than that.)
Cool: You are solving a puzzle. Generally, how can I put these things into some semblance of order not knowing what will come up next to be able to get the most points?
Cool: Many roll-and-writes can support massive number of players if they all have their own pads. This gets around that awkward 5 or 6 player problem at board game nights where you feel you either have to split the Fellowship or play a less appealing game just because it fits the right player count.
Uncool: Writing numbers on a pad a la Yahtzee, Qwixx, Welcome To, Rolling Realms, etc. is fine. But it is such a small subset of what you can make with the medium. Why not have something where you can use the spatial aspects of your game pad to affect your decision making? Some games like Avenue or Cartographers try to tackle this problem.
Uncool: Most people don’t play a copy of a game they buy 100 times. But even if a roll-and-write ships with a game pad that allows you to play 100 times, you feel anxious about “using it up”.
Uncool: Some roll-and-writes have uneven randomness. It generally sucks for another player to roll the thing you need and then you roll useless garbage. Cool and Uncool? Many roll-and-writes are multiplayer solitaire where players just try to race for the goal before everyone else. That’s fine, but limiting. At the same time, you don’t want too much player interaction because you want the success of a player to come from wise planning and not because they didn’t get attacked.If you agree with these, you might find Scribbletown to your liking:
- It is about solving an intensely spatial puzzle with just enough uncertainty to require you to be nimble.
- It supports any number of players, even solo with only some minor tweaks.
- You will be planning buildings and roads in your city and need to find the optimal layout based on Special Building cards that change every game. No building is always uniquely better than any other.
- Scribbletown will come with dry-erase markers and boards, so you don’t have to worry about running out of sheets. Additionally, spare sheets will be printable from the game’s website in case you want to run very large games or just prefer paper and pencil.
- In Scribbletown, all players use the same set of random results. You have the same opportunities as everyone else to make the best of what you get.
- Most of Scribbletown is done in isolation, but when you reach a certain threshold of waste in your town, you pass the board to an opponent who ruins one of your plots with a junk pile. This means you never want to be completely obvious about what you are up to and you want to time out receiving your Junk Piles so that they do the least damage. I’m kind of bummed that Cartographers came to market with a similar mechanic before this could be released, but it is a great game, so I can’t be too mad.
I’ll be sharing a lot more about the design, components, and Angelica Lora’s clean, excellent art and visual design work in the upcoming weeks and months while I get everything finalized.