Roly: A Bugs bash – Designer Diary

A cute, area-control game for the entire family.

Roly-polies zip along winding garden paths to invite their bug friends and prepare for a party under the shady trees.

2 – 4 players | 45-60 mins | 10+ years

Sell Sheet: We are looking for a publisher. View Sell Sheet
Game Rules: View Game Rules
Table Top Simulator: Play Online

Design Diary

My design goal for the game was to make a game that is very simple to learn but with emergent depth that has the complexity to challenge people who like abstract strategy games. I specifically wanted to create a roll-and-move game, and the name ‘roly’ was originally given to it for the double meaning — roly-polies and rolling the dice.

I love the area majority games like Renature by Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer which is simple to learn by difficult to master. In the early versions, players can cover up another player’s leaf tiles, but that proved to be to aggressive and led to feel-bad moments which I felt did not fit in this game.

Another design goal was to create a simple scoring system that trains the player on how scoring works and gives players feedback on how they stand throughout the course of the game. Due to the nature setting, a growing tree trunk served as a way of showing the value of an area in an intuitive and playful way.

I repurposed components from another game and painted them for the tree trunks. Can you name the game where I got them?

After Origins 2023, I revisited the game and decided to cut one of the darlings of the game — the big bug dice — and replaced it with 6 Invitation Tiles to reduce the randomness and allow players to plan their moves off-turn. I also came up with a new system for flowers that would encourage long movements and reduce maintenance. There were also significant changes to the bonus actions to make it more intuitive and added Guest Cards to add variability to the games.