Nitro Dice provided an interesting series of turns for me at Minion Games. It would mark the first time James, resident head-honcho at our little company, delegated the art production outside of our previous Chuck & Clay tag-team. Minion had a ambitious amount of games to publish in 2011, so it was reasonable enough to hire some outside labor to assist driving a few of the graphical vehicles. As it turned out, that didn’t pan out as well as it could have. I ended up having to draw the streets and dastardly hazards — originally the artist’s job — and design the box, tokens, player cards, and card backs — the intended domain of a hired graphic designer. So a decision intended to reduce my workload ended up making me wear twice as many hats...or racing helmets.But that was okay. That’s because there’s something about racing that excites the 10-year-old in me, the kid who’d spend hours playing computer sims like Stunts and Car & Driver, collect hundreds of matchbox cars, and memorize the top speed of the Ferrari Testarossa. (It’s 183 MPH, in case you’re wondering.) Even though the die-cast cars are long put away, and I haven’t bought an honest racing sim since the original Gran Turismo, every blackened skid mark and crack in a curb was rendered with as much love as I could muster.
Even without the theme, Nitro Dice is a pretty unique game. The “Dice” moniker aside, it’s a card game at heart, with the dice themselves only representing your car and its current speed. To navigate the streets without incurring damage, you have to play an identical card from your hand. You can also replace cards on the track with ones containing hazards, dangerous obstacles that can damage and slow down your opponents. Careful placement and hand management are the key to winning!
Once again we went for the double-cut. Since the racing track itself is made from cards, it was imperative to present a cohesive track to race on. Forcing players to speed bump over a black or white border between each card would be a terrible shame, not to mention would rob the dice of space to breathe. I also had to make sure the turns matched seamlessly when you placed cards together.