Monday, December 15

Too Busy!

Last week I thought I was going to be busy, but in the end I was too busy and ended up getting very little done indeed. I managed to finish the boxes for the NaGa DeMon winners' copies, but sadly that was it.

This week was supposed to be even busier. I had a work night out lined up for Monday and our Christmas party on Wednesday. We've got lots of corporate visitors at work and lots of meetings and we've got to get ready for our trip to Bristol to visit my in-laws and my family for Christmas.

Sadly, I'm not going to get much done for a different reason, I woke up this morning racked with another stomach bug. I'll be spending most of the next couple of days in 'the littlest room' I fear. Joy.

So, I doubt I'll get much done this week either. I do have a chance on Friday night to make some progress I think, but as feared it's going to be January before the NaGa DeMon winners' copies are winging their way to the winners. Sorry for the delay!

Monday, December 8

Busy, Busy

With NaGa DeMon done you'd expect things to be calming down, but not so much - this week has been one of lots of little things that needed attending to.

I've promised copies of Dragon Dance to the three most helpful TGWAG competitors, so I've started making those copies. I'd bought or scavenged the wooden pieces and dice before the start of November, but there's plenty still to do: boxes, cards and rules. On Saturday I started getting the boxes made and will finish them off tonight. The cards and rules require getting the printer down from the box room, which is a bit of a faff, so I'm put that off until all my printing is ready. So I've also done the graphic design for another version of Zombology - that's ready for printing.

I've also been working on my Martian Dice Windows Phone app which is nearing completion. I made a candidate for the final build at the beginning of the week and that's now being tested by a bunch of friends. I'm hoping that this will be my most popular app so far (I've got 50 downloads so far across all three apps put together!), so I've been putting some work into a web page for it and getting some mild publicity ready.

Once Martian Dice is out there my next focus will probably be Christmas, but then after that I've another idea for an app to work on next year (in addition to Vacuum, Zombology, Dragon Dance, Border Reivers second edition and maintaining all my existing apps!).

First up though, Dragon Dance NaGa DeMon winners' copies...

Dragon Dance Boxes

Monday, December 1

NaGa DeMon 13: Finito

Well, it's December, so NaGa DeMon is done. And what a weird one it was. For the first half of the month I was kind of stuck. My first version of Dragon Dance was far better than I was expecting, reasonably well balanced and it played more or less how I was thought it would. That's unheard of for a first prototype of mine. I was playing it loads during lunchtime at work, alternating between it and By Election - my friend Sam's NaGa DeMon game. After about fifteen plays (including some from Konrad) I finally pushed the boat out and made a second version, incorporating some of the detailed feedback from Konrad and some ideas I'd had or that had been suggested by my playtesters.

That version, while a bit more interested, sucked. It was hideously broken, so heavily weighted in favour of the dragon that there was little point in playing it. So I had an idea of how to change things to fix it up, which I wrote up ready to post once I'd tried it.

Then I got sick (after it had swept through the family) then we had some bad news that put everything else on the back burner. My parents came up a week earlier than planned to help babysit The Daughter and my spare time ended up being spent entertaining guests rather than printing, designing or playing Dragon Dance. Also, after making big promises that I would get more involved with other people's NaGa DeMon efforts (including the aforementioned Konrad, who played my NaGa DeMon game one night in preference to his own) I did nothing. About which I feel quite bad - sorry Konrad!

With little time to practice the new fixed up v2, I posted it anyway and then finally another tweak right at the end of the month. The first hardly tested by me, the other completely untested. A very disappointing end to the month.

Page views were way down on last year as a result (though still my second best month in the eight year history of Creation and Play). However, I still managed to make four different versions and played it nearly twenty times. Plus, TGWAG was another huge success with nine participants, at least two people printing it out and Konrad playing it and given some excellent feedback. Thanks everyone, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. The final league table is as follows:

Name PIPs PIAL Free game?
Sir Konrad/@pidaysock 33 Knight Sergeant Yes
Derek Hohls/@gamesbook 16 Squire Yes
Eblasco/@7isprime 15 Squire Yes
Roberto 8 Footman No
@MTTJ_Patrick 5 Footman No
@kimacus 4 Serf No
Mal 3 Serf No
@toddderscheid 2 Serf No
@thefrugalgamer 2 Serf No

So the free copies will be winging their way to Konrad, Enrique and Derek early in the new year. Thanks again!

