Hacking the Humble D6

BY MICHAEL PACHECO

Break out your copy of Space Cadets and pull out those Jump Drive cards! Let’s hack some games!

In Space Cadets, the player needs to roll 5 of a kind in order to Jump the ship to safety. The number rolled is irrelevant, so long as it’s 5 of a kind. The Jump cards allow you to manipulate the outcome of the dice after they’ve been rolled. They can be claimed by rolling various combinations, such a straight of 4 dice (2, 3, 4, 5), a total less than 12, or whatever. If you’re playing ANY game that uses 5 six-sided dice at least some of the time, the Jump cards can add a new dimension to the game’s mechanics. Here’s a few examples of how the cards could be applied to existing games.

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RISK

Here’s a way to speed up that annual Thanksgiving game of Risk.

  • Place the Jump cards face up during setup.
  • Attackers (and only attackers) can play one card per attack.
  • At the end of the attack, after you’ve changed any dice and the results are final, the attacker (and only the attacker) can claim a new card from the table if the dice rolled by both the attacker and defender meet the card’s requirements.
  • Note that the attacker is manipulating both attack and defense dice, and is claiming cards based on all the dice rolled.
  • Players may have as many Jump cards as they can claim.

By allowing only attackers to claim and use cards, players will be itching to push on when normally they would sit back and build up their forces. A clever player can tempt opponents into less-than-promising engagements in an effort to get one more card. Maybe the card will prove useful even after a defeat, but if a player’s entire plan is based on collecting Jump cards regardless of the troop losses, it’s only a matter of time before they stretch themselves too thin.

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STAR WARS D6

Since there isn’t a qualitative difference between mooks and major antagonists in D6, Jump cards can add some bite to your villains.

  • Lay the Jump cards out at the beginning of the session.
  • Any player, or the GM, can claim an applicable card for any roll they make.
  • Cards my be played at any time by anyone to affect any roll, although the GM should save most of his or her cards for dramatically appropriate scenes.
  • Play the card, change the dice, return the card to the table.
  • After the dice have been changed, another player may play their card to further change the dice.
  • Jump cards are claimed from the table after the dice roll has been resolved.
  • Only the player who altered a roll last may claim a new card.
  • Rolls that are made in reaction to other rolls, such as dodging, are considered separate from the initial action.
  • There is no limit on how many Jump cards you can have.

Because you’re rolling for a total number, even bumping a 1 to a 2, or a 6 to a 5, can affect the game. This also greatly speeds up battles in the PCs favor. This is fine since they’re the heroes. Of course, the major villains have the same trick, so that Emperor’s Hand can go toe-to-toe with the heroes in a way a bunch of Stormtroopers can’t. I imagine this mechanic simulating subtle positioning that isn’t reflected in the main rules.

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HOLLOWPOINT (?)

This one’s iffy because I’ve yet to actually play Hollowpoint. The dice pools are about right, and the matching mechanic is similar to the the actual Jump Drive mechanic. Claiming and playing are the same as the above Star Wars rules. I guess. Like I said, I’ve yet to experience the system. I imagine that because of the narration, it could get crazy, so limit card plays to one card per player, including the GM. Claiming happens at the end of step 6. If there is conflict over a who claims a card, GM decides. As usual, tell me how it goes.

 

These are just examples as to how Jump cards can be added to a game. Alien Frontiers, Fiasco, and FU all seem to fit the bill.

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