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So what's your experience/history with diceless games?

A topic by Parenthesis Press created Sep 23, 2019 Views: 210 Replies: 2
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Have you designed one before? Have you played any? Do you have any favorites?

I'll start: I've designed more diceless games than dice-driven games; I tend toward using cards, particularly Tarot cards, for my designs, but I'm also working on one that's inspired by Choose Your Own Adventure games combined with resource management, and I also have a game in the pipeline that uses hands of futhark runes for resolution. My favorite diceless game, and perhaps just favorite RPG of all time, is Jenna Moran's Nobilis (specifically the second edition), although I will defend the obscure diceless Marvel Universe RPG from 2003 as a better game than it gets credit for.


Two of my favourite games are Ribbon Drive and The Skeletons, and neither use dice (the latter can use dice, but it's not necessary and it's just to randomise something from a table, instead of picking yourself). Dread is also pretty cool and doesn't use dice (a jenga tower instead), and my own game The 5 whys doesn't use them, either (it uses custom cards).

And although strictly speaking it uses dice, I'd say that Fiasco could almost be considered a diceless game.


My cousin and I publish DeScriptors, a diceless "word-bidding" RPG. It's on DTRPG right now, but our exclusivity ends in Nov and it'll be going up on itch, along with a bunch of short settings with scenarios and pregens and stuff, too. The basic version of the game fits on a single page, but the Definitive Edition includes tons of options for different genres, tropes, using nouns along with adjectives, and GM advice from both the creator of DeScriptors (Matthew Bannock) and the host of Worldbuilder's Anvil podcast (Jeffery Ingram).