Friday, November 28

NaGa DeMon 12: One Final Version

With two days left to go I've got one final version for you. I've now played the new version six times and it is I think too strongly weighted in the dragon's favour. I'd been hoping to try these new ideas before posting them (to check they weren't rubbish like an earlier version of the rules!) but I've been unable to get a game in, so these are untested - play at your own risk! This is your last chance to get some PIPs before NaGa DeMon comes to a close at the end of November.

The good news is that there's no card changes since the last version (so if you've already printed those out you're good to go). The rules are pretty similar, there's only one change (to the Discard card and die section, highlighted in blue below) which now reads:

Discard card and die
At the end of the round both players discard the card they played (face up where they are visible to both players) and any die they used with it. If there were already two cards discarded, you may now return one of these two discarded cards to your hand (not the one you just played). Discarded cards and dice are unavailable to the player and cannot be chosen during the Choose a card or Choose a die sections described above.

The Recuperate card allows you to reclaim all discarded dice and cards, returning all the discarded cards to your hand. Once you have reclaimed the dice all your dice are re-rolled.

Please give it a try and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 26

NaGa DeMon 11: Back for a Final Push

Things are beginning to settle down and I'm back at work now. We've only got four days left in November and my parents are still here visiting, but I'm hoping to try to get one final version done before the end of the month.

Of course to do that, I need to know what changes I need to make, and for that I need data. I'm hoping to be able to play Dragon Dance at least a couple of times during either Thursday or Friday lunchtimes, and my dad (who's really not a gamer) was so intrigued by my description of the game that he'd like to play it too. My copy has been at work for a week or so (I left it with Sam after he volunteered to take it to the extra Newcastle Playtest session that I had to miss due to illness, despite having organised it!). So I've not had a chance to play it, or even think about it much.

So, what I need is to get it played, get some information about the weaknesses (probably too strong dragon?), get some ideas about how to fix it, fix it and make the fix available all within the next four days, all while my parents are here.

Challenging! Any help much appreciated...

Monday, November 24

TGWAG: League Table 4

Sorry to be filling my standard Monday blog post with a TGWAG League Table (usually posted on Sunday) but it's been a odd/tough week. It started off with missing a gaming weekend in the south with my old gaming buddies due to The Daughter's sickness, then The Wife got it and then finally, inevitably, so did I. Just in time to miss the special Newcastle Playtest session I'd arranged because I'd missed the previous one cleaning up after the double glazing. I was still contagious on Thursday so I was working from home (and cancelled Games Night), but then we received some bad news and everything went off track. I've only worked two days this week and not done any gaming since my Tuesday lunchtime session of Dragon Dance with Steve. Which gave me a brief chance to have a look at v2.1 and check that it is at least conceivably possible for The Knight to win this version, though how unbalanced it remains is hard to tell as it was me (15 games and the designer) against Steve in his first few games. This week's going to be another weird one as I'm off on Monday; Tuesday I'm probably going to Manchester for work and then Wednesday is my quarterly hospital visit, so I won't reach the office until 2pm. Plus, my parents have come up a week early to help out. I've gone from playing Dragon Dance 2 or 3 times a day at work to not playing for nearly a week. I'm going to have to rely on you guys for a while (though it sounds like Enrique, Derek and/or Konrad might be able to help me out recently/soon - thanks!).

In terms of TGWAG there's been steady progress across the board, Sir Konrad's continuing to race out in front, and with Roberto in Saudi Arabia for a week's work, Enrique (Eblasco/@7isprime) has been able to consolidate his third place (the last free copy!). Also, it's nice to see Dave (@thefrugalgamer) back, Dave was one of last year's winners :-) That's 3/5 of last year's winners back in the game!

Name PIPs PIAL Free game?
Sir Konrad/@pidaysock 29 Knight Yes
Derek Hohls/@gamesbook 14 Squire Yes
Eblasco/@7isprime 14 Squire Yes
Roberto 8 Footman No
@MTTJ_Patrick 5 Footman No
@kimacus 4 Serf No
Mal 3 Serf No
@toddderscheid 2 Serf No
@thefrugalgamer 2 Serf No

I've four hours on trains on Wednesday morning for my quarterly hospital visit, so I hope to start making some progress again then.

