Game Design Friday: myNo



a fast-paced dice game
Game Design © 2008 by Scott Jon Siegel
[email protected] |


Three to five.


  • At least six 6-sided dice, two per player.
  • Score-sheets, and something to write with.

Basic Gameplay:

MyNo is a fast-paced dice game in which players score points by adding, subtracting, and dividing dice to match their chosen numbers in three categories. At the end of the game, the player with the highest final score wins.

Setting Up:

All players should be seated facing each other, preferably around a table. Each player should have a score-sheet, and two six-sided dice.

Shooting and Claiming:

Shooting is the basic phase of gameplay that occurs each round. Starting with the player with the closest birthday, players will take turns in a clockwise fashion, rolling one die at a time into the dice pool in the center of the table. Once every player has thrown their first die, they go around a second time, each throwing their second die, until all dice have been rolled into the pool.

At any point during the shooting, a player can call out “myNo!” to interrupt the process and claim dice from the center pool. Once the player has claimed and removed his or her dice from the pool, shooting resumes where it left off. Dice are claimed to score points in various categories (or, in the case of the first round, to choose a number).

Note: Knocking one die over with another to change its value is a perfectly legal strategy.

First Round; Choosing Numbers:

In the first round, players will shoot to each claim their number. Two players cannot have the same number, and no players are allowed to take the number 1.

During shooting, a player can claim a number on any single die by calling “myNo!” and removing that die from the pool. Any subsequent dice of the same number should be removed as well. Shooting then resumes, with other players claiming dice until every player has an assigned number. These numbers are then recorded on each player’s score-sheet.

If no dice are available at the end of the round, and there are players who haven’t yet claimed numbers, then shooting begins again, and continues until all players have numbers.

Subsequent Rounds:

The next three rounds of gameplay are identical, with players shooting and claiming dice to score points. Over the course of the game, players must record one score in each of the three categories:

  • Sum: any number of dice, where the sum of the face values equals that player’s number. The number of points earned is equal to the number of dice claimed.
  • Multiple: any number of dice, where the sum of the face values is a multiple of that player’s number. The number of points earned is equal to the number of times that number goes into the multiple (or the multiple divided by the player’s number).
  • Difference: any number of dice, where the face values can be added and subtracted to produce the player’s number as the difference. (For example: if a player’s number is 3, then two 2s can be added to form 4, and 4 can be subtracted from a 5 and 2 to form 3 as the difference). The number of points earned is equal to the sum of the value subtracted from the larger sum (in the example above, the score would be 4).

Players can complete these categories in any order they choose, but only one score can be recorded in each. Players can only claim dice once per round.

If there are players who have not claimed dice by the end of the round, but no dice remain in the pool, then those players record no score for that round.

If dice remain in the pool at the end of the round, and there are players who are unable to claim in any of their remaining categories, then those players divide the remaining dice evenly (rounded down), and add the number of dice to their “burnt dice” score. Burnt dice are subtracted from the total score at the end of the game.

Once the round is over, players record scores using the dice they claimed. The dice are then re-distributed evenly amongst all players, and the next round begins.

Completing Categories:

If a player successfully completes all three categories, that player then removes two dice from the game, records his final score, and waits until the rest of the players have finished.

End of Game:

The game continues for as many rounds as necessary, until all but one player have completed their scoring in the three categories. At the end of that shooting phase, the final scores are calculated, with burnt dice subtracted from each player’s total. The player with the highest score is declared the winner.

Next Page: Designing myNo

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Designing myNo

myNo is a hybrid game, conceived as a cross between the real-time pattern recognition of Set, the rolling and scoring of Yahtzee, and the fast-paced momentum of Pounce. I wanted to use a lot of dice, and I wanted the game to be really quick, playable in under twenty minutes.

I knew immediately that players should be throwing dice in rapid succession into the center of the table, and yelling out to take dice from the growing pile. I considered this to be the ideal player behavior, and wanted to design around this scenario.

I also wanted to have players looking for certain patterns in the dice, but wanted each player to be looking for unique patterns. In that way, one player collecting a pattern may or may not affect another player’s ability to do so. I decided that an initial round of dice rolls could determine each player’s number, which relates to the patterns they’re looking for.

The number 1 was eliminated from potential player numbers as it was too easy to score high on Multiple. 2-6 all appear to be fairly balanced in terms of their advantages and disadvantages in scoring for Sum and Multiple.

Early playtesting revealed a lot of problems with communicating the rules, as well as with the benefits of certain now-antiquated mechanics, like point reductions for additional dice on the table when claiming. Having the dice pool slowly diminish as dice are claimed, rather than resetting it, created an incentive to claim dice early, which is at odds with the desire to wait for the best possible combination.

The subtle, shallow dynamic of risk and reward keeps the game afloat, in my opinion. Unfortunately, playtesting of this title was limited by a lack of willing bodies, making the design process a bit like shooting in the dark. I would’ve liked to have tested the game’s mechanics at a few more stages, and am concerned that the design may have suffered because of this. An imminent move to San Francisco will avail me of more potential playtesters and gaming buddies, so hopefully future games will undergo a few more iterations than myNo.

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