You can thank – or blame, take your pick – Dale for this article; he suggested that I write it up.
Lone Sevens is a solitaire game I designed recently. Ever since Rattlebones was released, I’ve thought that there were other interesting designs possible based upon the changeable dice. Finally having a reasonable idea about one I wanted to work on, I started designing it – only to come up with an entirely different idea, which doesn’t use changeable dice, but which is inspired by the dice faces from Rattlebones. But while thinking about these designs – shortly after playtesting them for the first time – I got to thinking more about what might be done.
And, before I knew it (and while in the shower), I’d come up with the idea for a solitaire game. Start with five dice, roll them, and find a combination of dice that add up to seven. If a combination exists, one of the faces that makes up part of the count is replaced by a victory point side, equal to one less than the number of dice involved. (For instance – if a 4-2-1 combination was used to score, the 4, 2, or 1 is replaced by a 2 victory-point side.) One of the other sides can be incremented or decremented by one pip. However, if there is no combination adding to seven, one of the rolled sides is replaced by a miss marker. One other rolled side may still be incremented or decremented by one pip. The game continues until a third miss marker is placed; then the victory points are totaled. Players can compare to a given scale, or simply try for a personal best.
Overall, a fairly simple concept – but trying it out – it worked. I’ve seen this happen before – sometime, when a design is straight-forward enough, a game just works. But since it just uses piece from Rattlebones, is short, and solitaire – the fact that it worked means – it’s done. So, I sent the rules to Stephen Glenn (the designer of Rattlebones) and a few friends, and I thought I was done with it.
Then one of said friends, Brian Hanechak, mentioned working on a computer implementation. And then he asked if I would be interested in having it available online. Which, since I wasn’t planning to do anything with the design, was fine by me. After checking with Stephen, I gave Brian the go-ahead, and he posted it here.
Now what comes next? Well, there is one other design I tried, which didn’t work well enough to encourage me to keep at it, and another which has, and at which I am still plugging away. Then once I managed to solve the problem of making my own die faces in a reasonable amount of time I was able to put another game together which really emphasizes the changeable faces, and is moving in the right direction. Finally, user isellsunshine on BGG asked if a multiplayer version of Lone Sevens might be possible. So I plugged away at the problem, and came up with an adaptation for 2-4 players, which is now posted to the appropriate thread. Though since it’s no longer a solitaire game, it’s now Many Sevens…
While it’s fun to take a design through from concept to a published game – in many ways, it’s even more fun to take a design from concept to publicly available. Well, at least if the concept-to-working part of game design is what’s of most interest, as it is for me. Even if only a handful of folks ever try – and enjoy – the game, I’m happy to have brought some modicum of joy to the universe.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
I love it!
I like it. Matt C., Eric M., Larry, Mark Jackson
Not for me…