Friday, November 21

NaGa DeMon 10: Hopefully, Less Rubbish

I wrote this blog post on Monday night, but I've been waiting to post it until I had a chance to test it, to avoid the problems I had with the last version. Then I got sick, missing a couple of days' work and then finally we've had some bad news and I'm off again, so no real chance to test it. Seeing as Derek and Enrique have both requested it in time for the weekend, here it is. Hopefully it's better than the last version, it is at least possible for the knight to win this one!

As I feared the last version was pretty unbalanced. Sam and I played it three times on Monday lunchtime with the dragon winning by 10 points twice and by 15 once! All in under 10 minutes :-(. I'd made the Breathe Fire work at long and short range and added another dragon attack (the Tail Lash) at long range. Despite the better defence cards for the knight he was still hopelessly out-classed. Discussing it afterwards with Sam I was quite happy with his idea that the dragon would win more games than the knight (if only slightly), but as it stood, the knight had no chance.

So, in fairly short order, here's a new version. This version has even more asymmetry added, now the knight has 9 cards and the dragon only 7. The knight's extra card is a short range defence that can be combo-ed with an attack or two, and the dragon has lost the Tail Lash and Breathe Fire is back to long range only.

New rules follow, with new print and play files at the bottom.

Dragon Dance
Fire v. Lance
2 players
10-30 mins


9 Knight action cards
7 Dragon action cards
1 Knight player aid card
1 Dragon player aid card
9 heart tokens representing the knight's life force
20 gold coins representing the dragon's life force
3 large red dice for the dragon
5 small white dice for the knight

Dragon Dance is a game of bluff, cards and dice between a knight and a dragon in a mortal fight over the King's daughter.

Aim of the Game

The aim of the game is to reduce your opponent to zero life force through cleverly timed attacks without running out of your own life force. Each round you will simultaneously choose a die and then a card to action - either attacking, defending or manoeuvering as you dance around each other looking for an opening to exploit. The dragon is more powerful and has more life force, but it's also less agile and slower, so the knight has to strike fast before his limited life force is extinguished. The game weaves between long and short range as combatants close and retreat to catch each other on the wrong foot.


Decide between yourselves who will play the dragon and the knight. The dragon player takes the dragon player aid, action cards, three red dice and the twenty gold coins to represent its life force. The knight player takes the knight player aid, action cards, five white dice and nine heart tokens representing his life force.

Both players roll all their dice and place them in front of them and place their player aid cards with the 'Long Range' side face up nearby.


The game takes place over a number of rounds during which the players act simultaneously. Throughout the game the players' life tokens, remaining dice and played cards are kept open so that both players can see them.

Each round consists of four phases:
  1. Choose a die (or none)
  2. Choose a card
  3. Action the card
  4. Discard card and die
Choose a die
In the first phase, both players simultaneously choose either one of their remaining dice, or none. High values boost attacks, low values boost defence and medium values boost both attack and defence but to a lesser degree.

During this phase, hide your remaining dice from your opponent and then choose one of them to use this turn (by, for example, placing a finger on it) or choose none (by, for example, placing a finger on the table next to your dice). Then reveal your dice along with your selection. The chosen die will be used to either boost an attack or defence card, or as a bluff to trick your opponent into playing a sub-optimal card.

Choose a card
Once both players have revealed their chosen die (or none), both players simultaneously chose a card to play this turn. The chosen cards are placed face down on the table in front of them and then when both players have chosen the cards are revealed. Chosen cards must be playable at your current range, check your player aid to see which cards you can play at your current range, or check the 'Short range' or 'Long range' icons on the cards in your hand. You begin the game at long range. The only effect of the short and long range icons is to limit the cards available to you during this phase. If one or both players play a card which changes the range, the cards chosen are still valid as long as they were valid choice at the starting range this round.

Action the card
Both cards are actioned simultaneously.

Attacks & Defence
If either player chooses an attack card, calculate the damage they deal as follows:
If they have chosen a die, use the table on the card to determine how much damage they are dealing, if no dice is chosen determine damage using the no dice column in the table.
If their opponent has not played a defence card, they lose life force equal to the damage dealt.
If their opponent has played a defence card, use the table on the defence card (along with any die chosen) to determine the defender's protection as for the attack damage. The attacker's damage minus the defender's protection is the amount of damage dealt to the defender.

