Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dice in game books part 1

Are gamebooks better for having random elements? Here's the first part of this discussion.

Everyone knows about the Death Star. An invulnerable fortress capable of destroying whole planets. Surely such a weapon would bring the galaxy to its knees. However, it didn't.

That pesky Skywalker took advantage of the Death Star's one weakness - a small hatch on it. And he blew it up.

Darth Vader must have felt very annoyed. He probably felt cheated as well. He put all this effort building a huge weapon so he could rule the galaxy with an iron fist. He had strangled countless commanders with British accents so that promotion on a death star was not followed by the new commander planning a party. Rather it was followed by him planning a funeral.

And it had all been blown up.

This is how someone who has played gamebooks with dice might have felt at one point. They may have won the game if they rolled 2-11 on two six sided dice and they rolled a 12. NOOOOOOOO!

This is how some gamebooks with dice may turn up. You may just end up playing the odds. This sword will make this combat easier. This charm gives me a bonus when I test for luck. You can collect all the best items and avoid all the hardest combats and an unlucky die roll can still ruin your plans.

This is a case against dice in gamebooks. Since there is a random element, you can do everything right and still fail, even if the only way to fail is by rolling a 12 on two dice (1/36 chance). And I beleive that leads to the reader feeling cheated.

If the reader loses a gamebook through bad choices, their reaction will probably be. 'You got me there. But I'll get you next time.' They would probably still be entertained and would want to come back for another go.

However, losing because of a dice roll despite making all the right choices would probably lead to frustration and a feeling of not wanting to play again.

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