Dicey Dungeons Reunion Design: The Robot
ok so this slightly got away from me, but here is the penultimate Dicey Dungeons Reunion design thread! This time round, it’s the Robot, and its extremely weird Coin episode!
The robot episode is, uh, a little different
This episode absolutely started out as a joke. I had the idea and it made me laugh, so I decided to try implementing it. I didn’t think it was going to go anywhere!
To be honest, I’d been a bit stuck on the Robot episode! I knew I wanted to do something different with the push your luck mechanic, but I couldn’t figure out something I liked.
A classic example of a push your luck game is just flipping coins, and betting on how many times in a row you’ll land on heads. This is weirdly compelling!
Slight tangent, but I love this dumb roblox game, “rng difficulty chart obby”, which starts out with 50/50 odds to succeed on each level and halves that each round: roblox.com/games/59437220…
You might reasonably ask – is it… is it ok to use Coins instead of Dice? Does that not break the rules of the game? Yes it does, I’ll allow it
Dicey Dungeons was actually *very* strict about its only D6 rule. It was always a bit tempting to play with Dungeons and Dragons dice, D20s and the like, but I figured, the game is probably better if you just focus on real dice.
A big part of that is just that it really hurts your ability to do probability in your head once you start messing with weird dice. D6s are kind of magical; everyone seems to have an intuition for them.
Not only does Dicey Dungeons only use D6s, it also doesn’t have “powered” dice, which is a thing a lot of people suggested back in the early days. (i.e. you never get a “magic” dice which has different properties, like doing extra damage or inflicting a status when used.)
This is a subtly different thing from e.g. a burning dice or a blinded dice, which doesn’t change what the equipment can do. This seemed as fundamental a rule as the only D6s thing, and therefore equally up for playing around with in this episode!
anyway, a coin is basically just a dice that rolls odds or evens, so
It took a while to figure out a starting layout for this episode. The first one I tried was this, which works, but is a bit of a confusing mess:
There a lot of constraints here pulling against each other:
- You want a hand which lets you use most of the coins you flip, which is hard because you have to start with 4
- It can’t be too good, or you’ll just stick with it
- Ideally it would introduce the jackpot mechanic
The final opening hand isn’t perfect, but that’s ok – it solves most of that and it doesn’t take long to find better stuff. What I mostly like about it is how “cursed” it looks, to quote the dicecord
There are a few other re-purposed coin items in the episode I really like, by the way
I’m really happy with the Jackpot mechanic: you get a card with converts your silver coins to gold, doing 1 damage with each conversion.
The more coins you put at risk, the more damage you can do with it – but you also get equipment which uses the gold coins!
The second Robot level up reward is always a choice between playing it safe, and taking a risk. Players are bitterly divided on which is better, Ultima Weapon or Buster Sword (it’s Ultima btw)
Reunion offers a version of this choice too!
Really happy with both of these cards: Bull Horns offers you a chance at a runaway turn, doing huge amounts of damage, but you really have to build around it. Whereas Bear Claws fits anywhere, and raises the floor of your build.
There are lots of financially inspired equipment names in this episode, which is something I just leaned into because I found it funny. Some examples:
The thing I most like about this episode is just how many weird builds you can make work. Some of that was just luck! I added a lot of equipment to the episode, and some of it synergised in surprising ways I hadn’t expected.
A key ingredient in that are the combination items, which really came into their own in this episode.
Being able to prepare equipment over multiple turns leads to this rhythm of setup turns and payoff turns, which feels fantastic to pull off. The setup:
…and the payoff:
One last thing to mention is this, my favourite item in the episode:
You *usually* get this on the last floor, but it can appear as early as floor 4 in a rare drop. It lets you save up coins for the boss fight!
Most of the time when you take it, you’ll end up getting into trouble and losing. But if you can pull it off, then you’ll have a boss fight that looks like this:
I think that’s all I’ve got to say here. As you can probably tell, I love this episode – it’s weird and fun and I think it’s the best episode in the DLC, and probably the best one in the whole game
Just one thread left, on the Inventor. Will try not to leave it so long!