Save the Singularity is a quick, cooperative dice game for 1 to infinity players. It takes about two minutes per player to play a game. I’ve been working on it for a while and I’m really satisfied with the central mechanic, but I recently decided to add another layer of content to it, and I’m also really satisfied with that! It’s been through a lot of playtesting and it has consistently been getting the best of all possible reactions once a game finishes: the new players saying “That was fun, let’s play it again.” Click here to read more about my game design goals, especially this post.
The premise of the game is that the players are a team of researchers trying to make a friendly, not-world-destroying superhuman Artificial Intelligence before anybody else in the world makes one that does end up destroying the world. We’re trying to stop Terminator from happening.
So without further ado, here are the complete rules, so you can go out and start playing it! In a while I will make a Kickstarter for this, and hopefully you’ll enjoy this version enough to support it then.
What you’ll need: 12d6, 1d12, a bunch of cards to represent the roles (one per player), and a piece of paper and pencil to keep track of scores on.
The game works like this: each player’s turn has two parts; what they do and what the rest of the world does. They start by rolling 3d6. After each roll, either you’ll have messed up your code and lost everything and you’ll have to stop and move on to the second phase of your turn, or you won’t, and you can choose to either keep going and try to get more points but risk losing them, or stop, bank your points, and move on to phase two.
Phase one: you roll the 3d6. The results are like this: on a 1, you got a Bug. That’s okay, one Bug isn’t enough to stop you. But if you get two or more Bugs in a single throw of the dice, you’ve made an unrecoverable error, and you lose all the points you accumulated that turn, and you have to move on to phase two.
On a 2 or 3, you have an idea that you want to pursue but that isn’t finished yet. If you press on, you roll an extra die.
On a 4, 5, or 6, you make some progress! Score a point.
After you either choose to stop rolling or are forced to by rolling two or more Bugs, you move on to phase two.
Phase two: you roll a single d12 to represent what the rest of the world is doing. There are three symbols, and each face has 1, 2, or 3 of those symbols on it. They are: the rest of the world scores a point (Bad), the next player starts with an extra die (+Dice), and stop rolling (you keep rolling the d12 until a face with a Stop on it comes up). Here’s the chart of results:
1, 2, or 3: Stop
4, 5: Bad
6, 7: +Dice, Stop
9, 10: Bad, Stop
11: Bad, +Dice
12: Bad, +Dice, Stop
So that’s the basic structure of the game: roll some d6s until you decide or are forced to stop, then roll the d12 until you’re allowed to stop, then it’s the next player’s turn.
You’re trying to get to 25 points per player before the rest of the world gets to 4 points per player.
You also have a role! Every player picks a character that they can play as. Each character has a unique, once per game power, that they can use during anybody’s turn. They are:
edit: A fan has made this Spanish-language prototype of the role cards! That’s just super flattering. Go and use them, if you speak Spanish!
Rationalist: Once per game, reroll all dice.
Mathematician: Once per game, a player may start with only 1 die.
Computer Scientist: Once per game, reroll all +Dice (ignore new Bugs).
Programmer: Once per game, reroll all Bugs.
Venture Capitalist: Once per game, right before someone rolls X dice, they roll X dice and ignore all Bugs, and then roll that many again, this time not ignoring bugs. (so if you were going to roll 4 dice, instead, roll 4 and ignore Bugs, and then roll 4 and don’t ignore Bugs).
Media Liaison: Once per game, (before rolling?) treat the d12 as though it has a “stop” on its face, in addition to whatever it shows when it’s rolled.
And that’s it! Let me know what you think of it if you give it a shot. It might seem like a lot to keep track of using just regular numbered dice, but after two or three turns you’ll have it down and it’ll be really natural and easy. I hope you try it out and enjoy it! If you play it, please let me know what you think, either in the comments, via facebook, or email.
Thanks, and happy gaming.