Hello, this is my first game made with PICO-8 and it is my variant of an online game classic called DICE WARS.
Supports up to 6 players (in hotseat mode) - if there are less, the other players are controlled by the computer. New with v1.2: You can also start a game with less than 6 players.
The goal in Planet Dice Wars is to conquer all planets in the galaxy. The game is played in turns. When it is your turn, select a source planet and a target planet to send your troops. You can only attack from a planet with more than 1 troop.
An attack is carried out by rolling dice (hence the name 'Planet Dice Wars'). The attacker rolls a die for each attacking troop, the defender rolls a die for each defending troop on the planet. The attack succeeds if the attacker rolls higher - all of his attacking troops minus one are placed on the target planet while a single troop is left behind on the source planet. When the attack fails, the attacker looses all troops but one!
You can do as many attacks in your turn as you like (and are able to). Press the 'X' button to enter the menu and end your turn.
At then end of your turn, your planets randomly get replenishments: It is important to have a large area of connected planets to get more troops. You get one additional replenishment troop for each two planets in your largest area (and one troop on top). The maximum number of troops on a planet is 9.
There are also some small enhancements compared to the original DICE WARS:
When you increase the Level (from 'easy' up to 'brutal') the computer players get some reinforcements at the end of each round (when each player had its turn).
In the menu, human players can call for reinforcements once in the game. These are additional 4 (in levels hard & brutal) or 5 (in levels easy & medium) troops which will be added to the replenishments. When you call for reinforcements, you also end your turn. Use this option wisely.
Planet Dice Wars is a fast little strategy game with more strategy and tactics than is apparent at first glance. And a large portion of nerve-wracking luck in your dice rolls. Remember: You cannot re-group your troops on your planets...
The execution and presentation are great - I especially love the control scheme, and how planets flash when receiving reinforcements. Everything is readable, the only additional piece of information I'd love to have on screen would be turn order.
The gameplay is extremely unintuitive and punishing, even on easy mode it takes a long time and effort to achieve victory - turtling and waiting out your opponent are not just viable, but optimal strategies in certain positions, making the game last forever. Intuitive decisions like taking territory, being proactive and trying to gain decisive advantage early on are punished to the point where I was considering the possibility it's actually a troll game in disguise.
I don't know for certain which parts of balance need tweaking, but I would start with the key problem: conquering territory feels like it's not worth it. Perhaps give 1 troop for every planet in region, not for every 2 planets? I will try other difficulties and will write a more in-depth analysis of game balance. I love the core gameplay loop a lot, and would really like it to be improved further.
Turtling may be good sometimes - but often you also have to make sure that your neighbors don't expand too much. I guess the game is also about finding the right times to attack.
The length of the matches I played during my tests were similar to the length of the 'Dice Wars' games which can be found online.
Regarding additional information on the screen: This was also something I was thinking about. But I didn't came up with a viable solution so far. I was happy that I could cram such a game into 128x128 pixels. One solution could be to introduce scrolling, but that would reduce the handling and the overview you get during the game.
Hint: When the opponents carry out their turns and when attacks are displayed you can press the 'O' button to jump to the next phase. This can reduce the waiting time.
@Hell_Cat: ah, you found an error with these reinforcements. I will fix that.
Moving troops around will not be implemented - that's not the 'Dice Wars' spirit. In fact, thinking about your future troops distribution is a main part of the strategy.
And thanks for the request to start a game with lesser than 6 players. I will implement that and remove the false english at the end.
Uploaded a new version 1.2.
You can now start a game with less than 6 players. Simply remove (the red cross is shown) some players in the start menu.
Added a little bit more randomness, especially in the lower levels.
Now all human players can call reinforcements once in the game.
After playing some more, I found the core reasons I didn't enjoy the game - matches last too long, even after the winner is clear, and also territorial control is not worth the risk of overextension, forcing extremely slow and risk-free play. Here's a small mod I made that doubles the reinforcements/income from 0.5 x area + 1 to 1 x area. I found it to be more enjoyable - games are faster, and it doesn't take too long to finish off the stragglers. Enjoy!
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