Example 1:
Konrad (the knight) chooses a '5' and the Hack attack card and Derek chooses a '1' and the Flap defence card. With a 5, the Hack deals 3 damage, but the Flap and a 1 prevent 4 damage, so no damage is dealt.

If both players attack, the damages are calculated and dealt simultaneously, possibly killing each other at the same time.

Example 2:
Roberto (the knight) chooses a '6' and the Charge card and Todd chooses a '3' and the Breathe Fire card. With a 6, the Charge deals 5 damage, which is unblocked, so the dragon loses 5 life force. Breathe Fire with a 3 deals 3 damage, so the knight loses 3 life force.

The knight has the Charge card, which is a very powerful long range attack, combined with a reduce range movement. After dealing damage, if any, resolve the movement as described under 'Movement' below. For example, in Example 1 above, the combatants would now be at short range.

The knight has a Dodge card which if played reduces damage dealt to him this round to zero regardless of what attack the dragon performs.

Example 3:
Jack (the knight) chooses a '4' and the Dodge card. Sam chooses a '5' and the Rake card. Sam's attack would have dealt 3 damage to the knight, but the Dodge reduces that to zero, so no life force is lost.

Knight's Block
The knight also has a block card which reduces damage dealt. If the dragon player has played an attack card and a die, the block will reduce the value on the die before calculating the damage dealt. This could reduce the damage dealt to zero. The amount the dragon's die roll is reduced by depends on the die the knight used in conjunction with it: with a 1,2 or a 3 the dragon's die result is reduced by two, with a 4, 5, or a 6 it is reduced by one. If used without a die it has no effect or against a defence or maneouvre card it has no effect.

Example 4:
Enrique (the knight) chooses a '4' and the Block card. Mal chooses a '5' and the Bite card. With a '4' the Block reduces the dragon's attack die by one, so Sam's '4' is changed to a '3'. Sam's attack now deals 2 damage to the knight, instead of the 4 damage it would have dealt with a '4'.

Knight has two short range attacks Hack and Slash which have the 'Combo' keyword and one short range defence 'Riposte'.
  • If a Hack or Slash is played and deals damage as described in the 'Attack and Defence' section above, the knight may perform a follow up attack using the other short range attack card.
  • If Riposte is played and it successfully reduces damage dealt, the knight may perform follow up attack(s) using one or both of the short range attack cards.
You can only use Combo if the combatants remain and short range and the knight has one or two short range attack cards in his hand along with unused dice to assign to the attack(s). These attacks are undefended and deal another (two) rounds of damage this turn.

Example 5:
Konrad (the knight) chooses a '4' and Hack, while Roberto chooses a '2' and Advance. The Hack deals 2 damage to the dragon, and seeing as it dealt damage, Konrad can use the Combo effect to immediately play the Slash card from his hand (not the discard pile) along with the remaining '1' die to deal a further 1 damage, the second attack cannot be defended against. Roberto's dragon loses a total of 3 life force.

If either player has played a movement card (Charge, Advance or Retreat) then the range is adjusted:
  • If one or both players reduce range you are now at short range
  • If the knight plays Retreat you are now at long range
  • If the dragon plays Advance and the knight plays Retreat your range remains the same
Both players must now flip their player aid cards as necessary to show the range they are now at. Both player aids must always show the same range.

Note that the knight's Advance and Retreat cards also prevent one damage if played with a die showing a 1, 2 or a 3.

Discard card and die
At the end of the round both players discard the cards they played (face up where they are visible to both players) and any die they used with it. These discarded cards and dice are unavailable to the player until they play the Recuperate card, which allows them to reclaim all discarded dice and cards, returning the cards to their hand. Once they have reclaimed the dice all their dice are re-rolled.

End of the Game

The game ends at the end of the round in which at least one player has been reduced to zero life force. If the dragon has zero life force, the knight has won regardless of whether or not he has life remaining. Otherwise the dragon wins.

Download the cards

There are two versions of the cards: either front and backs as two separate files or alternatively, all the pages as a single file interleaved for easy double-sided printing.