Having determined that the tracking everywhere variant isn’t worth pursuing, at least not in the near term, I’m back to conventional Over the Next Dune. A while ago I mentioned distributing searchers in the same manner as terrain, one per colored section. Now seems like as good a time as any to follow that up.
My expectations are actually pretty low for this change. The high concept is that the searchers will be distributed a bit more evenly, so the players will have to deal with the searchers more often. The searchers are what makes OtND interesting, so I want the players thinking about and maneuvering around them as often as possible.
Unfortunately, I don’t expect this change to actually achieve that. Since starting facings will still be random, I expect to continue seeing substantial gaps open up. (E.g., if the searchers on the left side face “down” and those on the right face “left,” the right side will end up devoid of searchers.) This is just low-hanging fruit that’s easy to test, so it seems like it’s worth trying out.
The modified rule is (relatively) straightforward: Instead of rolling a d20 and a d12 to distribute the searchers, start in the upper-left colored area and then roll two six-sided dice, one for the column and one for the row. Put a searcher so that its center square is in the indicated space. If the searcher would start in row 1 or 12 (so either off the board or too close to the players), roll both dice again. Then repeat for the remaining five colored areas.
If you try this out, let me know what you think. I’m going to run just a few games this way, and expect to have results soon.